When students voted on April 8 and 9 in the Associated Student elections, they believed that their votes would count and the university would soon find out the next president to represent the Senate.
When the online voting system closed down the first day, losing 232 votes, students still believed that the paper ballots would be efficient in recording their opinions. What should have been a smooth election has turned into a never-ending debate about recounts, online votes, write-in paper ballots and ties.
During the first count, there was a tie between Miguel Segura and Adam Haverstock for president, with 811 votes each. During a recount, however, A.S. concluded that Haverstock had 811 votes, yet Segura had 805. Where did those six votes go? Did the senate count six invisible ballots?
Even with this new count, Haverstock cannot win because he does not have 50 percent of the total votes plus one, the requirement to win an election.
What could still determine the election are write-in ballots. When voters used paper ballots, they could choose to write-in their vote as well. Some wrote in for Haverstock, others wrote in for Alex Shahin, who is running for vice president with Haverstock. One would think that writing a vote for either of these would count as a vote for the slate that involves Haverstock as president and Shahin as V.P.
Instead, it separates those votes into completely different categories. The write-in votes for Haverstock and Shahin do not count into the 811 total. Everything that you checked off on a ballot gets cancelled out if it is followed by a write-in vote. This is an unreliable method and can be easily manipulated if put into the wrong hands.
Not only can it be easily changed or added to a ballot, but voters were not informed that a write-in response would possibly discredit their whole ballot. If there is so much confusion with a write-in vote, then why have it? It would end this problem trying to guess a voter’s intent.
There is a reason that we don’t have a write-in option when voting for the president of the United States. You can only vote for people that are running. You cannot write in your next door neighbor, for example, as president.A.S. should follow suit and not have the option of allowing students to write-in their vote.
A.S. showed more voting amateurism when they released a paper stating a student’s decision to vote for Miguel Segura during a hearing April 25.
A.S. appears to have no policy on voter anonymity. This means that members of the Senate can access any votes that they want. Not only did this “example” of a vote in question show that candidates and senators have knowledge of who voted for whom, but there are also fraternity ties that connect votes. The voter example in question is a fraternity member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He was contacted by fellow Sig Ep member and A.S. Attorney General Hall Ellison to verify who he intended to vote for. His vote showed that he voted for Segura, who is also a Sig Ep fraternity member. This example showed that he may have had a bias towards Segura.
Write-in votes should be voided if they are counted in the total number of votes, but not for the presidential candidates themselves. Haverstock could have won the election already if these votes were voided, or if they were counted towards Haverstock and Segura’s slate.
The run-off votes will only be counted if A.S. doesn’t resolve a winner in the hearing Friday. The run-off should have been held after the hearings to determine a need for a runoff. Instead, A.S. put the horse before the cart by holding a run-off election before a recount. A runoff election that, by the way, cost the student budget at least $8,000.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the Sundial editorial board and are not necessarily those of the journalism department. Other views on the opinion page are those of the individual writer.