The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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232 students’ online votes lost to neglect

A faulty online voting system and a lack of coordination resulted in 232 lost student votes during last semester’s election for the 2008-09 A.S. presidency.

Three hours after students cast their votes online for Adam Haverstock, who was A.S. president at the time, or Miguel Segura, who was ultimately declared the new A.S. president, the online voting system was shut down.?The system failed.?

Brian Miller, student affairs Web developer, said sessions were “bleeding” between online voters, making it impossible to know if votes were authentic.?

“It was a failure on our part for not conducting all the necessary tests and being fully prepared,” Miller said.?

Miller said mock trials were conducted prior to the election did not result in any problems because a handful of people tested the online voting system, as opposed to the many people who vote in real student body elections, Miller said.??

Paul Schantz, student affairs director of Web and technology services, said they intended to put the system through a production level of 50 or more people, but they were unable to coordinate it with the A.S. Elections Committee.

“There was a failure of coordination and we should have communicated to the elections committee that full-scale tests needed to be conducted before elections,” Schantz said.?”We feel terrible about the entire situation.”?

The online voting system?shut down on April 8 at 11 a.m. after technical difficulties, and the 232 students who voted between 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. did not count.?

Elections moved to an emergency paper ballot race for the remainder of April 8 and 9.?The conclusion ended in a tie, with 811 votes for both opposing slates, Adam Haverstock’s Students First and Miguel Segura’s Educate, Empower, Enhance (E3).

A recount concluded with an 811-805 outcome with Students First on top, though the slate?was not victorious because it did not have 50 percent of the total votes plus one, the requirement to win an election.??A run-off election set for April 22-23 ended in an E3 victory that cost an additional $8,000 from the student budget,?minutes from a Senate meeting indicate.????

Schantz and Miller confirm that all the necessary features on the system are working properly.??

“We’ve made all the fixes, but need to heavily test the system on a mass scale,” Schantz said.?”The last thing we need is another disaster.”?

Enhancements remain to be implemented to the online voting system, Schantz said.?

“It is still a work in progress,” Schantz said.??

System features yet to be implemented include?the function of recognizing candidates’ eligibility to participate in A.S. elections and?recognizing if students paid their A.S. fees, which allows them to vote.

Schantz and Miller plan to have the next A.S. elections online, but it is ultimately the decision of the new A.S. President Miguel Segura and Vice President Nicole Umali.?That will be one of the issues discussed at their A.S. annual retreat at Disneyland this summer.?

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