The Associated Students voted March 7 to approve revisions to the elections code that will change the organization’s elections to an online system.
Under the revisions, students will be able to vote in A.S. general elections and social elections such as Homecoming from computers anywhere in the world with internet access.
The previous paper ballot system will only be used in special circumstances.
“In the case that technical difficulties arise, paper elections will be used as a contingency,” said Chad Charton, A.S. president .
According to Charton, the online system will be administered by eBallot, a company that provides online voting systems to colleges and universities.
eBallot hosts the voting application in a fortified facility off campus in order to prevent tampering.
“The online process is entirely secure,” Charton said. “Should any fraudulent activity occur, we will know about it.”
Maria Bratly, graduate I senator, said the online system is a wonderful idea.
“Students need any avenue they can get to interact with their student government,” Bratly said.
Amber Leigh, junior psychology major, said if she was voting, either a paper or online system would be OK. As a new student at CSUN this semester, Leigh said she did not have the chance to vote in the last A.S. election. She said, however, she will probably vote in the next one.
CSU Fullerton has been using an online voting system since it was approved in spring 2002, said Mona Mohammadi, Associated Students Inc. president at CSU Fullerton.
“It makes the elections procedure much easier,” Mohammadi said. “It saves us money and it saves us time.”
Unlike CSUN’s geographically unrestricted system, CSUF limits student voting to computers on campus and in the dorms. Mohammadi said the campus-restricted system created a secure process that has shown no signs of fraudulent activity.
Mohammadi said the online system allows for faster ballot counting.
“Right after voting is over we know who has won within a half hour,” Mohammadi stated.
Last semester A.S. members complained about low voter turnout and began formulating solutions.
Bratly believes that the online system may be a solution.
“I believe that it will increase voter turnout because our student population is so used to using computers,” Bratly said.
Mohammadi disagreed, saying that she had not seen any increase in voter turnout at CSUF since the changes occurred.
“I don’t think voter turnout is linked to your voting procedure,” Mohammadi said.
Nathaniel Stiles, graduate assistant programming, and Steven Vanover, director of elections, both worked on the development of the revisions, but were unavailable for comment.
Mike Siciliano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.