Paper ballots replace online voting system in A.S. elections

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Poll workers cheered as students took a moment of their time to vote yesterday in the special elections held after the original elections two weeks ago were cancelled, which resulted in the votes being nullified.

Xavier Gomez was one of those votes and while he wasn’t aware of the current elections the fact that his vote wasn’t counted didn’t discourage him from voting again.

‘Two weeks ago was my first time voting on the website,’ said the freshman math major. ‘And no it didn’t discourage me because I can still vote right?’

The elections were cancelled after the elections committee was notified of the issues plaguing their electronic system. One issue included website navigation in which the voter’s ballot was submitted prematurely. Some ballots had pre-selected candidates.

Although the turnout for the special elections will not be as great as expected (2,200) when the campus voted electronically, Director of Elections Mazen Hafez said he decided to choose accuracy over quantity.

‘We know, so far, that the votes are 100 percent accurate,’ Hafez said. ‘We’re just trying to do what we can to get a system that won’t malfunction and hopefully in time we can regain students’ trust.’

Hafez hopes to have a fully functioning electronic voting system in the future and will speak with student body presidents from other campuses this weekend at a California State Student Association event on their successful online elections.

‘Right now we’re trying to get a refund on the voting system,’ he said. ‘We’re also looking at having different precincts on campus so journalism students vote at the Arts Media and Communication building and the engineer majors vote at the engineering building.’

An attempt is being made to combat the fact that currently there can only be one polling station with one master list containing students’ name and information. Associated Students does this to stop students from voting twice.

‘The turnout is not as good as we want it to be, but (as of Tuesday) there’s still a day and a half left,’ Botros Dahabreh, Recruitment Chair for Elections said. ‘I don’t see students as motivated to vote again because of the failure of the IT lab.’

Referring to the electronic voting system they tested and approved by them. However Paul Schantz, director of web and technology services for the division of Student Affairs, said that ultimately the decision to use the online voting system was A.S.’

Walking towards the bookstore, Vicky Serratos, a senior deaf studies major, wasn’t aware that student elections were taking place.

‘They should fix the problem before they start telling people to go online and vote,’ she said about the last elections.

Signing students in to vote and explaining what positions they are eligible to vote for, Director of Finance for elections Yesenia Zubia hoped that students would come out in the same numbers as before but doubted it.

‘It’s a little more time consuming,’ Zubia said.

When comparing the youth vote for the presidential elections to the vote on campus, she said, ‘I think it’s just as important, everybody votes for president, but what about the student elections it affects everybody day-to-day.’

Hugo Flores, an undecided sophomore, had planned on voting in the last elections but by the time he came around to it, the polls had closed due to technical problems.

‘That was the third time elections got messed up online. I guess they should just do it old school,’ he said. ‘The same thing happened my first semester I think they had to recount the vote and then some votes didn’t count.’

While he might understand why some students might be reluctant to vote, Flores said he believes it is better to vote because students can accept responsibility when elected officials make decisions.

‘If I can have a say in it why not?’ Flores said. ‘If they do something I’m against at least I voted.’