Student Government Holds Paper Ballot Elections After an Electronic Glitch

Photo credit: Angel Adegbesan.

By Angel Adegbesan

The Student Government Association held a second special election from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16 with paper ballots due to a glitch in the software used to vote electronically in the first one.

The special election was held initially with an electronic ballot that allowed students to vote from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct 25. But, a paper ballot was issued to 97 students who were allegedly disenfranchised due to the glitch. They were given a week to vote again between the 12th and 16th.

There was an error in the voting system that was discovered by a student and reported to Journalism Professor Thomas Moore, the chair of the Senate Election Committee (SEC) and Dr. Jean Phelps, a member of the Student Elections Review Committee (SERC), according to Vincent Banrey, the vice president of Student Development.

The error made it impossible for students to vote for less than four candidates but allowed voters to vote for all 10 candidates despite instructions saying that people could only choose up to four people. The error was discovered at approximately 12:30 p.m. and eBallot, the company that renders the service to York was alerted and the error was fixed, Banrey added.

The SEC met and discussed possible solutions that would not require another whole election. It resulted in a recommendation of a paper ballot voting system that would allow the 97 students to vote, to the SERC. The SERC reviewed the recommendation and approved it.

An email was sent out on Nov. 9 to the selected students who voted between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. during the electronic elections to urge them to vote again via paper ballot. The original electronic vote became  invalidated and was not counted towards the election. The candidates were also notified about the glitch in the system. Another reminder email was sent out to the voters on Nov. 12, according to Banrey.

“We try to make it as transparent as possible so that there are no problems,” Banrey said.

On Monday Nov. 19 the SERC met and reviewed the results and certified the paper ballot election. The four winning candidates were also notified of their victories.

For the first time in three years SGA held a competitive and democratic election for it’s senatorial board. The special election had ten candidates running for 4 seats on the board.

The special election took place because the association had failed again to garner enough candidates for it’s senatorial board of 32 last Spring. The previous election had 28 candidates running for 32 seats in an undemocratic election. All of them won the election.

According to the SEC, over ten students picked up the paperwork to get petitions from the student body to become a candidate, but there were only ten students who qualified to become candidates.  

Danielle James, the SGA president insists that the association’s doors are always open and welcoming to anyone interested in joining or working with student government.

“We hope that allowing them to work alongside us will spark an interest,” said James, a senior majoring in Business Administration and Human Resources. “We’re trying to create that opportunity for everyone that wants to be involved.”

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