Students face glitches in online voting system

By Gus Bode

The online voting system used to elect student government positions has caused technical glitches that have prevented students from casting their ballots, several students involved in the process said Monday.

Some students have been unable to log in to the voting system because the site says the student has an invalid Dawg Tag number, while others had yet to receive a link to vote through their university e-mail account, said Nate Brown, the SIU Board of Trustees’ student representative.

Elections for Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president, and the board’s student trustee position began Monday and are scheduled to end today at 6 p.m.

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‘This problem seems to be pervasive,’ Brown said in an e-mail to election volunteers. ‘I am sorry for the voting troubles, but please stick through it. Your vote in critical.’

Students who have faced technical problems should notify the Student Development office, Brown said.

Dana Augusto, a candidate for USG president, said she heard some students did not receive e-mails that were supposed to be sent to all students containing links to the election’s Web site.

Student Programming Council Executive Director Ken Washington, who works with the two election commissions that oversee the voting process, said those e-mails were sent early Monday morning to every student’s university Web mail account. He said he was unaware of any problems with the election, but the same message would be sent again Tuesday morning.

The online-only election system was implemented last month when the university held an impromptu election to replace resigned student trustee Demetrous White.

Brown, who won that election, said students who listed university e-mail as a private account did not receive an e-mail in March.

Washington said he did not think the glitches would give one candidate an unfair advantage, but moving the election to Web-only ballots gives candidates the chance to influence votes.

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‘Since you can vote from your home computer, you might be able to influence people differently,’ he said. ‘These polling places are not your typical polling places.’

Priciliano Fabian, who is also running for USG president, said he still supports the switch to electronic ballots. He said the system allows students to cast a ballot more quickly, which could mean a higher voter turnout.

Brown said he also believes the new system would attract more voters.

‘I just have a hard time believing 17,000 of those e-mails are going to be ignored,’ he said.

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