Voting glitches unacceptable

Due to online glitches in the Oct. 25 and 26 AMS elections, some students were left wondering if their votes counted.

Even after casting their ballots,

some students received emails reminding them to vote; other emails told students they weren’t eligible to vote, when in fact they were.

Most concerning, some alumni and transfer students were able to vote in the AMS fall referendum and elections for rector and Arts and Science Undergraduate Society representatives.

This error resulted from inconsistencies in the Registrar’s Office student list which the Commission of Internal Affairs (CIA) used as a voters list.

It’s the AMS’s responsibility to ensure that student representatives are elected fairly, but errors have undermined the democratic process. These mistakes are unacceptable.

According to the Registrar, there were a maximum of 25 discrepancies on the list, so the effect on election results was likely minimal.

AMS commissioner of internal affairs Mark Preston reported that no more than 100 students contacted him with voting issues.

Given the feedback initiative system — whereby students with problems have to contact the CIA directly — it’s uncertain if this is an accurate number.

These system errors do a disservice to the voters and lessen their faith in the process. Students are often touted as an apathetic group and this misstep, where some votes perhaps didn’t count and others shouldn’t have, reduces trust in the system.

The eligibility discrepancies resulted from lack of oversight. The CIA sent the Registrar’s list directly to VoteNet Solutions, the company that operates the voting software.

The Registrar’s Office told the Journal via email that the CIA was informed “This year’s set of data may not be as accurate as it has been in the past, since the review and tidying up of student record anomalies had not yet taken place.

This means the CIA failed to adequately review a voters list even after its accuracy was called into question.

Preston said that because of the size of the voters list, it’s hard to weed out discrepancies and “A lot of it is taking what the Registrar has compiled and accepting it.”

This reasoning is unacceptable. Steps need to be taken to ensure that discrepancies like this don’t happen. Whether or not it’s an arduous task, an accurate voters list is essential for fair elections.

If the AMS doesn’t have a member list on hand, which would presumably function as a voters list, then that’s an issue in itself.

Greater safeguards need to be put in place to keep errors like this from happening again.

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