Students left out of Fall Referendum

AMS says voting problem is partially attributed to the Registrar

From left to right: Chris Parker, AMS chief returning officer, and Kristen Olver, AMS commissioner of internal affairs.
From left to right: Chris Parker, AMS chief returning officer, and Kristen Olver, AMS commissioner of internal affairs.

Following last week’s Fall Referendum voting process, it was found that 20 students were excluded from the initial vote.

An announcement came on Sunday, concerning last week’s technical difficulties that prevented upwards of 6,000 emails being sent out to students. The emails were to notify students of their login codes to vote in the referendum.

The 20 excluded students were found to have paid their AMS student fees in October and weren’t accounted for in the University Registrar’s list of eligible students, which was given to the AMS in late September.

The list was used by the AMS Commission of Internal Affairs (CIA) to determine which students were eligible to vote.

Kristen Olver, AMS commissioner of internal affairs, said she was notified of the problem this weekend after AMS Vice-President of Operations Nicola Plummer notified Olver that she hadn’t yet received an email to vote in the Referendum.

“When we got the list of … students from the Registrar … [it lacked] some of the students who had opted into their fees or who just hadn't paid yet,” she said.

Olver said the mishap resulted from a lack of communication between the AMS and the University Registrar.

“I think it was just an oversight on our part and [in the future] we should keep communication open and make sure that we get [the list] in October, so it’s after the deadline when student fees are due,” she said.

She said that it was the AMS’s belief that the list covered all eligible students once it had been sent from the Office of the Registrar, as past years have typically seen a complete list.

“It was a bit of a mix-up [as the students] didn’t necessarily opt into their fees late, they opted in and the Registrar maybe just skipped it over or had trouble processing it,” she said.

The list, which was given to the Commission at the end of September, wasn’t fully updated until Oct. 25. Students who didn’t receive an email were eligible to vote in a paper ballot yesterday.

The results of the Referendum, which are set to be released today, won’t be affected by the delay, Olver said.

“It’s a very low number. It’s not enough students that were missed that would alter the results but ... we want to make sure that the numbers and percentages are recorded,” Olver said, adding that the CIA intends to move forward to ensure a similar incident doesn’t occur in the future.

The recent problems have been a shared responsibility amongst all groups involved in the process, such as the AMS, the Registrar, Votenet and IT Services, she said.

“We’re excited to get the results back because [it’s] stressful for the teams involved,” she said.

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