An email from ESU’s Student Senate flooded students’ inboxes last Sunday evening, as a paper ballot re-vote for both presidential and vice presidential candidates was announced to take place April 29 and May 1.
The reason behind the re-vote? A procedural error in the voting process.
The election was conducted through Survey Monkey, which is an online survey platform.
As Election Chair, Dan Hagan was reviewing last week’s election results he found that some votes seemed to be interchanged.
When things were not adding up he worked with Student Senate’s advisor John Robinson and contacted Computing Services and Survey Monkey to get to the bottom of the irregularities.
“We discovered that with the way it is designed you are able to change things around while the polls were open — it did not appear that [the election] was manipulated,” Hagan said.
The issue of an unsecure platform was enough for Hagan to recommend a re-vote to the candidates.
“We found an issue with our platform and we are taking the correct steps to rectify the situation,” Hagan said.
Student Senate is holding a paper ballot, where students have to bring their E-card.
The decision for a re-vote left candidates with mixed emotions, according to Hagan.
“I don’t know if it should be left up to a small group of people to make a decision like this — it’s bigger than us. All options should have been exhausted,” President Justin Amann said. “Should the Senate have been involved?”
Amann thinks that while a re-vote might be the simple solution, the inability to replicate last week’s election could have a negative impact “on the integrity of the Senate.”
Initially, Senator Drew Johnson asked himself if the re-vote was even worth it.
After speaking to his constituents, he decided that he wanted to represent them in the coming year.
Both candidates agreed that, now more than ever, students should be voting.
“We wouldn’t have agreed to it if we didn’t care,” Johnson said.
The re-vote allowed candidates to campaign for three days in order to get their constituents to the polls on Wednesday and Thursday between 10 AM to 6 PM.
Johnson is concerned that the commuter student vote might not be as loud, but understands there was not enough time to introduce another platform, and thinks the playing field is now fair.
“I think any re-vote is tough because we are not going to be able to replicate the amount of people and the convenience in which they voted,” Amann said.
Hagan predicts that the re-vote will receive a lower turnout than last week’s online elections.
One of the reasons being that the timeline is not favorable, being so close to finals week and the end of the semester.
“We are working extremely hard to make this work,” Hagan said. “We’re trying to overlap with the commuters, and trying to ensure we’re hitting our demographics.”
Hagan explained that Senate will move forward and find a more appropriate platform for next year’s elections.
Chair of Finance Atiba Khan and Senator Ryan Stevens will be helping Hagan and Robinson count votes tonight. The winning candidates will be announced by Friday.
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