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SU voting going online

October 11th, 2007

Starting this fall, voting for Student Union elections for both Executive Board and class Senate positions will be online instead of using paper ballots.

This is being done to improve both the efficiency of the process and the number of students who will actually vote. Last year there were around 1,000 students who cast votes.

“It’s [changing to an online voting structure] very tricky,” said Andy Costigan, Student Union President. “We’ll be able to work it out though, I’m not worried.”

Currently the tentative structure of the online voting would be to use Blackboard, the Web site that John Carroll University uses as a means of communication between faculty and students.

“I’m really excited, bringing voting online is with the times and any attempt to make it easier to vote shows that we want you [the student body] to vote,” Costigan said.

His expression of wanting students to vote is conducive with increasing the total number of votes, although he admits “I’m not sure of a fair amount to estimate will vote; we haven’t really talked about it yet.”

To increase accessibility to the voting process there will be two options in order to vote.

An all-student e-mail will be sent with a link to the voting Web site and voting computers both in the Atrium and outside of Einstein Bros.’ Bagels in the Administration Building will be available.

There will be a way to monitor that everyone can only vote once.

Senior Ruth Tynen, this year’s election chair, said, “There may be some confusion during the Senate elections if people have taken more or less credits than the class that they belong to. For instance, if a junior came in with credits and is listed as a senior. But, we’re working all these kinks out hopefully.”

Tynen also expressed that currently everything is on schedule to have the online elections up and running by this November’s election time.

She also said, “The idea of electronic voting isn’t new. There are quite a few universities that have online elections, especially bigger campuses. Using paper ballots can be time consuming for the people who have to count them, and often people won’t go out of their way to vote.”

Junior David Brahler and JCU director of Instructional Technology Services Jay Tarby are working on the technical aspects of the online voting.

Brahler refused to comment on progress at this time because the first batch of troubleshooting is not yet underway.