Whether you can use a computer or not, cheating should be out of the question in this week’s online election, according to Associated Students sources.
Monday was the first day of voting in Spring Election, the second campus election in which students have had the opportunity to vote online. In addition to the online ballot format, students also have the option of filling out a paper ballot, available in the UCen and the Office of Student Life, raising concerns over possible balloting fraud.
A member of A.S. Legislative Council brought it to the Nexus’ attention that it is possible for students to vote twice on the same day, which two students did in the Fall Special Election, calling into question the validity of an election in which double-voting occurs.
“Two students attempted to vote twice out of over 5,000,” said Jim Keenley, head of A.S. Elections Committee. “No disciplinary action was taken, but the votes were invalidated.”
A.S. and the Elections Committee said there are measures in place to repair the problem while keeping the ballots anonymous.
“There is absolutely no concern about people voting twice,” A.S. President Chrystine Lawson said. “I’ve participated in three test runs with no problems.”
Administrators of the paper ballot cannot constantly update the list of eligible voters, making it possible for students to vote twice, first online and then on paper in the UCen or the Office of Student Life. The ballots must be kept anonymous, making it impossible for the election committee to view the vote of specific students, and difficult to repair the damage of double-voters.
In order to maintain anonymity of voters, only VariTools, the internet-based company contracted by A.S. to provide the voting system, will have access to the ballots of individual students, said Joe Navarro, UCSB associate dean of students.
At the end of the voting period, A.S. Elections Committee, Campus Elections Committee and Navarro will submit the perm numbers of students who voted via paper ballot to VariTools. If any double-ups are discovered, the student’s online vote will be disqualified.
“We cross-reference perm numbers with people who voted online and people who voted on paper, and if they vote twice, we invalidate the online vote,” Keenley said.