Errors Mar Opening Of SUSU Election Voting

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535658_488411341219425_1288062810_nA series of errors have blighted the official opening of the 2013 SUSU election voting period, leaving many students in dismay.

From 0.00 last night, the 64-hour window of voting officially opened. However, many students quickly found themselves complaining about the voting process and ballot paper, citing various problems and mistakes.

The issues only occurred during a 1 hour and 30 minutes window which affected a relatively small number of votes, however students who went to vote during this period found:

The time limit on voting caused confusion.

The time limit caused people to either rush their vote (subsequently voting wrongly), or they were not able to complete their vote altogether, making them ‘seal their vote’ which is then electronically logged.

Your vote is ‘sealed’ when you submit.

Even if you haven’t voted for certain positions, you can still seal your ballot sheet, therefore not allowing you to log back into the system to vote for any positions you’ve yet to vote for.

There is no outline or detail of how the voting ranking system is operated.

It appears that students are actually required to enter numbers for each candidate, as if you don’t, the next number along will be highlighted for all candidates. This means that students have to choose a candidate, otherwise a vote is made on their behalf. However, we’ve been assured that candidates will only place votes for those positions they’ve selected, once they’ve stopped selecting that is the last preference they express.

Errors were also found within the online ballot paper.

Two candidates were found to have their names spelt wrong: David Mendoza- Wolfson, candidate for VP Education, was named ‘David Mendoza-Williams’ whilst Adam Moloney, candidate for VP engagement, also suffered a similar fate, written as ‘Adam Maloney’ – a key spelling mistake considering his slogan of ‘Only Moloney’.

The position of Wessex Scene Editor – set to be contested by Samuel Everard and RON – was also missing from the ballot paper altogether.

Missing out a candidate completely on the election role just illustrates the extent of the problem, while at the same time, it will not give the candidate an equal voting time.

Others also complained that there were no links to manifestos on the system. 

This also creates inaccessibility, as it makes it more difficult for students to make an informed vote, particularly as it was an available feature in last years elections.

Problem with Zones.

Zones were supposed to be done in conduit across the board of the elections period and yet, the online election system had no display or continuity of Zones, instead opting to list the positions.

This catalogue of errors come in the wake of two-hustings events which were unsuccessful in their aims: the Student Leader hustings was poorly attended by both students and candidates alike, whilst the Sabbatical event had to be cancelled.

Current SUSU President and Deputy Returning Officer Sam Ling told the Wessex Scene:

“At midnight this morning voting opened for this years election.

Due to some small errors in transferring candidates data from our systems onto the elections system some small inaccuracies occured.

The majority were corrected within minutes of voting opening, and the final issue sorted by 1:30am.

All students affected by this have had their ballots unsealed, and are being contacted today. They will then be able to ensure that they are able to vote as they wanted. Any ballots left unsealed at the end of elections are automatically sealed.

Based on feedback on confusion over sealing the ballot we have ensured there is much clearer messaging, and again those ballots sealed before that messaging was put in place will be contacted, and will have the opportunity to finish their voting.

I’m pleased with the speed to which these problems were resolved, and if student have any further issues they should email democracy@susu.org to ensure we can resolve these quickly.

However I am expecting this to be an exciting elections period, and after a slightly bumpy start I’m looking forward to students across campus taking up their right to vote on who should lead the Union for the coming year.”

The system has now been updated to fix all the issues and the positions have been zoned and formatted.

Please leave your comments below and we at the Wessex Scene will continue to keep you updated.

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Discussion7 Comments

  1. avatar

    Great coverage from the Wessex Scene here! Very good summary of the situation.

    Given that part of the reasoning behind bringing all the elections together was to have one single elections period where everything would go right because far more time could be focused on it, it’s a shame there have been so many problems. For SUSU, this is one of the biggest events of the year, you do have to wonder what has gone wrong.

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    Despite being uncontested, I’m still worried that this will have damaged my chances. As you say, it’s limited my voting time. I’m also yet to receive any form of apology from the Union.

    Malcolm
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    Sam, are you serious? If you don’t beat RON then the problem isn’t the voting system.

    Sam Everard
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    Yeah, I guess the problem would be me in that case. I’m more worried about the turnout than the actual result. On the plus side, I have received an apology from SUSU and am very grateful for that.

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    “All students affected by this have had their ballots unsealed,”

    Erm…no. The problem still isn’t fixed! I was one of the students who couldn’t vote for the Wessex Scene editor, I haven’t had an email or had my ballot re-opened. Sam Ling should really get facts right first before issuing statements.

    Sam Ling
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    If you’ve not had your ballot opened or are having problems logging back in contact democracy@susu.org

    I’m afraid I can only report the facts in statement as I know them. At the time of commenting the ballots were being unsealed so that the small number of voters affected could complete their voting. If some student are still having issues, perhaps due to the cutoff time being not late enough, getting in contact will allow us to sort the issue.

    Appologies have been sent to all those affected, and to the affectd candidates on behalf of elections committee (which occurred after I gave comment to the Wessex scene,

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