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 firstname.lastname@example.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.