MSA election re-set for Monday

The election will run until 6 p.m. next Wednesday.

The Missouri Students Association presidential elections are scheduled for Monday through Wednesday after the online voting application failed this week.

Board of Elections Commissioners Chairman Justin Mohn said the BEC worked with the Division of Information Technology to hold another test run of the voting Web site, vote.missouri.edu, from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. Wednesday.

But during that time window, the site displayed a technical difficulty message stating the elections would be held next week.

Mohn said this was because of a miscommunication between himself and MSA adviser Farouk Aregbe. Mohn formerly worked for The Maneater.

Mohn said he and Aregbe had discussed putting up a message announcing the new election period but was not aware Aregbe had decided to do so when Mohn told test voters to cast their ballots.

DoIT Director Terry Robb said the application did register 21 votes Tuesday night, even with Aregbe's message posted.

Mohn said MSA senators tried the test runs initially. He said senators who remembered the link to the server itself could have gone directly to the server and voted.

To make up for this misunderstanding, the BEC was able to perform another mock election from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

"I haven't heard any errors back about it," Mohn said later that afternoon. "In light of that test, we're going to go ahead and say our plan is to use the online mechanism to do voting next week."

Mohn also said the BEC has collaborated with DoIT to create a back-up e-mail ballot system. A rejected option was to use paper ballots.

Mohn said as long as the e-mail ballots are small enough, the BEC e-mail account is large enough to receive votes from the entire student body.

But Mohn said the BEC is also looking into creating a Gmail account that ballots would be forwarded to.

"If for some reason someone sends us something way too long, we could still have those e-mails forwarded to a Gmail account, which has more than enough room," Mohn said.

The BEC is going to determine by 4 p.m. Monday if the online voting system is functional. If not, the commission will send a mass e-mail to students with a ballot, asking students to send their responses to the BEC e-mail address.

Mohn said the BEC would rely on the three executive members and two non-executive members who would have access to that account to not reveal any student's choice.

"Paper ballots are difficult to track," he said. "It was a choice between validity of the election results and confidentially of the ballot. I didn't hear any alternatives that would preserve both."

Mohn said the BEC determined the validity of the results is the more important of the two options and will destroy the e-mail ballots after the final election results are determined and accepted by the slates.

The MSA presidential slates and student fee referendum are the two items on the ballot.

 

- News editor Anna Koeppel contributed to this report.

 

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