MSA trying to avoid election problems

MSA senators tested the election site, with varying success.
Megan Stroup / Graphic Designer

This year, the Board of Elections Commissioners is working to ensure the upcoming MSA elections run smoothly after students experienced technical difficulties while trying to vote in the Missouri Students Association Senate elections last semester.

Last weekend, senators had the opportunity to vote in a mock election to test the electronic voting system in hopes of avoiding last year's situation.

Speaker Jonathan Mays forwarded the senators an e-mail from BEC Chairman Justin Mohn, which contained a link to the voting Web site.

But Senator Josh Travis said when he clicked on the link, a window opened saying the address was invalid.

"When we have something where students potentially click on a link and it's not there, that's serious," Travis said, adding he feels most students who encounter an error will simply dismiss it and not pursue voting. He said this is unacceptable when it comes to voting for student government.

"Fair, efficient elections are important," Travis said. "If we're going to legitimize an election itself, we have to make sure it's set up properly. If we're doing it online, having the correct link is very important."

Other senators also experienced the same problem with the link in the test run, including Operations Committee Chairwoman Amanda Shelton.

Shelton said the problem was an extra slash in the link emailed to all the senators. She added it was a very simple problem, and it wasn't as if she wouldn't have been able to vote if she had arrived at the correct Web address.

BEC Chairman Justin Mohn said he worked with the Division of Information Technology to correct the problem and a new mock election began 5 p.m. Wednesday.

A DoIT representative could not be reached for comment.

All senators had the chance to recast their votes.

"I don't believe there's a reason for students to be concerned," Shelton said. "I'm waiting to see how this next mock election, or test run if you will, goes."

Travis said that when he voted again during the second mock election, the link worked without any problems.

Shelton said the Operations Committee is working closely with the BEC to avoid any larger problems. Even though the typo in the link is a small error now, Shelton said they are taking it very seriously to ensure it does not turn into a big problem.

The BEC is also working on alternative voting methods, such as paper ballots, if some students are not able to vote electronically. Students can also request absentee ballots if they will not be able to vote during the election.

The MSA elections run from 6 p.m. Nov. 10 to 6 p.m. Nov. 12.


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