Technical problems mar first day of voting in students’ union elections

With the first day of voting underway, a number of issues have plagued the MASU online voting system. As of 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26, 32.2 per cent of students had voted in the election using partially mislabelled ballots while voting for one of the four positions.

At one spot on the ballot for vice-president campus life, the position is instead labelled vice-president academic affairs. Additionally, the link to the ballot for president misspelled the position as “Priesdent.” And the problems don’t stop there: An initial email intended to allow students access to the voting website was sent this morning, but missing key log-in information. While a second email, including the missing information, was sent almost forty-five minutes later, some students have reported an inability to vote because they did not receive the second email.

The voting’s rocky start began at 8 a.m. when MASU’s chief returning officer, Rayan Bouhlel, sent out an email containing a link to the website hosting the vote but lacked the required information for students to be able to log in and vote. A clarifying email sent at 8:45 a.m., including log-in information for the online voting service, resolved the issues for many, but others say they remain excluded from the voting process.

Katie Scott, a second-year commerce student, says she did not receive the second email. “When I checked my e-mail, I noticed I hadn’t received either message and I thought it might have been a problem with my account, so I e-mailed the MASU’s CRO and cc’ed the MASU President,” said Scott.

The mislabelled ballots greeted the students, who managed to log in to the site. If a voter clicks on the “Vote Now – MASU VP Campus Life 2015/2016” tab after logging into the Simply Voting platform, it takes the voter to a page that refers to Ryan LeBreton and Delaney Losier as candidates for both vice-president campus life and for vice-president academic affairs. Both are actually standing for election as vice-president campus life.

The page correctly refers to the candidates as running for vice-president campus life in its header at the top of the page and in the instructions on how to vote, but at the top of the dedicated ballot space, refers to them incorrectly as candidates for the position of vice-president academic affairs.

Both Losier and Lebreton said they were not worried about the mislabelled poll.

The electronic voting system also makes it impossible for voters to select just one candidate in a two person race. In order to vote for one candidate, a voter must also indicate that the other candidate is their second choice. Previously, voters had been able to vote for as many or few candidates as they wished in multi-candidate races.

Bouhlel indicated on Twitter that “for those inconvenienced by this, secret paper ballots can be arranged within the remaining polling time.” According to MASU election rules, anyone wishing to request a paper ballot must do so in writing by 9:45 p.m. Monday night.

Bouhlel refused to discuss any of the other issues on the record with The Argosy.

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