Senate elections struggle with numerous issues
October 10, 2013
This staff-written opinion won a third place award in the 2014 Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation. Read more
The current Student Senate has done a lot of good for both the students and campus so far in its term.
It pushed forth the project to revamp the Involvement Center (IC) in the University Center, helped to facilitate the new budget changes on OrgSync to help student organizations submit their budgets and hosted events to help boost school spirit during Homecoming week.
However, the good has been overshadowed by the bad. While most students walk past, or walk into, the IC everyday, for example, a majority of students may not know that Senate is responsible for this change.
What every student does know Senate is in charge of, though, are the elections. All students received an email on Sunday, Sept. 29, informing them that Senate’s fall election was open until Tuesday, Oct. 1. Then, on that Tuesday, students received another email, informing them that their votes would not be counted and the election needed to be re-done.
There was a technological issue which allowed students to vote multiple times in the election. The email also informed students that the fall elections would now take place from Sunday, Oct. 6, to Tuesday, Oct. 8.
When that Sunday rolled around, students received an email early in the morning with a link which sent them to Senate’s OrgSync page, where the new ballot would be found. However, the link straight up did not work. On Sunday afternoon, students received yet another email that informed them they would have to copy and paste the link into their browser for it to work.
A lot of the problems which Senate encountered could have been fixed by simply checking to make sure that the links which sent students to the ballot, for example, actually worked when students clicked on it.
The poorly run process resulted in a paltry election turnout of 133 votes, according to Fall Elections Commissioner Mohammad Battah. There were over 400 votes cast in the original election which was scrapped to due to technological problems.
Having to run the election twice was also unfair to those running. With the vast difference in turnout between the first election and the second, it can be concluded that a lot of candidates lost many votes. Could the results have been different had the original election been able to run the way it should have? It is definitely possible.
The elections process, as a whole, was a nearly complete failure, and the entire student body was informed of it through many different emails.
We hope that Senate will do a better job when the time comes for the spring elections, because, frankly, it would be difficult to do worse.