Staff Editorial: Elections need oversight

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March 30, 2007

3:28 PM

Last night, as the College awaited the results of the Student Assembly election, The Flat Hat learned that, due to an internet mishap by elections commission member senior James Evans, all results had been lost. The elections committee and the Student Assembly should take steps to ensure that, in the future, the results of the election are not dependent on one person.

p. We applaud Evans for taking full responsibility for his mistakes, but these were mistakes that were avoidable. The election commission runs only two elections per year, and there is no excuse for not being prepared. The commission has a responsibility to students to provide fair, open elections. Instead, our elections take place in a system where there is little to no oversight and one person can jeopardize the accurate results.

p. The members of the elections commission will certainly be involved in damage control and a reassessment of the SIN voting system over the next few days, and we would like to provide a few suggestions. If the results that the elections commission sees tomorrow are in any way suspicious, a revote should be held. The students have placed a remarkable amount of trust in such a small body of political appointees, and some will see that trust as violated.

p. The commission may also want to examine SIN voting in general. It is possible that low-tech voting methods that leave a paper trail, like a paper ballot, will produce a more reliable result. We do not feel it appropriate to punish someone for a simple error, but students’ trust in their government and their votes are at stake, and students would be right to demand a voting system that they can rely on.

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