When Augustine Haam ’17, James Castro ’17, Seth Greenspan ’17 and Eboni Brown ’17 woke up Thursday morning, they were anticipating the end to the campaigning season that has marked almost half of their collegiate experience so far. The next time the Election Commission contacted them, however, was not with the news of winning or losing a Student Assembly position.
A power outage at Votenet, the electronic eballot service the SA works with on election days, prevented elections from occurring Thursday.
Many freshmen never received the initial email informing them they could vote.
“It went from 10 to 10:30 and there was no email,” Brown said. “Then it went from 10:30 to 11 and there was no email.”
At 10:30 a.m., a massive power outage at Votenet’s data center kept the initial email, usually sent in waves, from reaching the entire classes of 2017 and 2014.
“I was kind of nervous and waiting for this day and I was going to go around and start reminding people to vote again,” Greenspan said. “But now it’s like what do I do?”
SA President Chase Koontz ’14 received an email from Votenet soon after the power outage apologizing for the problem.
At 1 p.m., Election Commission Chair Ryan Brophy ’14 emailed the candidates to inform them of the problems with Votenet.
“The first people we informed were the candidates because they have the most at stake today,” Brophy said.
Koontz emailed the senior class at 5 p.m. and Brophy emailed the freshmen class a little after 8 p.m. to inform them of the problems with the voting system.
“The thing that frustrated me the most was probably the fact that the committee emailed the candidates themselves about the failure and not the student body as a whole,” Haam said. “Instead of the [Election Commission] apologizing for what was happening, it was up to us, the candidates, to apologize.”
Votenet has experienced enough glitches in the past that the SA senate considered changing eballot providers last November, but the senate policy committee did not end up pursuing other options.
“My first reaction was, ‘really, on this day?’” Chief of Staff Drew Wilke ’15 said. “But then once you hear it’s a power outage, you know things are pretty serious and unfortunately, when that happens, it’s somewhat out of your control.”
The election will now take place Monday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brophy cites Busch Gardens day and the uncertainty about when the power would be restored as reasons for holding the day through the weekend.
“I was kind of excited to be done with the campaigning … but I can wait a couple more days and that way I can answer people’s questions,” Castro said. “It’s alright.”
Votenet estimates the power will be restored by noon today.
Brophy encouraged candidates to continue campaigning over the weekend but told them not to spend additional money.