Voting for this year’s student elections kicked off Wednesday, with candidates for office lining H Street and handing out palm cards, and some voters reporting issues with casting their ballots.
According to a Joint Elections Committee statement, an “error in the Web portal programming” permitted non-Columbian College of Arts and Sciences undergraduates – like Elliott School of International Affairs and School of Business students – to vote in the CCAS undergraduate senate race. The JEC also acknowledged that students in the College of Professional Studies were temporarily blocked from voting at all.
Both problems were fixed by Wednesday afternoon, the JEC said, adding that Information Systems and Services would be able to “isolate and eliminate those votes which were cast by ineligible voters.”
JEC Chair Jake Chervinsky said in an interview that filtering out the invalid CCAS votes could possibly delay the release of the CCAS election results, which are typically released soon after voting ends at 9 p.m.
Former SA Senate Secretary Lara Gori, a sophomore in the School of Business, said she was able to vote for both School of Business and CCAS candidates and e-mailed the JEC after noticing the problem.
Despite the issues, Gori remained in favor of students being able to vote online and from their own computers. Until the 2008 election, students had to go to a central polling location like the Marvin Center to cast votes.
“[Online voting] affords people to vote in an easier way,” she said.
Dylan Pyne, an incumbent candidate for a Columbian College senate seat, said the extra votes were a “moot point” once the JEC said it would weed out the invalid ones. Saying he would be disappointed if the results were delayed, Pyne added, “I would rather win or lose correctly than have some glitch determine my fate.”
The balloting issues did not detract from the mood on H Street, where the candidates – particularly in the presidential and executive vice presidential elections – stood for much of the morning and afternoon in an effort to convince passersbys to vote for them. Even the GW Hippo made an appearance, as candidates tried to chat students up as they walked by.
Josh Goldstein, candidate for executive vice president, said he’d been outside since 9 a.m., and that the most important thing he was doing was reminding people to vote.
Goldstein said there had been some “friendly camaraderie” while campaigning a few feet away from his EVP competitors.
“It’s all been playful fun, we all understand how this works,” Goldstein said. “Obviously I want to win and obviously they want to win, but we’re having some fun out here.”
Standing outside Crawford Hall, presidential candidate Xochitl Sanchez was dressed in her bright green campaign colors, and passed out candy from a car adorned with “Xochitl for President” posters.
“We’re getting people interested, we’re getting people to vote,” Sanchez said.