Brennan Angel

Students rocked the e-vote in Associated Students Inc.’s campus-wide test of a new electronic voting system last week.

ASI hoped to get at least 300 students to the polls to test the system and ask them if they like the new form of voting, which political party they’re affiliated with and their favorite 2008 presidential candidates.

“Altogether we had 728 students vote (whether to use electronic voting), which was more than double our original goal. We were really excited about that,” said Mia White, ASI Election chair and nutrition senior.

Of the students who voted, 81 percent declared which political party they are affiliated with. The results showed the Democrats were most popular, with 45 percent of the votes. Closely following them were the Republicans with 37 percent of the votes; trailed by the Green Party with 10 percent and the Libertarian Party with 7 percent.

According to the results, the two most favored 2008 presidential candidates are both Democrats – Barack Obama followed by Hillary Clinton. John McCain came in third, only one vote behind Clinton, and was followed by Rudolph Giuliani and John Edwards.

Eight other potential presidential candidates appeared on the ballot, including sixth place Barbara Boxer, who was trailed by Noam Chomsky, Mitt Romney, Amy Goodman and Duncan Hunter. The ballots did not include a write-in option as they had originally intended.

“There was no write-in option and we’re not quite sure yet why that is. We’re going to talk with ITS (Information Technology Services) and our vendor about it because for our ASI Election we are going to need that option,” White said.

The lack of a write-in option was one of only a few problems that ASI encountered in its testing.

“A couple of people got error messages that said they had already voted, which was because the person before them didn’t log out. It wasn’t necessarily a problem with the system, but something that we need to look at if we want to use electronic voting,” White said.

The only other problem with the system came in the form of comments from students who said they didn’t like the look and layout of the pages – problems ASI hopes to fix.

“We want to make sure that any problems people saw and anything cosmetic will be changed for the real election,” White said.

Despite the problems for a few students, most students made it through the electronic voting test successfully and 91 percent of students who voted said they would like to see electronic polling in the next ASI election.

“Everything went great,” said biochemistry senior Peter Anaradian. “I liked the system. I thought it was much more efficient. It was quick and will probably save money on having to hire people and using paper.”

White said they haven’t made a definite decision on whether or not they are going to use the electronic voting system, but that they hope to decide by the end of the quarter.

“We’re going to meet with (ASI President) Todd Maki to continue discussions. I don’t think we’ll be able to make a decision just yet because we don’t want to rush into anything,” she said.

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