Ryan Chartrand

The voting system at Cal Poly is about to change. The passage of a resolution by Associated Students, Inc. will allow Cal Poly students to vote in all ASI elections and referendums from any location with Internet access.

Students will be able to vote electronically for the upcoming Recreation Center Expansion Referendum that will take place Feb. 27 and Feb. 28.

On designated voting days, students who log into their my.calpoly.edu portal will gain access to the voting channel. This channel will lead students to the electronic poll. Students will be able to read over the legal text of the voting matter before making their decisions.

The polls will only be available from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. in an attempt to avoid any misusage of the system.

“We looked at it as vote anywhere – wherever you want. It doesn’t matter if you are studying abroad in London. You are still a part of this campus,” said Amanda Rankin, chair of the ASI elections committee and ag business senior. “Being able to vote at any computer . it’s the convenience factor that students can do it at their leisure.”

“They can vote naked,” added Tony Guntermann, mechanical engineering senior and chair of the ASI Board of Directors.

Last year, ASI switched from paper ballots to using a computer program for electronic voting. There were approximately six voting stations on campus for students with five or six laptops at each location. Students would log into the my.calpoly.edu portal and would place their vote for ASI elections, Guntermann said.

The switch last year cut costs for ASI and made the whole voting process more efficient. This helped lead to the decision of the ASI elections committee to switch entirely to electronic voting this year.

“Switching to all electronic really will save ASI a substantial amount of money, and that is saving student fees,” Guntermann said.

Having multiple polling locations on campus required ASI to pay for the work of the Information Technology Services (ITS) team through the use of a contract. ITS was reimbursed for their time and equipment during elections and referendums each year, Guntermann said.

The decision to make the switch to electronic voting was made with students’ needs in mind, and Rankin hopes this will increase voter turnout with the upcoming referendum and election.

“The biggest thing is getting students to vote,” Rankin said. Although the switch may raise many “what if” scenarios, voter privacy is still a high priority for ASI.

“Even though you still have to be authenticated through the my.calpoly portal to be able to vote, the election is still anonymous. We are not keeping track of who voted yes or no,” Guntermann said.

The new electronic voting method will be implemented in all future ASI elections and referendums at Cal Poly.

“ASI is really excited about this new program and getting more students involved in the process,” Rankin said.

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