The Student Government Association took the ballot box to the inbox for this spring’s election.
“SGA has been contemplating using online elections since the last [April 2004] election,” said senior Andy Merrill, student body vice president.
Elections are now run through an online voting company, allowing students to vote from their computers.
“For a long time we were searching for a way to do them so people felt they were secure and we weren’t trying to do this in a quick, haphazard sort of way,” said Rich Ramos, assistant dean of students and SGA adviser.
Ramos and SGA decided on ballotbin.com, a company created in 2000 by Georgetown University students who were unhappy with their student-run elections.
“We are looking to avoid any incidents involving human error and cut down on wasted paper,” Merrill said. “Students today are also much more tech savvy and may not always be able to vote in person at BSC.”
Student names and e-mail addresses are entered into the Ballot Bin system according to their class status. E-mails are then sent to students inviting them to vote and providing the proper link.
Each e-mail also includes a randomly generated alphanumeric password which allows voters access to their online ballot.
“Once you vote, you can’t vote again,” Ramos said. “It locks you out.”
Votes are then stored at ballotbin.com for SGA to count. Ramos said the program offers better security than the old paper ballots.
“It goes to a secure Web site that, at this stage of the game, I will be the only person to have access to,” Ramos said.
Besides being secure, Ramos says online voting is also much more convenient. To allow more people the opportunity to vote, elections will be held for two days.
“A lot of people use the Internet all the time,” junior Paula Vagts said. “If it goes over as well as the Facebook, it will be great.”