Missouri Students Association to hold re-elections

Saturday, March 22, 2008 | 4:47 p.m. CDT; updated 5:36 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — Several thousand MU students cast their vote this week in the Missouri Students Association’s Senate election, but a technical glitch means more than half will have to vote again.

MSA, a student governmental body with a budget of more than $1 million that represents the students’ interests in passing legislation, held its election online Monday through Wednesday.

But voters from some of the biggest schools on campus — arts and science, journalism, business and engineering — will have to revote, said Jonathan Mays, MSA Senate speaker.

“The effects of the IT problems in the other seven schools were not statistically significant,” he said, referring to an analysis performed by a student elections committee Thursday night. But because the margin was so close in the remaining four schools, the committee said that it would be best if the election was held again.

The problem occurred when students’ school affiliation was not registering when they tried to vote, said Terry Robb, director of the IT department.

“About 25 students had changed their majors in the past 10 months and were affected by the glitch, but those are only the reported cases,” he said.

Since the IT department is still trying to figure out a way to fix the glitch, the Senate elections for the schools involved have not been rescheduled.

Craig Stevenson, who is running for MSA arts and science senator, wonders if the turnout for the new election will be as large as the contested one.

“I think it discourages people from voting if they have to revote,” he said.

Stevenson was one of the students that was unable to vote because of the glitch in the system. He has been working closely with Mays since he found out.

“In a way, it is worrisome as a candidate because you never know what works or what doesn’t work,” he said. “My concern is the manner in which the revote would take place, but I am sure it will get worked out fine.”

The election committee has not scheduled a new election, but is trying to work with the individual schools to send e-mail ballots to those affected, Mays said.

“The e-mail ballot sounds like a more direct approach that may yield more votes,” arts and science Senate candidate Austin Schowengerdt said. “I am all for having a fair election if this is what it takes to get it done right.”

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