Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Student Union to implement new voting software for elections

Published: March 16, 2007
Section: News

The Student Union and Library and Technology Services (LTS) have upgraded the online voting system in time for the spring elections. The Union decided to replace the six-year-old system in March of last year after technological errors allowed graduated seniors to vote in the Spring 2006 election, as well as disrupted the races for Campus Treasurer and Senator for the Class of 2010 during the Fall 2006 elections.

According to Student Union Vice President Aaron Gaynor 07, the new system is from BigPulse, an online polling service and software company. It requires the population to be input manually and will help correctly identify the voting populations and only allow those members to vote. However, students will not notice any major changes when they vote. The system was purchased during the Spring 2007 marathon, and cost $2,200.

It will make the results clear. There will be no questions, no mis-votes, and no doubts about the results, said Director of Communications Brian Paternostro 07, who ran for Treasurer in the election affected by the technological flaw.

Gaynor and other Union officials have been impressed with the new system and its provider.

Were BigPulses first American university client, and theyre bending over backwards to help us, said Gaynor. For example, our elections have write-ins and the system didnt have a write-in feature, so they added it overnight. Theyre incredible.

The system also offers a wide variety of new features, such as having candidate photographs and information on the actual online ballot, but many will not be used for next weeks elections.

Its an extremely sophisticated product, said Gaynor. For this election we are not taking advantage of some of the more advanced features of the new system. Over the coming semesters, I expect to roll out many of them.

By Fall 2007, any club will be able to administer online elections using the new system with the guidance of the Student Uniona feature Gaynor called the greatest value-added service of the new system.

While the upcoming Student Union elections on Mar. 20 will be the first to use the new system, Gaynor believes they will run smoothly and is confident that LTS and BigPulse could handle any possible problems.

We have been working extensively with LTS and BigPulse to ensure that the transition from our old system to this new one is as seamless as possible, said Gaynor. If any problems arise during voting, both LTS and BigPulse are standing by for technical support.