Automated vote of confidence
By Sara Marett
As we approach the millennium, the University Students' Council has high-tech plans for election voting to offer students improved convenience when casting their ballot.
USC Chief Returning Officer Tim Morris said he would like to see the entire voting process automated in the near future. This would allow students to have the option of voting by phone or online with their four-digit personal identification number, he added.
Last year, the USC introduced online voting during the presidential elections. The process involved students going to the USC office to get a code which they had to enter once online, in order to prevent double-voting. The code would then correspond to a random set of passwords enabling the student to vote online through the USC Web site, Morris explained.
Under a new automated system, students would not have to physically be on campus to vote like the current online voting system requires. It is hoped this new convenience will increase online voter turnout, as out of the 5,876 ballots that were cast in the recent presidential election, only 14 were online votes significantly down from last year's approximately 40 online votes.
The automated system would have to be set up in conjunction with the registrar's office and would include a mechanism that would not allow students to vote more than once, Morris said.
Deputy registrar Rob Tiffin said he is completely in favour of an automated voting system and would like to see it in place for the Senate and Board of Governors elections in the fall as well.
"It is a very feasible idea that would have some cost, but nothing astronomical," he said. Tiffin added an increased amount of students are taking advantage of the convenience of the Internet as far as registration and other information so the trend may follow online voting.
Morris said the automated voting system will take some time to implement, particularly with the yearly turnover of the CRO. "We would like to have it in place in the next few years."