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Voting tops final forum
By Christina Vardanis and Aaron Wherry
The University Students' Council presidential candidates scrutinized the way voters will be casting their ballots, when their opinions of online voting were discussed at Friday's Essex Hall forum.
Dave Braun, a third-year political science student, said he did not agree with the principle behind online voting and noted when the issue faced Senate, he voted against it. "It's one of the worst ways to save money if it's going to go against democracy," he said. "The number of votes might be the same, but the quality of the votes is different."
First-year honours business administration student Dave Brebner spoke in favour of the innovation and disputed the notion that students without computers would be at a disadvantage. "It's accessible to everyone through the [D.B.] Weldon Library."
Jeff Brown, a third-year English student, said he believed the system's security would be breached and the isolated nature of online voting would be detrimental to voter turn out. "There's not going to be someone in your room saying, 'Vote! Vote! Vote!'"
"Saving money means a lot," said fourth-year kinesiology student Mitch Chiba, adding although the system was not perfect, he approved of its financial benefits.
Fraser Connell, a third-year political science student, said he realized the limitations of online voting, but approved of it in the context of cost. "I'd like to do [online voting and paper balloting], but realize we can't."
Fourth-year Administrative and Commercial Studies student Neil Kapoor said online balloting was a great initiative and students would be reminded of their voting duty through computers set up in prime areas. "You will be able to walk through the [University Community Centre] atrium and go vote," he said.
Ray Novak, a fourth-year political science student, noted the pros and cons of the situation, but said the financial aspect of the initiative put him in its favour. "On the plus side, there's a huge savings in cost this year," he said, adding Information and Technology Services had assured the candidates the system was quite secure.
The merits of online voting were dismissed by second-year biology student Luke Petrykowski, who said the real issue was whether students cared enough to vote. "I don't care if it's online voting or balloting, vote because you care," he said.
Fourth-year political science student Taylor Pressey said he personally knew the system would be safe from hackers. "I know it's secure, because I've tried to crack it myself," he joked. Pressey added he was against the system and felt in the name of convenience, democratic principles had been sacrificed.
Jeff Sutton, a fourth-year ACS student, said he approved of saving money, but he felt voting booths would draw more students. He added there were too many unknowns to sell him on the initiative. "I wish we weren't the guinea pigs."