Volume 93, Issue 62

Thursday, Janurary 20, 2000


Voters to log on for election

Ottawa prof gets an "F" on exam question

UWOFA continues negotiating

Job fair reflects Ontario's need for teachers

PeopleSoft donation upgrades education

Province cracks down on welfare


Caught on campus


Voters to log on for election

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Western students will have to get connected this spring to cast their ballots in the University Students' Council presidential elections, thanks to a decision at last night's council meeting.

After hearing of the success of last fall's online Senate and Board of Governors elections, the USC voted unanimously in favour of making all USC run elections in the future online events, eliminating the more conventional polling stations.

"We're leading the way in the province and across the country with our online elections," said USC legal affairs officer Matt Kelleher, adding a number of improvements have already been made on the fall elections, including, among other things, a more user-friendly ballot.

When questioned about the effect on voter turnout, Kelleher said the fall elections resulted in the fourth largest voter showing in the past decade.

Senator-at-large Melissa Parker raised the issue of personal identification numbers, claiming most graduate students who do not use the number on a regular basis do not even know their numbers.

Kelleher said a link on the Western homepage will go directly to the registrar's office for easy access to the four digit numbers necessary for voting.

He also said at election time, a number of terminals will be set up in the University Community Centre atrium for students and computer labs will have extended hours to handle the voter rush.

King's College councillor Mike Werenich asked about accessibility, stating many students do not have access to the internet and there may be problems faced by those with physical disabilities. "Online voting is at least as accessible as regular balloting," Kelleher responded.

Social sciences councillor Ray Novak asked if the USC had any back-up plans, for example a paper ballot, in case of a catastrophic problem with the computer system.

Kelleher said there was no back-up plan but asserted only a massive power outage could impact the system.

Kelleher addressed the issue of promotion by telling councillors a poster campaign as well as advertisements through Western media outlets and information via email would give students the heads up when it is time to cast their ballots.

In a separate motion, it was decided after a short debate to institute an information-based campaign rather than the more traditionally used yes/no campaign as a means to get the word out on the recent $16 increase to the LTC's universal bus pass. Students will vote in a referendum during the presidential elections over whether or not to keep the pass.

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