By Kristen Griffith, The Whetstone
The Student Government Association announced there was a “new problem” in the election process March 31. All the previous votes no longer counted and students had to vote again.
“We realized that each student needed to receive his/her own unique link to Survey Monkey through his/her individual email account,” voting monitor Dr. Angela D’Antonio said. “This method would endure that each email recipient could only vote once.”
Voting originally began March 28 when SGA sent an email with candidate’s biographies and a link to Survey Monkey.
“Remember, you can only vote once!” the email said.
But students were able to vote as many times as they wanted on different devices.
Before, students received the same link to their emails, allowing them to vote as many times as they wanted on different devices.
D’Antonio said she discovered students could vote several times after student pointed it out.
“This was confirmed by testing it multiple times and multiple ways,” she said. “I informed SGA officers and Dr. Newton [SGA adviser] and after confirming it, a decision was made to stop the voting.”
Kenny Ciccoli said he and his SGA campaign team – Betty Lee, Nick McDaniels and Kelsey Fitzpatrick – brought the errors of the voting process to D’Antonio’s attention.
“We, working from the outside once again, accomplished what should have already been addressed and accomplished by SGA,” he said.
Ciccoli ran for treasurer, Lee ran for President, McDaniels ran for Vice President and Fitzpatrick ran for Secretary unopposed.
Ciccoli said the same problem happened during last year’s election when he ran for SGA President against Savannah Durham.
“We knew people could vote more than once,” he said. “The problem was made known and was subsequently ignored.”
Destiny Hollis, current SGA secretary, said the duplicate voting did not affect the previous election.
“I saw the passion and dedication put into campaigning and voting last year, so I know all votes were genuine,” she said.
Hollis said she did not have an opponent when she ran last year, but she helped Durham during her campaign.
Durham said the problems from Survey Monkey last year were different.
“This Executive Board, except the ones that were a part of the election, spent many hours working with Survey Monkey, our IT department, and faculty members in order to address the problem,” she said.
She said she copied and pasted student’s email addresses into Survey Monkey so they will receive a unique link in their inboxes.
“We were able to have a successful, fair and transparent election, and addressed any problems that could arise in the future,” she said.
McDaniels said they should change the way voting is done.
“The best way to make the election fair would be a ballot like system with pen and paper limiting the chance of foul play, like taking someone’s cell phone and voting for them,” he said.
Hollis said the only time she touched student’s phones were to help them find the email with the Survey Monkey link.
“I would take their phone and either check their clutter box or simply search ‘SGA’ in their search bar and walk them through the rest of the process,” she said.
Freshman Yesenia Ventura did not know there was a re-vote until her friend told her.
“I voted the first time, but I just didn’t vote again,” she said. “I didn’t get the message.”
She said she voted for Lee, McDaniels and Ciccoli.
The winners of the election were Destiny Hollis for President, Jennifer Jankowski for Vice President, Adrianne Bautista for Treasurer, Kelsey Fitzpatrick for Secretary and Monisola Olowere for Chief of Staff.
“I believe the election results are accurate and the integrity of the election process is not in question,” D’Antonio said. “While it was unfortunate that there was a problem to begin with, once it came to light, every effort was made to remedy it.”