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Bug Forces Voting Extension

By Dana Levine


As a result of bugs in the voting software, the Undergraduate Association election commission was forced to restart the online election system at about 4:20 AM on Wednesday.

According to Aaron M. Ucko, the system administrator for the election system, the problem arose when he reused some sample code from the server’s documentation.

“Unfortunately, the code in question had a bug that allowed my system to inadvertently corrupt its databases under some circumstances,” he said.

The software had been used successfully for the Spring Weekend survey and freshman class elections, but Ucko claims that the bug “did not manifest itself, at least not obviously.”

The system uses a database which contains every undergraduate's name and year. The bug allowed some people who had already voted to vote again, while it prevented some who had not voted from voting the first time.

When Ucko discovered the bug, he took the system down to replace the database with a functional one. This prevented him from keeping any of the old data, as the software is designed to make it impossible to link anyone to who has voted with the vote that he has cast.

Some of the candidates are bothered by the election’s extension. Vice Presidential Candidate Jason H. Wasfy ’01 believes that the extension will give voters ample time to vote.

“If I were making the decision, I would end the election on Friday night. To vote, you really only need three or four minutes,” he said.

Sina Kevin Nazemi ’03, running for class president, believes that the extension has helped candidates who didn’t adequately prepare for the election. Nazemi fears, however, that they might not do their job in a timely manner if elected.

“It gives candidates who didn’t put forth a concerted effort in the first week of elections a second chance, while lessening the efforts of those who made a concerted effort the first time,” he said.