The Undergraduate Association voting Web site (http://vote.mit.edu) has experienced problems over the last few days as some users have been unable to vote without contacting the Election Commission. Michelle Jeong ’08, chair of the UA Election Commission, attributed the problem to lists provided by MIT that describe class affiliation and housing. She said that inaccuracies in those lists have commonly led to voting troubles.
Joseph W. Presbrey ’08, who runs the voting Web site, said that voter disenfranchisement is “a regular occurrence in every election” and does not encompass a substantial portion of the population. Others, however, claim that the problem is more widespread, possibly affecting the majority of sophomores who have moved into Greek houses.
Akash A. Chandawarkar ’09, president of the Class of 2009, was concerned that many students were unable to vote. “It’s going to play a big role if this is as widespread as it seems,” said Chandawarkar.
Presbrey did not know if there were widespread voting problems and was under the impression that vote denials were “fairly evenly distributed.” Presbrey said he updated the site on Sunday to allow users to vote by comparing unrecognized MIT certificates to the MIT directory. Students who have removed their information from the directory will still need to contact the committee to vote. He also said that students who opted for sophomore standing might be affiliated with the incorrect class year. Affected users can e-mail the Election Commission at email@example.com if they wish to correct their class year or have other voting problems.
These solutions are not acceptable for everyone. Chandawarkar said that making students “go an extra mile to vote is a little ridiculous … considering voter turnout is very low itself.”
Further compounding these problems, the voting server was unavailable for a few hours Monday, March 19 due to a power failure in the UA office.
Online voting ends tonight and paper voting begins tomorrow, Wednesday, March 21 in Lobby 10.