UC Votes to Reform Online Elections

Inflatable Jousting
ROBERT L. RUFFINS

Students participate in “inflatable jousting” at the Undergraduate Council-sponsored tailgate for the Harvard-Duke men’s lacrosse game last Friday.

The Undergraduate Council voted unanimously last night to accept the second and final installment of UC election reform.

According to Rules Committee Chair Luis A. Martinez Jr. ’12, the most recent legislation seeks to address the technological aspects of running an election, whereas the first component of reform—passed at last Sunday’s general meeting—dealt mainly with clarifying the structure and duties of the Election Commission.

Under the new policy, FAS Information Technology will be required to check the Council’s electronic voting system one week before any election to assess the software’s readiness.

In the event that FAS IT deems the software unsatisfactory, each identified concern will have to be addressed before an election is held.

In addition, FAS IT will implement technology to incorporate a “keys” system so that a designee from the Office of Student Life and a quorum of three of the five election commissioners must input passwords simultaneously in order to view incoming election results.

“FAS IT is basically going to be there to make sure that we’re following all the best practices with our software as we should be,” Martinez said.

While the UC’s Election Reform Task Force proposal originally included a cash stipend for election commissioners, the final legislation left out this provision.

Eliot representative Allen Yang ’11 said that after “a heated debate” in Rules Committee, members felt that the stipend idea was not “very strong nor palatable” at this point but could be left for future Councils to consider.

Martinez said the Rules Committee ultimately felt uncomfortable allocating money from the $75 student activities fee included on undergraduate term bills to “pay commissioners to run our elections.”

He said that other non-monentary incentives, will still be considered.

The stipend was originally proposed in an effort to attract a more diverse group of election commissioners, UC Vice President Eric N. Hysen ’11 said at the time the preliminary election reform report was released.

During yesterday’s general meeting, the Council also passed legislation to retroactively fund inflatable jousting featured at the UC-sponsored barbeque tailgate at last Friday’s Harvard men’s lacrosse game against Duke.

The UC also provided fans with 3500 red Harvard shirts for the game.

—Staff writer Janie M. Tankard can be reached at jtankard@fas.harvard.edu.

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