U.C. Executive Elections Underway Today

UC election '96

Harvard students will hit the polls this morning and--barring a computer meltdown--will vote in the first day of elections for Undergraduate Council president and vice president.

The council will also hold two separate referenda, beginning Wednesday night, on whether to increase funding for house committees and student groups.

Presidential and vice presidential elections will be conducted via computer. Voting began at 12: 01 a.m. today and will continue through 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Harvard Computer Society (HCS) member Robert J. Klein '97 set up the network to accept requests from the thousands of undergraduates expected to cast ballots. Voters should log in via fas, fas2, coursel, course2 or scunix4. Voters should type "ucvote" at the unix prompt and wait for instructions.

HCS officials are promising there will be no major technical delays preventing the counting of ballots--a problem which marred last April's elections.


"[The program] works very well," said Yoni E. Braude '98, press liaison for the election commission. "It's the conduit that is going to facilitate who is the next president and vice president".

Voters will initially be asked for their birthdys and ID numbers. After being asked whether they want to view the candidates' position papers, voters may rank as many candidates as they wish.

The council is employing the hare proportional voting scheme. Proportional representation allows citizens to rank their choice of candidates and then redistributes votes from the last place candidate, who is mathematically eliminated from the race, to the voter's next-preferred choice.

But once logged on, at least one presidential and vice presidential candidate must be selected.

Voters will receive e-mail messages confirming their vote. Anyone having trouble with the program should e-mail "ucvote@hcs."

Not included in the program are two questions pertaining to funds for student groups and house committees. Last night, the council postponed the referenda until Wednesday evening, after all balloting has ended in the presidential and vice presidential races.

That decision sent Klein scrambling last night to reconfigure the voting program. HCS officials said the reconfiguration was both simple and successful.

HCS members began writing the program last May after bugs in the voting program delayed last April's election for Undergraduate Council president and vice president.

Last spring, the chief programmer, Daniel A. Lopez '97, became ill and had an inordinate amount of classwork. Programmers had trouble remodeling the program, which was used during the fall 1995 representative elections.

The new program was used successfully this fall. On Friday, members of the election commission and HCS tested the program and reported it was working without a hitch.

The council's elections are not even maximizing the program's capabilities which can handle a variety of circumstances, Because of the nature of the program, last night's reconfigurations were a cinch, Klein said.

Votes will be tabulated on Wednesday night. Results are expected to be announced Thursday

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