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Online voting makes debut this week at UC-Davis

Updated 12:00 PM ET November 15, 1999
By Mike Mcdaniel
The California Aggie U. California-Davis (U-WIRE)

DAVIS, Calif. -- For the first time in the history of UC Davis, students voting in the campus elections will be able to do so from the comfort of a computer. That's right - ASUCD has joined the ranks of the technologically elite by eliminating paper and Scantron ballots from the UCD campus. Beginning tomorrow at 8 a.m., students can log on to the World Wide Web and vote online at elections.ucdavis.edu.

ASUCD President Phong La believes the new voting system will be beneficial. "Voter turnout will increase with online voting," he said. "The new process gives students more time to vote. (Students) can vote at home or on campus. "On other campuses that have switched to online voting, voter turnout has increased," he continued.

In an effort to ease the process of voting on campus, the Memorial Union computer lab will be available only for voting Tuesday and Wednesday. ASUCD has also arranged for two computers to be placed inside the ASUCD Coffee House for student voting. Katie Mullane, the Elections Committee chairperson, said that she expects the process to run smoothly. "This is a brand-new system and the first time that we've done anything online," she said. "The MU computer lab has about 30 computers, and voting takes about five minutes so there shouldn't be a problem. Because there are only two computers in the Coffee House, there might be some lines that form there." The change to electronic elections was spurred by the elimination of registration card stickers. Students no longer receive a color-coded sticker to place on their registration card, forcing ASUCD to initiate alternative voting protocol. In the past, ASUCD election workers could check the sticker to ensure current registration. Now, students will need to use a Kerberos password obtained from Information Technology's room inside the Peter J. Shields Library in order to vote in the election. According to Mullane, obtaining the password to vote is not a long, drawn-out process. "Students can vote using the same password that they use to check their grades or look at their transcript," Mullane said. "If they don't have the password yet, they can go to the Information Technology room in the library."

Mullane said the ASUCD Elections Committee is trying to make the process as easy as possible. "When a student is voting on the ballot measures, there will be a link so they can read the text of the measure," she said. The elections committee has also made a detailed handout that explains the voting process for every computer lab on campus. She added that anyone with questions can go to election headquarters, located in 345 MU. The Internet site will be up and running from 8 a.m. tomorrow until 6 p.m. Wednesday. At that time, students will no longer be able to vote.

(C) 1999 The California Aggie via U-WIRE

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