Due to reports of technical difficulties with their voting system, ASUCR announced on Thursday night, April 25 via an Instagram story that the Senate would hold an emergency vote on Saturday, April 27 at 6:15 p.m. to extend the deadline of elections by one day. A day after this announcement on Friday afternoon, April 26, ASUCR President Semi Cole sent out a mass email to students in which he announced that he had issued an executive order that would extend voting by two additional days due to the campus-wide WiFi outage that occurred on Monday April 22. The meeting scheduled for Saturday has since been cancelled.
During the ASUCR meeting held on April 24, Elections Director Laura Pullen and Executive Director Laurie Sinclair addressed the issues students faced when attempting to vote online. Sinclair addressed concerns that the WiFi went down when many students attempted to vote online would vote. When they attempt to vote again, the website says that they have already voted or have already cast a ballot despite the fact that they have yet to actually vote.
In response, Sinclair stated that if this issue occurred to a student, they should supply Pullen with their student NetID and their ballot could be reset. Vice President of Internal Affairs Jose Cortez Hernandez stated at ASUCR’s meeting Wednesday night that he believes these technical difficulties are playing a role in low voter turnout and voter apathy. “A lot of people were discouraged to vote because of connectivity issues,” stated Cortez Hernandez.
Cole’s executive order preempted the senate’s Saturday vote. . The executive order stated, “due to the campus-wide wi-fi outage that occurred on Monday, April 22, 2019, we have come to understand that some students have had trouble accessing the official ballot for the ASUCR Election. Also, we understand that there have been issues with the voting site itself.”
Cole stated that he issued the executive order in order to ensure that the elections are fair and accessible to all students. Cole stated that his power to issue an executive order is outlined in the ASUCR bylaws, Chapter IX, section two, subsection B. Cole stated that the decision “was made after much deliberation by the ASUCR Office of the President, the ASUCR Elections Director and Committee, the ASUCR Senate and in consultation with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.”
Online voting will be accessible again on Monday April 29 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday, April 30 from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. The additional voting days will be conducted strictly online with no physical polling sites. Candidates and pro groups were permitted to continue campaigning on Monday and Tuesday.
At the end of the executive order, Cole stated, “it is crucial that all students participate in the process of electing not only their future student representatives, but also in deciding on the critical referenda and constitutional amendments that are on the ballot.”
Students can vote at elections.ucr.edu.
Correction 4/26/2019 4:50 p.m.: This article was updated to show that the ASUCR meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 27 has been cancelled.