By-by election after LMH online vote ‘lacks secrecy’

first_imgA complaints tribunal has called for the results of Lady Margaret Hall’s JCR by-election to be annulled after the reliability of the online voting system used was called into question.According to the tribunal’s report, several undergraduates complained to the Returning Officer during last Thursday’s election that there were “insufficient protections against electoral fraud” and that the ballot “lacked due secrecy”. Other students reported that their anti-virus software prevented them from accessing the voting page.There was also confusion on election day after it emerged that the online system allowed voters to mark the same candidate as their first and second choice. Many thought that doing this would increase the sway of their vote, when in fact it spoilt their ballot.Ashley Thompson, the JCR’s IT representative, sent an email to students just after midday on polling day to advise voters against placing the same candidate as their first and second choice.However in the same email, he wrote, “You can’t put down a first choice for VP and then leave the remaining options blank.”The preferential voting system used by LMH does not require all choices to be used, and Thompson was forced to issue a further correction later in the day.Some students expressed concern that the system did not adequately protect the privacy of individual votes after discovering that individually identifiable results were amalgamated in one spreadsheet.Thompson claims that he protected the confidentiality of individual votes. He explained, “I had the votes in a spreadsheet with e-mail addresses, voting pins and actual votes in separate columns. While I was validating e-mail addresses I had the voting columns hidden, and before I started counting votes I deleted the e-mail address/voting pin columns.”However Returning Officer Nathalie Higgs decided not to release the results of the by-election when polling closed, and forwarded the complaints she received to a tribunal formed of three former JCR officers. The complaints tribunal released its report on Wednesday, in which ex-JCR President David Tan criticises the current JCR Executive for not ensuring an effective system was in place.“The planning for this online election smacks of being naive at best, and inept at worst,” he wrote.It is the first time that LMH has held an election online. Tan suggests that the JCR Executive’s decision not to use a more traditional method was based on “saving themselves from having to sit for an hour at the ballot box.”“It is surprising that at no point did the JCR Exec think to consult the JCR as a whole as to their views concerning online voting,” he continued.Asked if he felt anyone should resign following the incident, Tan said, “You may very well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.”JCR President Marlene Cayoun said that the vote was held online to make it more accessible.“We wanted to make it easier for people who live out, who sometimes find it hard to come into college to vote,” she said. “It’s a shame that it didn’t work out, but our motives was [sic] sound.”Higgs agreed that the move was based on good intentions. “We wanted to try and increase the turnout of voters. In the previous elections only 160 people voted out of an electorate of 400.”The College’s JCR will meet on Sunday night to decide whether to accept the tribunal’s recommendation that a “by-by-election” be held. The debacle means that the JCR is still without a Vice-President or OUSU Officer.Both positions were left vacant when the winners of the College’s Michaelmas elections resigned before taking up their roles.Alasdair Craig, who won the election for VP in Michaelmas, was forced to resign when College authorities objected to election posters that depicted him holding a carrot in his trouser flies.Georgina Day resigned as the College’s OUSU representative earlier this term, saying her position had become “awkward.”Charlotte Dyke, one of the candidates for Vice-President in the by-election, said, “Problems that arose could not have been foreseen before the election took place. It was evident that a lot of research had gone into the online system in order for it to work.”last_img read more

Benefit on Monday to Raise Money for Howie Cook Family

first_imgHowie Cook with his wife, Wendi, and two boys, Brett and Brock. Ocean City resident Howie Cook died of a heart attack at the age of 49 on July 14, and he left behind his beloved wife, Wendi, and two young boys, Brett and Brock.Cook was known for his willingness to help anyone. He had “a minute” for everyone. He was known for his culinary expertise and his knowledge of marine mechanics.His two boys, ages 15 and 10, attend Ocean City schools, as does his niece, Ryann Styer (Noel Styer and Lee Styer are OCHS grads).Cook’s friends say he was always there when anybody asked, “Got a minute?”And now they’re asking the community to give the Cook Family “a minute” by supporting “The Cook Family Benefit” on Monday, August 24. Tickets can be purchased at the door.Arlene Stryker, of Arlene’s Restaurant on Asbury, and Mary Beth Salmonsen are organizing the benefit for his family.“He was a heck of a good guy,” Salmonsen said. THE COOK FAMILY BENEFITDate: Monday, August 24, 2015Time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.Place: Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, 908 Shore Rd., Somers PointEvent: Includes appetizers and finger foods, cash bar and a silent auction. All donations welcome.Tickets: $25 for adults and kids. Available at the door and at Arlene’s on Asbury restaurant (624 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City) or by calling/texting Mary Beth Salmonsen at 609-254-4143.last_img read more