Students encountered voting difficulties at HSF-hosted polls during the Humber Students’ Federation’s by-election last week in their second attempt to elect a president.
Kathleen Jolly, 22, a second-year full-time student in the post-graduate journalism program, tried voting on the Friday and the Monday of polls and was ineligible both days.
She had given her contact information to HSF in each instance.
“I was like, ‘this is ridiculous.’ I’ve heard a lot of people have had this problem of not being able to vote, when you already have such a low voter turn out. And the people who are trying to vote can’t even vote. Two hours before the polls closed I got an email saying ‘We’ve rectified the situation’,” Jolly said.
HSF project coordinator Vanessa Silaphet explained that Information and Technology Services inputs the list of eligible voters.
An eligible voter is a full-time student who has paid their activity fee in the full amount.
“But a lot of students may not have known if they have paid or not,” Silaphet said.
Ryan Burton, director of Humber IT Planning and Client Services, explained that HSF established the list of eligible students and his department fulfilled the request with the criteria provided.
“If you weren’t paid up on such things as activity fees, that might be an area where you may run into challenges. We saw this in course registration too, that (some students) had paid a portion of their fees, or deferred some of it or switched programs,” Burton said.
The by-election had a voter turn out of 2,134 students. Silaphet estimated the number of students affected by the voting issue were “about 30.”
Silaphet confirmed that the issue occurred over all three days of polling but was resolved on Tuesday with enough time to contact the students to come back to place their votes.
“I guess later down the road the chief returning officer (CRO) decided to make a change as far as the eligibility criteria and the voters’ list was amended,” Burton said.
Attempts to contact the CRO for this story went unanswered.