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The Daily Tar Heel

Election mistakes threaten vote results

As many as 300 cast wrong ballots

Clarification (Feb. 12 1:02 a.m.): This story stated that Information Technology Services experienced communication problems. Those problems were between databases, not staff members.

Tuesday’s election results remain in limbo as mistakes by the Board of Elections, technology glitches and confusion regarding the Student Code have called into question the validity of the vote.

Board of Elections Chairman Pete Gillooly said he currently has no plans to invalidate the election.

But according to the laws of student government, any student in any election could sue the Board of Elections in Student Supreme Court, on the grounds that the validity of his or her candidacy could have been compromised.

Fee referendum

Gillooly announced Tuesday night that all three fee referendums had been approved by the student body.

But he said he misread the election results and the $6 student organization fee did not actually pass. It was defeated by 2,037 votes.

“I f—-ed up,” he said. “I announced it in the wrong order. It was my mistake. When it’s certified, it will be certified as not passed.”

The student organizations fee provides revenue to be distributed by Student Congress to fund student groups and organizations.

The other two fees on the ballot, the student legal services fee and the safety and security fee, were both correctly reported by Gillooly as passed.

Technology glitch

A computer glitch that Information Technology Services said can likely be attributed to communications problems prohibited as many as 296 students from successfully casting votes in the election.

Several students found that their residence or class information was incorrect, providing them with inappropriate voting options.

 The Board of Elections provided students with the option of casting a paper ballot and slipping it under its office door, but students said they were not aware of this possibility.

Debra Beller, an ITS communications specialist, said her department has been working to discover the source of the problem and believes the glitch was a result of the University’s ongoing switch to using the ConnectCarolina information system.

“We are fairly sure this would not have happened if we were switched to ConnectCarolina,” she said.

Beller said her department will conduct a test today to determine if this was the source of the error.

Gillooly filed a complaint with ITS on Tuesday morning but said he was not responsible.

Student Code

The number of candidates who won their bid for Student Congress is still up in the air, as representatives in student government work to determine if recent legislation regarding redistricting will take effect in this year’s election.

Dakota Williams, the current speaker of Congress, said legislation was passed that changed the number of seats allocated to Student Congress.

He said the Student Code is unclear if the new rules should take effect this year or next.

The election will not be certified until Saturday, so Williams and Gillooly are working to determine if the elected representatives should be seated.

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