Will UF switch to online voting?
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 9:35 p.m.
With this semester's Student Government election on the horizon, the issue of online voting is once again pushing its way onto the ballot as a serious possibility for future elections.
Sam Miorelli, former general counsel for last semester's Progress Party, and other online voting proponents submitted a petition Tuesday to Supervisor of Elections Sarah Krantz proposing a constitutional amendment to validate an online voting system at UF.
The petition assures that students will have the opportunity to vote this semester on whether or not they want an online voting system.
Over a period of around three months, Miorelli and others amassed 5,683 signatures, more than the required 10 percent of the student body, Miorelli said
If passed by the students, the constitutional amendment would stand as the first to be established by petition in school history.
The advantages of an online voting system are fairly clear. By making it possible for students to vote from any computer connected to the Internet, online voting could help to alleviate problems with voter apathy.
"The results from other schools say that at the very least voter turnout should double," Miorelli said.
There is also the financial impact an online voting system could have on election costs. Even if there is a larger voter turnout, an election would require fewer paper ballots and poll workers, Miorelli said.
He said an online system could cut the cost of an election by up to 90 percent.
Supervisor of Elections Sarah Krantz said she agrees that costs would be reduced in the long run. But she said the implementation of a suitable online system would actually be more costly in the short term.
There are a couple of potential problems with an online system.
"I don't think it will necessarily make the supervisor of elections job any easier or harder, but I think it will definitely bring forth new challenges," Krantz said. "When you're dealing with computers and technology, there are lots of potential problems."
She highlighted technical issues like connection problems and other computer errors.
The last time online voting appeared on the ballot was spring 2007. Despite garnering a majority of voting students' support, the UF Supreme Court ruled that online voting was unconstitutional.
In addition to the online voting amendment, a referendum to gauge UF students' general opinion of the war in Iraq will also appear on the ballot this semester.
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