Student Council Elections To Use Electronic Voting

The Phillips Academy Student Council is in the final stages of adopting a new electronic voting system, according to Danny Silk, Student Council President. A sub-committee of Student Council, headed by Council Vice president James Freeman, has been working to get the new system up and running for this year’s Student Council presidential elections. The new system will be completely electronic. Through a link sent in an email students will be able to access an online voting system. This method was used for the first time at Andover last spring for the final vote between the last three Council President candidates. The Student Council was hoping to implement this new system for the preliminary elections on Monday, February 5, but was unable to because of potential flaws in the system that needed to be addressed. Freeman said, “There was a possible problem that students would be able to vote [using the new system] more than once.” The program will be further tested to ensure that that same person to vote more than once. Silk and Freeman both felt that the new voting system is going to be very effective. With the online ballots soon in place, they said the election process should be much easier. One clear advantage to switching to an electronic system is the speed at which results would be known. The site will tally the number of votes that each candidate receives and will hopefully provide accurate results more quickly. Danny Silk commented on “times when we [the vote counters] would have count over and over again because there were only a few votes between certain candidates.” The system will also have a restriction on the number of candidates students can vote for, therefore preventing voting for too many candidates. Freeman said, “It [the new voting system] makes our [Student Council’s] job easier and it also make it [voting] easier for voters.” Overall, student reactions seem to be fairly positive. Jon Adler ‘08, a presidential candidate, said, “It sounds like a good way to expedite the voting process and minimize the error in counting.”