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With Server Down, presidential Voting delayed

As students signed on to vote in the penultimate round of the presidential race last Friday, many found that the link to the voting program was not functioning. Connection issues arose when the third-party company hosting the voting application, webhostingpad.com, unexpectedly shut down its server. According to a member of the company’s Technical Support department, the server shutdown was in part a security measure. “We believe there might be some attacks. We’ve been having some inconsistencies these past few months,” he said. “Someone may be abusing the servers and the administrators are trying to fix it,” he continued. This issue was first brought to the attention of Student Council President Tantum Collins ’08 through John Grunbeck ’09, who was temporarily in charge of voting, when Frank Pinto ’08, the voting system’s creator, was sick at Isham for the day. Several students had also emailed Collins about the issue. Soon after, Pinto called the company to have the problem fixed. “Theoretically, voting was supposed to be restored by Friday, 4 p.m.,” Collins said. However, throughout the rest of the day and even into the weekend, voters experienced additional delays. Because of the server shutdown, the entire voting program had to be reloaded onto the server, which resulted in further issues. Computers, in order to save time and efficiency, often cache sites that have been visited in the past for offline use. As a result, some students still had the nonfunctional voting system saved on their computers. This problem was later solved through a simple rebooting. After four update emails from Collins, students were notified that the voting system was finally fixed. The original 9 p.m. Friday voting deadline was extended to 5 p.m. Saturday. Even after the system was repaired, according to Collins, some students were still unable to vote. However, this was a very small portion of the student body, he said. In the election, Malin Adams ’09, Lawrence Dai ’09 and William Thompson-Butler ’09 received the highest vote totals and advanced to the final round. Despite the issues with voting, Collins was confident in the accuracy and results. “By the end, we did actually have a higher voter turnout than last time, just shy of 700 voters, so I don’t think it changed results,” he said. For the next round, Student Council hopes to avoid further voting issues by using a Blackboard-based voting system.