SA to add candidate profiles to Huskie Link ballots


Terrance Terry, freshman business administration major, votes online in the 2015 Student Association executive elections March 24 in Neptune Hall. This fall’s SA Senate elections will also use social media website Huskie Link as a voting platform, as well as include candidate information and endorsements.

By Satta Kendor & Jackie Nevarez

Students will be able to access verified candidate information and endorsements online when they vote for their Student Association Senate representatives this month.

The 2015 SA executive elections piloted online voting through Huskie Link, a social media website for student organizations, said SA Election Commissioner Kevin Gordon. The 2015 SA Senate elections, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30, will allow students to vote online, as well, Gordon said.

“If anything, it will make it easier for the candidates to get people to vote because they don’t have to try to walk people or give them instructions to go exactly to a paper ballot at a polling station,” Gordon said. “They can just access it on their phone or from their laptop at their home or wherever they are on campus. It will make it easier for them.”

There will still be physical polling stations with laptops to give voters access to Huskie Link, in addition to the online voting portal. Polling stations include the Holmes Student Center, Barsema Hall, Founders Memorial Library, DuSable Hall and the New Hall Community Center, Gordon said, eliminating the Recreation Center as a polling place.

“I think it will decrease the voter intimidation factor that I think some people are worried about because it’s not taking people exactly to the polls,” Gordon said.

Robert Kreml, who ran for vice president for the Standing for Every Student ticket in the 2015 SA executive election, petitioned the SA Supreme Court on March 25 to disqualify the opposing Voice of Change ticket on voter intimidation charges. Kreml alleged Voice of Change campaigners intimidated voters by setting up laptops around campus and influencing students’ votes. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled Kreml’s evidence was insufficient to find the ticket guilty of intimidating voters, according to an April 1 Northern Star article.

Sophomore undecided major Symone Gant said both the online voting and physical poll places are convenient, because although most people have an internet connection available to them, not everyone does.

“I would personally vote on the internet because it’s easier and you don’t have to leave and go nowhere,” Gant said.

Candidate experience and endorsements

SA Senator Leon Kincaid said he had the idea of validating candidate credentials to prevent candidates from lying about how much experience they actually had.

“The problem, [is] that candidates have the ability to be disingenuous and that we don’t really have a whole lot of fact checking going on about what candidates in the student government elections are saying,” Kincaid said.

The election commissioner will be in charge of reviewing and validating the experience candidates say they have in their applications.

When students go to Huskie Link to vote, they will see basic information on the candidates like their names and a photo, but they can click on a link by the candidate to see information on their student organization experience and endorsements, Kincaid said.

“I am pretty optimistic that this will work and I hope that we have a better voter turnout and that the senators elected are actually highly qualified and motivated to work in the best interest of the student body,” Kincaid said.