SA Senate moves voting online


Student Association Senator David White discusses his bill to move SA executive elections to online voting during Sunday’s SA Senate meeting in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room. White said online voting would increase voter participation, but other senators said turnout would be better increased with advertising.

By Ashley Morse

After a nearly 90-minute debate on the effectiveness of online voting, the Student Association Senate passed a bill, 20-12, that would allow students to vote online for the SA executive election.

Polling stations in DuSable Hall, the Holmes Student Center, Recreation Center, Founders Memorial Library and Barsema Hall will now have laptops where students can vote. Aside from the polling stations, students will be able to vote on their phones and electronic devices through the Huskie Link website,, a social networking site for student organizations.

Senator Gregory Lezon, member of the SA board of elections, said he was concerned about the use of Huskie Link for voting as there could be bugs with the system. David White, SA election commissioner and the senator who proposed online voting, said he would run tests to ensure the website would work fine.

Senator Jordan Clayton-Taylor expressed concern with moving toward electronics as “someone could use another person’s [OneCard] to vote.”

White said the system for online voting would work the same way as the paper ballot voting as a OneCard is required to be swiped to vote and a person can only vote once.

White and Senator Brandon Phillips, SA election board chairman, said they hope to use the online elections as an opportunity to increase turnout. White and Phillips have previously said their plan for the spring election is to increase the voter turnout to 5,000 students, which would be a near double increase from spring 2014’s 2,600 students.

“About three-fourths of the schools who actually use online voting have said that the lowest turnout that they’ve gotten with the voting was at least 21 percent of the school population,” Phillips said.

Senator Rachel Gorsuch, member of the SA board of elections, said most schools are beginning to use online voting and NIU is one of the few schools still doing paper voting.

Clayton-Taylor said she wanted to focus on more advertising for voting rather than introducing online voting.

Legislative Branch adviser Kelli Bradley, who does not normally sit with the SA Senate, moved to sit in an empty Senate seat and said the Senate had to keep in mind the student body.

“This is not about your matter of opinion about the online elections. You have to put aside whatever you think about Huskie Link and instead take into consideration about how this can improve the student body,” Bradley said.

Clayton-Taylor again said online voting would do nothing to help improve voter turnout and the SA needs to “fix what was in place.”

After the conclusion of the voting, White said people aren’t used to change, but a change like this was “pretty big” and “necessary.”