With the second largest voter-turnout in Aggie history, the results for this quarter’s ASUCD’s elections are in.
Election results were announced Friday at 2 p.m. in front of the Memorial Union. Despite the elections website being down from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, a total of 26 percent of undergraduate students signed on to vote.
“This election was so unique in so many ways,” said Adam Thongsavat, elections committee chair. “I think this election will decide how ASUCD will function for the next two or three years.“
Independent candidate Joe Chatham and running mate Chris Dietrich won the executive ticket with 2,839 votes. Chatham and Dietrich claimed victory with 13 more votes than L.E.A.D. candidates Lula Ahmed-Falol and Rebecca Schwartz.
“This is just so amazing and I am so honored that UC Davis students voted for me,” said Dietrich, the first independent vice president in four years of L.E.A.D. executive control. “Joe and I have a lot to learn as independents. It will be quite a transition.“
Of the 15 senatorial candidates, the six elected were A.C.T. member Justin Gold, L.E.A.D.‘s Shawdee Rouhafza, L.E.A.D.‘s Previn Witana, Independent Joemar Clemente, L.E.A.D.‘s Trevor Taylor and Independent Kevin Massoudi.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Witana, senator and junior bioscience major. “I was kind of unsure going into the announcement today because I called about 150 people last night asking them to vote for me, and then the website was down. I thought that would cost me, but it didn’t!”
The ballot measure The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) lost, with 3,349 votes against the measure, and 1,841 for the measure. In addition, both ASUCD amendments for the Interviewing Committee Updating Act and the External Representation Amendment passed with a relatively large margin.
All votes have been considered by the elections committee to be fair, despite the glitches the online voting web page experienced. According to Creative Media, the unit that sets up the voting website, the site was in no way “hacked” as some critics argued. All problems were due to software glitches.
Of the two glitches the website experienced, Creative Media takes responsibility for one and the Campus Data Center takes responsibility for the other.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Creative Media discovered that the progress of the votes had been accidentally generated online, showing Chatham and Dietrich in the lead by a large margin. This occurred due to a system upgrade error, during the process of which, not all the information from the old server was entirely moved to the new server correctly. This problem in no way was tied to students‘ inability to access the elections website.
“We fixed the problem as soon as we found out about it,” said Chris Thieden, senior programmer for Creative Media.
Thieden speculated that the incomplete results had been available for several hours before Eli Yani, ASUCD assistant to the controller notified Thongsavat, who in turn alerted Creative Media of the problem.
The second problem that occurred later that evening, separate from the information leak, was that students could not log in to the elections website to vote from 8 until 11 p.m. Thursday night. The problem was due to a malfunction within one of the Campus Data Center’s load balancing equipment, which debilitated the Central Authentication System (CAS). The CAS allows students to log in to the website using their Kerberos username and password.
“There were no security breaches or compromises of the CAS system, the load balancers, or any other Campus Data Center computing system,” said Mark Stinson, client services manager in the Informational and Educational Technology division. “A small, select group of Campus Data Center staff have physical or command-line electronic access to the CAS server and/or the load balancers. None are student employees.“
Stinson furthermore confirmed that speculation of Chatham’s position on the Campus Counsel for Information Technology would in no way allow him access to CAS or the load balancing equipment.
However despite the high amount of security of both the Creative Media website and the CAS, many students were outraged at the results of the election.
Shortly after results were announced, L.E.A.D. supporter Lia Shepherd led several angry voters in a chant, shouting “Who’s my president? Lula!”
Other L.E.A.D. supporters believed that the election was unfair, due to the website shutting down the previous night and students not being able to vote.
“That is not democracy and Joe and Chris are not my president and vice president,” said Jose Marquez, a sophomore psychology major.
Despite these complaints, the elections committee will not likely recount the votes, Thongsavat said.
“We always make sure elections are as fair and secure as possible,” he said. “When there’s a close election it’s not appropriate to throw these allegations out without knowledge of the issue.“
A new challenge will be unifying a now starkly divided student government, Schwartz said.
“If anything L.E.A.D. will only become stronger,” Schwartz said. “So many of our supporters are so outraged. Joe and Chris ran on the fact that they could bring everyone together, so we’ll see what happens in the next year.“
Chatham said he is prepared for an upset senate table; however will keep his promise to UC Davis students to unify the campus, L.E.A.D. supporters included.
“I think the first couple of weeks are going to be choppy,” Chatham said. “[The candidates] worked really hard in this election and it was such a close race. So what I’m working on now is trying to communicate with everyone, and making sure that everyone’s voices are heard. I’ve already talked to a few of the senators about this and I think we’re all going to be able to work it out.“
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.