The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

Technical issues forces homecoming elections to be restarted

September 22, 2016

The Nicholls State University Homecoming Court election, which began on Sept. 18th, had to be restarted on Monday due to technical difficulties in the setup of Election Runner voting system.

The second Homecoming election arrangement started on Sept. 19 and runs through today at 11:59 a.m. Students can still cast their votes this morning using a personal voter key they received in their student email accounts.

Several organizations in the Nicholls Community nominated a total of 77 candidates for Homecoming court. Forty-one of those are nominees for homecoming Queen and 36 for King.

The elected Court will be announced shortly after the closure of the polls in front of the Student Union at 2 p.m.

Since a completely new election voting system had to be setup, all votes must be recast. According to the data provided by Nicholls IT Department, 979 students had already cast their votes prior to restarting of the elections. Those votes are now voided.

Nonetheless, that was not the first issue involving the Fall 2016 Homecoming elections. The Student Government Association objected to the Nicholls Administration’s changes to the election system that would only allow students to cast a total of two votes.

On Friday, Sept. 16, the SGA President Tommy Thibodaux called into session a special Senate meeting that amended specifications to be added to the Election code.

“It came to a tipping point where we had many students coming to complain about it,” Thibodaux said. “And I think that it shined a light on a bigger issue than a one-vote system versus a seven-vote system.”

The Senate approved the motion unanimously, determining in the code that the total number of votes per students for the homecoming election is six. The students are now able to choose up to three nominees for Homecoming King and Queen each.

According to Eugene Dial, vice president for student affairs, Nicholls Administration “in council” had decided last semester to setup of an election system that allowed only one vote per student for the King and one vote for the Queen.

“The administration was thinking about the one person one vote election,” Dial said. “Just like the U.S. Senator [elections] coming up in about two months. You have 24 people on the ballot and you only get to vote for one.”

Dial said the decision to change the vote system was a result of discrimination complaints about the previous ballot process. The administration’s point of view was that the old system wasn’t fair since it allowed an “unfair competitive advantage to groups that have lots of members.”

Austin Wendt, SGA vice president, said the administration had the power to implement the one-vote system because the election code did not specify a number of votes allowed per student.

“In the election code, which is what runs the Student Government Association, Student Program Association, Homecoming and Mr. and Ms. Nicholls elections, was amended today to specify that there is going to be a total of six votes [for homecoming court], being three for a male nominees and three for female nominees per student,” Wendt said after the special session on Friday.

The motion passed only one day before the date the Homecoming election was originally intended to start.

Thibodaux said the initiative to change the ballot process was done in such a restrained schedule because his administration was notified of the changes implemented by the administration to the Homecoming election process “late into the summer”.

Dial, however, said the SGA was in accordance with the changes initially and has moved a motion this past Friday in response to student complaints.
“The current SGA administration has known about [the changes] at least since they were elected last semester,” Dial said.

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