Primary rerun a result of Involvement Link errors

The Marquette Student Government primary election for president and executive vice president will be rerun today following problems in the voting system. In a press release published at 12:30 p.m. yesterday, the time the results were originally supposed to be released, MUSG stated that it does not “have confidence in the election results,” and will be rerunning the election over a 24-hour period starting today at 4 p.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. Friday.

Students registered on the Marquette Involvement Link system with a domain name instead of were not able to vote for the first 45 minutes of the election, and students were able to vote for multiple tickets on the same ballot. The two problems were caused by setup error and have been rectified.

“That period of time was about 45 minutes after the election opened (before the domain name error was identified),” said Jon Dooley, the senior associate dean of Student Development who serves as the MUSG advisor. “We became aware of the issue right away and were able to rectify that.”

Voting for more than one ticket was possible because of changes in the new system of validation, which has only been in use since the fall. In the previous system, validation happened after students cast their ballots, and warnings appeared to point out what would disqualify a vote. The new system validates students before they vote, and the warnings were removed. Restrictions to keep students from voting more than once had not been put in place by the time voting started.

“With a better understanding of the setup of the system, and our unique Marquette situation, it should rectify the problem,” Dooley said.

After learning of the problems, MUSG felt that the results were unreliable and to move forward with the results of this primary would be unfair to the candidates. The organization quickly chose to rerun the primary election.

“Our job is to make sure that this election is completely fair, and if there had been any problem at all, we would have rerun the election regardless,” said Dave Kuester, the MUSG elections coordinator.

This isn’t the first time an MUSG election has been rerun. The last was in 2004, when a technical error in file locking required the election to be rerun using paper ballots. This year’s election will be rerun online now that problems have been fixed.

The primary candidates are upset that voting errors occurred but are prepared to deal with another primary run.

“While we are disappointed about the election being thrown out, we do understand that mistakes and errors occur, and it is necessary to ensure that every eligible student has the ability to vote,” said Zach Dubois, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences who is running for MUSG president. “If that means redoing the primaries, so be it.”

Other candidates expressed similar sentiments.

“While I can’t say I’m extremely happy to go at it again, I think it will give us enough time to reach out to more groups, to amp up our publicity, our visibility on campus,” said Michaela Tarpey, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and presidential candidate. “We’re just going to take this as ‘it is what it is,’ and we’ll put our best foot forward.”

Candidates are also concerned that the rerun of the primary election will affect their ability to campaign in the general election because they have to use resources they had originally set aside for after the primary.

“We would have poured the rest of our money into the regular election had we moved forward, but now we have to place some aside for the second primary election,” said Sam Schultz, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Presidential candidate Will Knight was not able to be reached for comment as of press time.