ASPSU negligence postpones election

In the span of more than four hours Monday, nearly 100 Portland State students cast their ballots for this year’s student government elections. However, by mid-morning it had been decided those votes would not count towards the final totals.

In the span of more than four hours Monday, nearly 100 Portland State students cast their ballots for this year’s student government elections. However, by mid-morning it had been decided those votes would not count towards the final totals.

Due to several violations to the ASPSU Constitution—including that some candidates were missing a statement, photo or both from the voter’s ballot—the polls were closed just before 2 p.m. and all voting activity from Monday was wiped from the record.

Voting will resume this morning at 8 a.m. at, and will continue to remain open until Friday, May 8, at 5 p.m. Then polls will reopen Monday, May 11, at 8 p.m. and close for the final time at 5 p.m. the same day.

After finding out that the ballot was missing information Monday morning, ASPSU Vice President Kyle Cady decided to halt the election and resume it today. When the polls reopen today, Cady said all the candidates will have voter statements and only three will not have photos.

Cady said this is within his purview because the president and vice president are supposed to ensure the election runs smoothly under the ASPSU Constitution. He also said the Elections Board was in support of this decision.

Since President Hannah Fisher is at a conference in Washington, D.C., and Cady was in Salem Monday, Chief of Staff Monique Peterson was acting as the on-campus point person on the issue. She was critical of the ASPSU Elections Board’s handling of the ballot.

“The failure is not on [the Office of Information Technologies]. Even if OIT had the information, the failure is on the E-Board because they didn’t have in the information,” Peterson said.

Domanic Thomas, Student Activities and Leadership Programs interim director, said that 93 votes had been cast as of 1:10 p.m. Monday afternoon, and explained why all those votes were deemed invalid.

“It gives a distinct advantage to those who had their statement and photo up as opposed to those who don’t,” Thomas said. “It was unfair.”

The 93 votes—or more, as OIT Chief Information Officer Sharon Blanton said as the polls officially closed at 1:54 p.m. Monday—that were cleared represent almost 6.5 percent of the 1,447 votes that were cast for last year’s student government elections.

In addition to the varied candidate information on the ballot, a link to direct voters to revisions to the ASPSU Constitution failed to function, meaning the student voters had to cast a “Yes” or “No” to the constitutional changes without reading them.

Article III, Section 7.3 of the ASPSU Elections Board Bylaws states that, “Pictures and candidate statements will be made available for viewing on the Elections Board section of the ASPSU Web site.”

Cady was notified that the polls were not functioning properly at 8:30 a.m. Monday, after a colleague’s failed attempt to vote on Banweb revealed that the polls were not open at 8 a.m. like they were supposed to be. Cady then tried to contact OIT.

Upon receiving a message from Cady, Blanton contacted OIT staff to inquire about why the student government ballot had yet to go live. She found out that they had held off because the Elections Board had failed to secure all the necessary candidate materials and constitutional revision links.

Blanton said that following a conversation with her staff, the polls were open around 9 a.m. and she waited to close the them until the Elections Board had officially issued a resolution stating that voting had been postponed until Tuesday.

Like Peterson, Blanton said that it is her understanding that OIT had done nothing wrong concerning the ballot.
“If the link had been there, we would have been fine,” Blanton said.

Blanton said that anyone who voted Monday would be able to recast their ballot once the entire voting system is reset and the polls reopen Tuesday at 8 a.m.

While those who already voted cannot be identified because their completed ballots are created using a “dummy” ID in the Banweb system, Peterson said several ASPSU staffers will be handing out fliers and attempting to spread the word that in order for their votes to count students must recast their ballots.

Despite the nearly 100 votes being erased, Peterson is optimistic about the total turnout for the election.

“Honestly, I think this will actually increase the turnout because there is going to be campus buzz,” she said. “Students will be inclined to vote, especially if they are frustrated with how this administration handled things.” 

Student Fee Committee Chair candidate Johnnie Ozimkowski said that Monday’s events were disappointing for all student government candidates because they have worked hard to solidify their campaigns and are excited to assume leadership posts.

He also said that it reflects poorly on student government as a whole.

“It creates a negative ambience towards anything that happens in ASPSU,” Ozimkowski said. “It makes ASPSU look like a waste of time for a lot of people.”

Cady said he apologizes for the mishap and takes full responsibility, as he and Fisher suspected that the Elections Board might experience difficulties and did not act quickly enough.

“We understand that the candidates are frustrated, but we are being completely honest that we made a mistake,” Cady said. “We just want to ensure that students have a fair election.”

What to do
If you already cast a ballot, vote again at to ensure your vote is counted. Check back here for the latest information.
Polls open: Tuesday at 8 a.m. through Friday at 5 p.m. Closed through the weekend and open again Monday, May 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Results due Tuesday, May 12.