Service with a smirk

By the

February 8, 2001

A bureaucratic miscommunication, a confusing ballot and now, a vote under a cloud. Sure, that is a typical November in Palm Beach County, but unless questions are answered about last Friday’s student activities funding referendum, it could also describe a February in Georgetown. What went wrong? Who is to blame? What should this mean to the fate of a proposal slated to go before the Board of the Directors in less than a month?
Saxa server administrators, those running the web presence of the all online referendum, must answer these questions.
For the first half hour of the referendum, voters were asked a question different from the one agreed upon by the GUSA assembly and the authors of the Funding Board proposal. The wording that appeared on the ballot implied that students were voting on a tuition increase, which was not the case.
The blame for the confusion rests squarely with the Saxa server administrators. They admit choosing expediency over accuracy in not checking that the question they posted resembled, let alone matched, the one sanctioned by student government officials.
Election commissioner Will Cosmas (CAS ‘01) will file a complaint against the Saxa server administrators. With the mistake identified and the finger pointed, it is time to assess the damage and move on.
In less than a month, the organizers of this initiative will go before the Board of Directors and attempt to pull off the greatest coup in student government since Campaign Georgetown 1992. Can they do so now with confidence? Or will they have to get by with bluster? Is the credibility of the student funding proposal fatally undermined?
Thankfully, no. Questions need to be answered. The credibility of the results could only be improved by a transparent investigation into the effects of the different questions on voter behavior over the course of the whole day.
But this is not Florida. The margin of the referendum was not less than a percent but greater than seventy-five. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal, and that is why the funding proposal need not lose an iota of confidence.

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