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Ballot bug patched on first day of voting

WSUSA’s student voting officially opened at midnight on March 12. Less than 12 hours later, the first irregularity with balloting popped up. A handful of students were able to vote in any Senate election, not just the ones for which the voting student is a constituent.

(Harrison Epstein/The Signpost)
(Harrison Epstein/The Signpost)

The bug came up only when students attempted to vote on their mobile phone. Students who used were directed straight to the Canvas page for Student Elections with no restrictions — there was no sign-in prompt.

Dr. Jessica Oyler, the Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives, set up the elections and coordinated with a Canvas administrator to set up the online course.

“Due to a bug in the Canvas, for a short period of time this morning, 30 individuals were able to vote without logging into Canvas. Those votes will not be counted because the students did not log in. If you logged into the app or via Canvas, your vote was counted,” Oyler said in a statement.

“This only occurred if you were not prompted to log in. The bug has been resolved, but if you were one of the 30 individuals who voted, please log in at or visit your Canvas courses page and cast your ballot under your login.”

While the bug has been fixed in the system, Oyler and her team are unsure of how the glitch occurred and are looking into it. Because there was no way of knowing who the 30 votes came from, Oyler has no way of contacting the individual students to let them know their votes are invalid.

This is the second straight year that the Canvas balloting system led to an issue. In the 2018 elections, then-Diversity and Unity Vice President candidate Weston Lee was left off the ballot for an unspecified amount of time.

According to Oyler, the issue last year related to the student report used by Student Affairs. The report was not properly updated to reflect the present student body. Despite the mishaps, Canvas still allows easy of access for elections.

“Canvas truly seems to be a pretty robust and accessible platform for elections,” Oyler said. “We’ve absolutely seen participation in elections grow because it’s a system that students are used to using.”

Oyler has been in contact with Tara Peris-Caputo, the Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, and elections chair Clinton Yingling abut the issue. Voting will end at noon on March 14. Winners will be announced the following night at Weber’s Got Talent.

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