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Wednesday February 7, 2001

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Students must use online voting service

By The Wildcat Online Opinions Board

ASUA is using technology to combat a debilitating weakness of today's youth: voter apathy.

ASUA elections commissioner, Joe Rodgers, along with ASUA President Ben Graff, have worked with the Center for Computing and Information Technology (CCIT) to establish an Internet voting program for this year's ASUA elections.

It is now up to UA students to take advantage of ASUA's guinea-pig innovation and get involved in this year's student government election.

While primary elections do not take place until late February, students have the chance to test the new system with mock candidates beginning today and ends Feb. 17.

Because of this service, UA students have no reason not to vote in the ASUA election. Online voting enables students to vote regardless of where they are. By accessing, and supplying their student identification and pin numbers, they can vote for the ASUA president, executive and administrative vice president, and 10 ASUA senators.

They do not have to go to a special campus polling place. They merely have to get to the Net. Students can literally roll out of bed, punch a few keys on the keyboard and participate in UA's democratic process.

Last year only 3,000 students voted - this is less than 10 percent of the UA population. But online voting can help turn this around, and there is evidence to prove it. Stanford University's voter turnout in student government elections soared to 50 percent after online voting was implemented. The same can happen here.

This new service will not only enable more students to vote, but it will prove student government is accessible. By voting, UA students can help decide who controls ASUA. In doing so, they have a say in who controls club funding, special campus events and a slew of other ASUA.

ASUA is trying something new to encourage voter turnout. UA students ought to take advantage of it.