On April 28, Executive Vice President of Associated Students Christopher Theung released a series of guidelines for remote club elections to members of Inter-Club Council (ICC). These guidelines are intended to help clubs that plan to hold remote elections for the new officers that will be taking over in the fall.
The guidelines contain recommendations about conducting an online election from planning to execution, including checklists, things to consider, and resources for voting. An example is also provided at the end of the document as a reference.
“The guidelines were based on our experiences with in-person election, but translating it into an electronic form while still keeping the theme of keeping everything democratic,” said Theung in a Zoom call.
Even though elections are done remotely, it is important that they are kept democratic and transparent, and that advisors are present, Theung explains.
The concern with remote elections, however, is ensuring voting confidentiality, according to Student Affairs Advisor, Carrie Afuso.
“We thought we could use Google forms, but then it’s possible to track email addresses of people who submit,” explained Afuso. “We’re trying to figure out SurveyMonkey, or something, you know, that is confidential, that way folks can feel comfortable casting their votes.”
Afuso suggests that the easiest way to solve the confidentiality issue is to have students email their votes to the club’s advisor and have their advisor act as the neutral party.
Another concern that may arise from remote elections is students’ participation.
Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS) is an Honors Society club in PCC that typically holds elections to elect new officers. The club is planning to hold a remote election this year as well to elect future board members before the end of spring semester.
Alpha Gamma Sigma’s (AGS) current president, Brianna Proud, is concerned about the possibility of not receiving a large enough number of applicants for the club’s upcoming election.
“I think the biggest thing for me is being able to find a variety of people that we can choose from,” said Proud. “Versus it being kind of like, ‘well, only one person applied, whether they’re good or not for the position.’ I want to see options. I want to see people engaged and involved. Of course, that can be hard at this time, but that’s all I can hope for.”
Technological insecurity may also be a factor that keeps students from participating in elections. It may be a challenge for students who have limited access to the internet or do not have a laptop or smartphone to participate in an election, according to Theung.
There is also no telling what is going to happen or whether students are going back to campus in the fall, and Afuso is concerned that students may shy away from taking leadership roles due to the unknown.
“I would tell folks that we need you now more than ever,” said Afuso. “I’d really lean into it and step up to it and we’ll be there with you every step of the way. Election’s really just one small piece of it, but really, to tell folks to not be afraid to run and to lead your club, and hopefully, they will.”
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