Computer plan leads to delay in student vote

April 10, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

It seemed like a logical idea.

Plans were in place for University of Maryland Baltimore County students to use their personal computers today to cast ballots in a student government election. The school's student government election board was setting up a World Wide Web site with voting information.

But some students objected, and the controversy has brought a two-week postponement of the election.

Elias Darraj, chairman of the Student Government Association (SGA) election board, said the on-line plan has been abandoned for this election, but he is researching campus opinion about introducing it next year.

Voters would have been able to log on using either an e-mail account or Social Security number and a personal identification number.

"The Student Government Association didn't think we had done enough preparation to show that students wanted to vote this way," Mr. Darraj said. "There was some concern from women's organizations that women wouldn't be properly represented because they don't use the Web as much."

The SGA vice president, Kia Davis, said concern was raised that computer hackers would be able to tamper with the voting or gain access to students' Social Security and personal identification numbers.

Jack Suess, associate director of University Computing Services, said votes would have been encrypted to prevent tampering.

Pub Date: 4/10/96

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