Process should be flawless

Election officials said students don’t count votes, that way the results can be as unbiased as possible.

“The machines count ballots,” said Ranaldo Allen, senior senator and acting chair of SGA’s Elections and Appointments Committee.

“We count the number of signatures to make sure they match the number of ballots cast.”

Catherine Jefferson, senior university union program specialist and adviser to the Electoral Commission said there haven’t been many problems in the past.

Jefferson, who has worked in the position since 1993, said the process is modeled after the city and county elections.

“It’s a good process,” Jefferson said.

There are many safety measures that are taken to ensure every student has the right to vote.

Khia Johnson, precinct supervisor for Tucker Hall, said trained volunteers check student identification cards to identify whether students are at the right precinct.

Electoral Commissioner Tiffany Cartwright said this year they have requested that people who are non-partisan work at the polls along with trained student volunteers.

Allen said the need for outside workers comes from past rumored problems about students voting more than once.

Many election officials said trained volunteers help out on election day; however, precinct supervisors are the only ones touching ballots.

Allen said precinct supervisors make sure each student receives only one ballot to avoid ballot stuffing.

Johnson said after students vote, they slide their own ballot into the ballot machine.

The machines that are used are from the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office. City workers come out to set up and program the machines in the morning. At the end of the day, they come back to read the results.

Jefferson said the precinct supervisors read the results from each precinct. Then, each precinct has to count its signatures.

Allen said two people from the E&A committee have to be present.

One member from the executive branch, who is usually chosen by the SGA president; one member of the judicial branch; the entire commission; the director of Student Activities and two SGA advisers.

Jefferson knows many of her students are active in other organizations. She also understands that sometimes the students who count the ballots have close friends who run for offices. However, she said she knows that the students in these positions have outstanding integrity.

“It’s a line and they know not to cross it,” Jefferson said.

“If they do, they will be dealt with.”

In future elections, Allen and Cartwright are pushing to have a closer eye on the polls by having video cameras at polling sites.

“If anybody thinks of cheating, they’ll think twice,” Allen said.

Contact Carla Jones at