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Miami’s Web-based voting system explained

Many Miami elections are now done electronically via the Web. Each election has a nomination round followed by an election round. The single-transferable vote method of data analysis is used in both rounds of every election (see explanation below).

Before an election begins, qualified faculty receive an electronic mail message notifying them of the upcoming election and asking them to indicate whether or not they are willing to serve if elected. Responding to this request is very important. It is fast, and it ensures that voters will not "waste" votes on candidates unwilling to serve. It also helps move the election forward more quickly and saves resources.

After identifying those willing to serve, eligible voters receive an electronic mail message announcing the beginning of the nomination election round and inviting them to nominate candidates for the final election. By clicking on the Web link in the e-mail message, the voter’s computer is sent to the electronic voting booth. Voters are required to log in using their Miami UniqueID and MUnet password in order to provide the correct ballot to the eligible voter and to prevent double voting. A list appears of those willing and eligible to be candidates. By clicking on candidate names, a voter selects and rank-orders those he/she wishes to nominate or elect. The voter is given a final opportunity to review the rank-ordered votes before submitting the ballot.

Once the ballot is submitted, it is irretrievable. The votes are stored separately from the list of voters. It is impossible for anyone to know how any individual voted. The single transferable voting method is automatically applied to the votes cast prior to the deadline for both rounds. Election results are sent to all voters and are also available on the University Senate Web site. A faculty member oversees these elections and reports directly to the governance committee and the Senate executive committee.

Date Published: 11/07/2002
Volume: 22   Number: 15

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