Several class representatives were wrongfully deemed elected this year, due to technical difficulty with the newly implemented online voting system.
A small number of classes were affected, according to a press statement released by Sadhbh Brennan, Chair of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council, who cited “unforeseen technical difficulty” as the cause of the errors. Students from the schools of Engineering, Computer Science and Statistics, Nursing and Midwifery, and Medicine piloted the online voting system this year.
The online voting system was developed by two Computer Science students and one Engineering student over two years. TCDSU Council’s press statement about the errors said: “The developers were confident in the system and had reassured us of its competency.”
Speaking about the issue, Daniel O’Reilly, one of the system’s developers, said: “This is unequivocally not the Electoral Commission’s fault. [They] approved a trial of a brand new system…We had run lots of smaller trials running up to this, but this particular issue could have only ever been discovered in a trial of this size.”
TCDSU’s press statement said: “This is very disappointing for us as a Union, as we had been working towards an otherwise highly successful election period.”
The Union informed the affected students “as soon as was possible”, the press statement said, and “have put the necessary steps in place to ensure they are supported”.
“Sadly, this is a discouraging outcome for them, and certainly the last thing we wanted to happen. We will be heavily monitoring our use of online voting in the future,” the Union stated concluded.
The online voting system had been mooted at TCDSU Council for several years as a method of increasing student engagement and preventing voter fraud.
Two of the online voting system’s developers, Daniel O’Reilly and Matthew Henry, will be making an “exhaustive” presentation at the first TCDSU Council of the year about the system error.
TCDSU claim to have recorded the highest ever number of nominations for class representatives this year, with 790 undergraduate students putting their names forward to sit on Council. Several positions remained unfilled, so the first student from any class with a vacant position to email their interest to the Union will automatically be elected.