Unable to successfully install an updated online voting system by Thursday's 12 p.m. deadline, the Student Election Commission postponed the referendum portion of the Associated Students of Madison election until 8 a.m. April 3.
The new deadline was part of a plan the commission passed Wednesday to reopen the elections after they were suspended when a "technical error" was discovered in the online voting system.
The error potentially prevented some students from casting votes for multiple write-in candidates and also provided some students the incorrect number of votes they were able to cast for certain Student Council seats.
However, Department of Information Technology officials assured the SEC Wednesday that they were "as certain in this one as in any other election" that the technical errors did not affect the referendum section of the online election. Voting for the referendums will run from the morning of April 3 until 8 p.m. April 4.
"Unfortunately, there was an error, and we still have all the data. Nobody has messed with it or looked at [it] or anything," DoIT Senior Programming Specialist Brian Rust said Wednesday. "We've identified it and we have what we think is a fix, but it has to be tested, and we need to have it run by members of ASM so they can validate it."
Partially based on those assessments, the commission decided to split the election into two parts and only save votes successfully cast for the two referendums on the ballot.
The commission set two deadlines for when to reopen the referendum section of the election, contingent on when DoIT could successfully create and test a new voting module with the error corrected.
When DoIT was unable to complete the task by Thursday's 12 p.m. deadline, the election commission was forced to choose the second deadline to reopen the election.
The candidate elections are still scheduled to reopen 8 a.m. April 5 and run until 8 p.m. April 7.
During Thursday's meeting, the SEC passed a measure granting each official candidate running for a Student Council seat $40 to buy campaign materials to inform potential voters of the new Student Council seat election date.
During Wednesday's meeting, some Student Council candidates confronted the election commission, saying candidates wasted their own money distributing campaign information listing the now incorrect dates to vote.
In a memo given to the election commission, DoIT also promised to provide candidates with free e-mail list services to send out information on the new dates for the vote.
While SEC members Thursday reiterated the sentiment stressed Wednesday that the election commission made the "best solution possible" given the difficult circumstances, many groups on campus disagreed, including one of the election commission's own members.
During Thursday's meeting, SEC member Polly Pfeiffer voiced her disapproval with the election committee's decision.
"I feel strongly we made the wrong decision yesterday," Pfeiffer told the commission, particularly criticizing the decision to split the election into two parts.
The Student Labor Action Coalition filed a formal complaint against SEC Chair Tim Leonard with the Student Judiciary, alleging that by originally suspending the election, he far exceeded his authority. The complaint calls for Leonard's dismissal and the dissolution of the election commission.
Though not formal complaints, Student Council candidates Zach Frey and Sree Atluru also filed motions against the election commission with the Student Judiciary. The two candidates filed a petition for review, alleging there were due-process violations with the SEC's decision to split the election and only save the ballots cast for the initiatives.
Student Judiciary Chief Justice Nick Fox said that while criticisms against the constitutionality of the SEC's decision contained "legitimate arguments," it does not mean the commission's decision was unconstitutional.
"When it's the most constitutional option versus an option that's still constitutional, it's not necessarily an 'either/or' [question]," Fox said. "Yes, option B is constitutional, but if option A is also constitutional, who's to say SEC should've chosen one over the other?"
Fox said the Student Judiciary would hold a special meeting Saturday to begin considering the petition for review.