The University of Wisconsin Associated Students of Madison announced a low voter turnout rate Thursday, with 3 percent of students voting in the election.
"We foresaw a low voter turnout, considering this was the third election attempt, and we were forced to resort to a paper-ballot system," ASM Student Election Commission Chair Tim Leonard said in a release. "Though the numbers were low, we thank students for supporting their candidates and getting out the vote in this election."
Others agreed the low voter turnout was directly attributed to an SEC decision to use a paper-ballot system for the elections.
"It's the third time running the election. [Students] had to go to the voting place … as opposed to going to any computer in the world," ASM Chair Eric Varney said.
ASM officials were forced to convert to a paper ballot after two failed elections. The former online-voting process was abandoned after officials from ASM and the UW Division of Information Technology discovered flaws in the online-voting system.
Leonard added that students were apathetic toward the third election partly because of a lack of convenience. Voters were able to choose from six polling locations, including both Unions, College Library, Grainger Hall, Van Hise and Steenbock Library.
Online voting in the past has resulted in far higher voter turnout. Varney said participation was as high as 11 to 12 percent last year and 18 percent two years ago. In fact, an estimated 22.4 percent of students voted on the two UW referendums during the first round of failed online ASM elections; however, the results of the referendums have since been thrown out.
Despite paper ballots, SEC officials said there was still the possibility of a minor error involving one of the ballot boxes.
"We're going to tabulate the votes and investigate some things," Leonard said. "The issue we had did not affect the integrity of the election."
Leonard added ASM would release a report on the possible error.
Still, considering voting dilemmas, ASM officials were happy the election was now behind them.
"We think it's over. We're glad it's over," Varney said. "It's been a long process."
ASM is expected to reveal preliminary results of the election Monday.