Online Student Union
Please feel free to discuss and criticize the possibility of an online voting system that could potentially replace or augment the current caucus system in place at Warren Wilson College.
11/27/07 - Completely recoded CSS and HTML for generating the discussion layout. Hopefully moving towards compatability with other browsers like IE and Safari. Added results/issue tab interface to discussion pages which allows users to view simplified poll results. Next update should improve this. Improved info page content. Created cut-off code for long issue descriptions.
A Mozilla-based Web Browser which complies with the ISO and WC3 conventions (unlike Microsoft's Internet Explorer) is required to properly view these pages. Browsing experiences may vary depending on the platform used.
Patience may be necessary beyond this point. This system is still in the development stage and may have flaws or inadequacies. If you notice problems, please discuss them within the Open Discussion area, or send an e-mail to the developer of this website if you are unable to access or post discussion.
Why Use The Online System?
- Accessibility is a key part of this system. Any student can log on at any time from any computer connected to the campus network. This contrasts heavily with the current system which requires that everyone meet in one location for a finite amount of time (usually one hour per week). This could lead to more overall caucus-related activity. Also, according to a personal survey, 9 out of 10 students who do not attend student caucus believe they would visit an online caucus at least periodically.
- Reliability of Results is a key issue, especially when considering the insecurities involved in web software. Because this website uses the existing campus login system, each student is ready to login now, and there are virtually no problems in making sure that each student only gets one vote per issue.
- Accurate Representation of the student body's opinion would result from a more accessible and widely-reaching method of sampling those opinions. It seems clear that a more broad range of student opinions would greatly outweigh a more narrow sample acquired from the student caucus meetings.
- Documented Discussion is an inherent feature of this online model. Everything that is said about an issue is recorded. Moderators of the system could update issue summaries with key information that is covered within the discussion. No one would be out of the loop. No voter would have a reason to make an uninformed decision.
- Flexibility. Discussions within the system could lead to democratic alterations to the system itself. The software was written with a powerful server-side scripting language called PHP that could provide numerous extra features, contributing to a more functional caucus.
- Equality. This website mimics the idea of a direct democracy. There is no resemblance to the Electoral College. Voting power is not constrained, awarded or revoked. It gives every student the ability to voice their opinion at their leisure. Each opinion is valued and considered equally.