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University of Illinois Accused of Disenfranchising 450 Students

A student group has alleged the University of Illinois at Chicago of disenfranchising nearly 450 students during its past spring student elections.

In a statement put out last week, the UIC Student Justice Coalition said that the two-day student election process that was held electronically was marred with errors, resulting in incomplete ballots and some students being denied the ability to vote.

Elections were held to vote on the student representative for the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, the undergraduate student government president and vice president, undergraduate student government representatives, members of the student senate, and a referendum on student fees.

The coalition was created after candidates and concerned students met after the elections to discuss the problems experienced during the voting phase.

The investigation found that the issues were mainly faced by international students and those in the UIC Global program. The scale of the voters who were affected as a result of the errors was only known after a full report was obtained from the school’s IT Department.

“The investigation found gross negligence in the administering of the election. It has been found that the process is unconstitutional according to the Undergraduate Student Government Constitution. The election does not reflect a free and fair democratic process,” the Coalition said in a statement.

“Furthermore, the process lacked an open process of judicial review to address issues. It is because of this that we conclude that the UIC April 2019 Student Election and its results are illegitimate.”

When the collation sent a request to the Dean of Students’ Office to comment on the voter disenfranchisement, officials confirmed that some students were left out of the voting process.

“We discovered that in the University student system, Banner, the coding of non-degree students did not allow them to vote for the Undergraduate Student Government and Student Senate positions,” the Dean of Students Office said in a statement. “In the future, a correction will be made to allow undergraduate non-degree students to vote for all positions on the ballot.”

The Coalition is urging university leadership to take action on the matter and to ensure free and fair democratic elections.

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