IIM Ahmedabad successfully conducts first online student election

CoolAvenues Newswire | August 01,2013 01:34 pm IST

 IIM Ahmedabad on Wednesday, 31st July,13 took a crucial step towards implementing technology solutions for campus activities, with the successful conduction of the maiden online elections for the institute’s various first-year student body posts. The elections, conducted by the Students’ Affairs Council – the elected student body of IIM Ahmedabad, involved first year students voting to select candidates for various portfolios such as cultural representative, batch representative, sports representative etc.

for first year students of IIM Ahmedabad.

 

Elections in IIM Ahmedabad have historically been conducted by the pen-and-paper ballot method, where voters had to manually enter their preferences on a ballot paper to cast their vote. Despite the advent of EVMs, the institute chose to stick to this antiquated format for various reasons, including the absence of a robust and reliable online alternative that the students could use. This method was highly time consuming, as election monitors had to manually count and verify each ballot cast and consolidate the results often leading to time delays in the announcement of results. The online process does away with the manual element by automatically counting cast votes on a real-time basis. The results are thus computed dynamically and there is little scope for tampering. The present system was a result of months of hard work put in by the Computer Centre Committee (CCC) of IIMA, the body responsible for providing innovative IT solutions to institute issues. Said Anil V, Secretary for IT Infrastructure “


The online system is a reliable, secure method which prevents problems such as inordinate delays, manual errors and more importantly voter fraud. Perhaps the most unique thing about this system is that the voters can cross verify (using a secure online link) whether their vote has been cast to the correct candidate post the voting process. Thus the system introduces a significant level of transparency in the entire process while maintaining voter privacy.”

Elections in IIM Ahmedabad follow the ranked choice voting system, where the candidates contesting are ranked by the voters according to their preference order. There is also an option to select “None of the above” in case a voter is unconvinced about any of the candidates. The first year elections held on Wednesday consisted of candidates vying to be elected by their batch-mates for multiple positions such as batch, cultural, sports and class representatives. The elections, which concluded at 9 pm, saw an astounding 95% of the batch turning out to vote, the highest in the history of student elections at IIM Ahmedabad. Sreejit Nair, General Secretary, IIM A Students’ Council attributed this high turnout to the implementation of the new format as well as enthusiasm in the incoming batch -“I believe that the high turnout percentage is testimony to the success of a participatory decision making process that we follow at IIM Ahmedabad student affairs. Anil and his team were able to provide an efficient way to channelize this enthusiasm through technological means with the result that we were able to record such huge turnout.”

 

The election results were announced at 9:30 pm in the presence of the candidates and the SAC members. The successful conduction of the elections would be the first in a series of many steps that the CCC has planned to digitize various functions at the institute.

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