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  UT Home -> Office of the Dean of Students -> Campus-Wide Elections -> Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the voting system that we are using?
    Campus-wide elections have moved to a type of ranked-choice voting, known as single transferable vote or instant runoff voting, depending on the type of election it is being applied to. This voting system allows voters to rank all candidates in order of their preference. Each student's vote is initially applied to their most preferred candidate. As votes are counted and candidates are either elected or eliminated, the single vote is transferred to other candidates according to the student's preferences. This system eliminates the potential for runoffs or "wasted" votes for candidates who would be eliminated or elected with or without that student's vote.
  2. What is Single Transferable Vote, or STV?
    Single Transferable Vote is a voting system for multiple-winner elections (for example, Student Government elections for representatives for a particular college or school, where candidates are running to fill multiple seats). In STV elections, a student's vote will initially be applied to their most preferred candidate, however if that candidate has already met the quota to win one of the available seats, the vote will be transferred to the next candidate according to the student's preference. The candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated, and those votes will be transferred according to the students' preferences. This process will be repeated until all the seats are filled.
  3. What is Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV?
    When Single Transferable Vote is applied to single winner elections (for example, Texas Student Media elections for The Daily Texan Editor-in-Chief, where candidates are running to fill one seat), it becomes Instant Runoff Voting. In IRV elections, a student's vote will initially be applied to their most preferred candidate, however if that student's most preferred candidate would not receive enough votes to participate in a runoff, the student's vote is transferred to their next most preferred candidate. This process is repeated until a candidate is elected.
  4. Why did Campus-Wide Elections change the voting system?
    On March 1, 2018, Student Government put forth a referendum to the student body to implement a Single Transferable Vote System. The referendum was approved by the student body, with 72.97% of the votes in favor of the change. With this clear support from the student body at large, the Office of the Dean of Students moved to amend the campus-wide election code. These changes were approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs and President to go into effect for the Spring 2019 campus-wide elections.
  5. Can there be runoffs?
    No. The Instant Runoff Voting process means that if a student's most preferred candidate would not receive enough votes to participate in a runoff, the student's vote is transferred to their next most preferred candidate. This process is repeated until a candidate is elected.
  6. How do I use the voting system?
    Each student will log into Hornslink through utexasvote.org with their EID to see the campus-wide election ballot items available to them based on classification, college or school, etc. For each ballot item, the student voter will rank as many or as few candidates as they want, in the order of their preference. This means that a student who does not want to vote in a particular race can choose to rank none of the candidates. A student who only wants to vote only for their most preferred candidate can choose to rank only that candidate. A student who wants to take full advantage of the Single Transferable Vote can choose to rank all candidates in order of their preference. Until the student clicks Submit My Vote at the end of the ballot, the votes are not counted. The student may go back and change selections until they click Submit My Vote at the end of the ballot.
  7. What happens to my vote if I do not rank all candidates?
    For each ballot item, the student voter will rank as many or as few candidates as they want, in the order of their preference. This means that a student who does not want to vote in a particular race can choose to rank none of the candidates. A student who only wants to vote only for their most preferred candidate can choose to rank only that candidate. If a student chooses not to rank all candidates and only ranks their most preferred candidate for a particular race, that vote will only be applied to the selected candidate. In no circumstances will that vote be moved to another candidate.
  8. How will technical issues be addressed?
    Office of the Dean of Students and ITS teams are prepared for a wide variety of challenges related to casting ballots. The most common issue is EID password or login. If a student does not know their EID password, or gets locked out, they should contact the UT Service Desk. All students will receive an email when voting opens with contact information for the Office of the Dean of Students for any ballot-related issued experienced during voting.
  9. How are voting results calculated?
    Election results are calculated for certification through STV calculator programs. The Office of the Dean of Students will calculate and verify the results.
  10. How do we certify results?
    Verified, duplicable results and process are reviewed against the campus-wide election code in certification.