The Catholic University of Eastern Africa student leader’s 2017 elections were held on March 31, and run online for a second time in a row.
Voting open at 9 am in the morning and all registered students were allowed to vote even from their mobile phones.
As they voted, the results were trickling in minute by minute till the end of the voting period where the final results were immediately available.
In previous years on an election day, counting of votes would go on till the wee hours of the following day and it was at times marred with outcries of rigging and such malpractices. Indeed on the voting day University business ran as usual as the over 3500 student voters did so at their comfort.
Speaking during the announcement of the winners, Rev. Dr. Pius Male the DVC Admin, Finance and Planning lauded the online system for making the election process so smooth and devoid of glitches.
All a student needed was to connect to www.vappsio.com to verify their details. On the voting day the University computer Labs were open to all students to vote. However, voting was also done from their personal devices i.e., Laptops, tablets, smart phones and desktop computers at their convenience.
The system was pioneered by a group of Computer Science students in 2015 and subsequently used for the 2016 student’s elections successfully. The students and the administration were thus more comfortable with it in this year’s election.
Phillip Munene, Allan Macharia, Victor Karanja and Sheila Anyango were the brains behind the system. Most of these students have already graduated.
To ensure security, student’s personal data is sent and stored in an encrypted format for extra security and privacy. Once a student has voted, the system locks them from any further access and hence ensures the integrity of the voting process. The system has multi-step authetification and combines the use of a student’s mobile number, student number and email address.
Most of those who used it appreciated it and have congratulated the team that designed and developed the system. It made the students elections efficient and convenient. The results of the elections can now be easily accessed through this link https://vote.vappsio.com/vote/results.
These students have also developed a polling system (Poll Brand) that was used to run the Nganya Awards in 2016 among other events. This can be downloaded for free from Google Play. The University elections system is attracting attention from other academic institutions.
In 2016, the online voting system was noted by the Association of African Universities (AAU) and highlighted in their bulletin of March 4th (http://goo.gl/eJYt8v).
In Kenya, only Africa Nazarene University conducted their elections electronically in 2015. However, this is a common feature in student politics in Europe and America.