Reports emanating from Junior College on election day have said that some students have been barred from voting for who the next KSJC will be made up of.
Various media houses and also the student organisation Pulse reported on the apparent barring, which seems to have been due to students having damaged student cards. A provision was put in place for those students who were initially barred from voting to return to Junior College to vote between 4pm and 5pm, although this newsroom is informed that not all those barred students managed to fulfill their right to vote.
With voting closed at 5pm, the official turnout for the election was of 1,341 students – or rather 77% of the student body.
Pulse: Situation easily avoidable if school administration checked student registry
Asked by this organisation why students were not being allowed to vote, Pulse vice-president Owen Grech said that some students were prohibited from voting since the college’s barcode readers could not scan their students cards, and that instead of simply checking the registry; the college simply stopped the students from voting. Grech said that more than 10 students had approached Pulse saying that they had not been allowed to vote, and that a couple of those didn’t get to vote between 4pm and 5pm, as they were allowed to do, as they had other commitments.
The Yuppie asked Grech if an online voting system, which was rejected for these elections in KSJC’s AGM last week, would have avoided such a situation; but Grech made no mention to the online system in his answer, instead saying that the situation “could have been easily avoided if the administration checked the registry instead of doing such nonsense and stop students from voting.”
Asked what measures they were expecting to fix the situation, Grech said that he wanted to see better communication with organisations and authorities leaving student activism to flourish. He noted once again that the situation could have been easily avoided if student cards were of better quality or if the student registry was used.
SDM: An online voting system would have helped a lot
The same questions were asked to SDM, with President Neil Smart Costantino confirming that some students had not been allowed to vote due to the barcodes on their student cards not being read by the school’s scanners. He also confirmed that “a few tens” of students had been affected by this situation.
Asked whether an online voting system would have helped to avoid such a situation, Smart Costantino replied in the affirmative, saying that with such a system in place the student card wouldn’t be needed at all.
On what measures could have been employed to rectify the situation, the SDM president re-emphasised the need for an online voting system, but also noted that if the students were indeed registered at the school, their ID card numbers should have been used to check the school’s registry and hence allow them to vote.
Police presence was also reported at Junior College from the morning of election day, with no less than six policemen being seen on site, along with two Assistant Commissioners being seen inside school grounds.
Students speaking to the portal Lovin Malta lamented that this over-kill for what was a student election, and some even said that such things were actively trying to “kill” student activism as a whole.
The announcement of the final results are expected late on Friday night.
Questions sent to the KSJC Electoral Commission about the students barred from voting remained unanswered at the time of writing.