Jun 15, 2021

Online Voting Firm Stands by Results of GSU Elections

GSU President Gisèle Scanlon was announced as the next president of the GSU on Saturday.

Cormac WatsonEditor
Cormac Watson for The University Times

Mi-Voice, the voting company that handled the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) elections, has said that it has “no problems to report” with the union’s election, after the Postgraduate Workers’ Alliance raised concerns about how it was conducted.

An email containing the results, sent by Mi-Voice to the GSU and seen by The University Times, aligns with the official results released by the union on Saturday.

In an email statement to The University Times, Simon Thomson, the director of Mi-Voice, confirmed that there were “no problems to report” with the union’s election.


However, confusion has arisen around the list of postgraduate students that Mi-Voice used to authenticate voters, and whether it was GSU President Gisèle Scanlon, a candidate in the election, who provided the company with the data.

Thomson told this newspaper that, while Scanlon had initially provided the company with the list, a second data set of names was sent directly by Academic Registry to Mi-Voice, which was then used in the election.

But Jennifer Pepper, the Director of Academic Registry, has contradicted this account, saying that Academic Registry never provided Mi-Voice with students lists, and had instead given them to Scanlon.

In an email statement to The University Times, Pepper said: “As per the request from the President of the GSU, the Academic Registry provided data for all postgraduate registered students (PGT and PGR) for the 2020/21 academic year, as each is eligible to vote in the election.”

“The information was released directly to the President of the GSU by Academic Registry via HEAnet secure file sender. The data was provided under the TCD-GSU Data Sharing Agreement.”

Pepper added that, according to the TCD-GSU Data Sharing Agreement, the data could be used to assist the union in carrying out its elections, and that Scanlon had agreed to this.

The agreement states: “On receipt of the personal data, the GSU is responsible for and must implement appropriate technical and organisational security measures to protect the security and confidentiality of the personal data.”

Pepper told this newspaper that the Academic Registry “did not engage with Mi-Voice directly as we do not have a Data Sharing Agreement in place with them as a third-party service provider”.

“All data was transferred from Academic Registry directly to the President of the GSU only. Access to the transferred files were strictly restricted to the GSU President on the basis of her login credentials & the file encryption password which was shared only with her.”

Thomson did not respond to multiple requests to clarify the confusion around who provided Mi-Voice with the lists of students.

Scanlon also did not respond to a series of questions from The University Times, such as whether she had offered to recuse herself from this process in light of the fact that she was going to be running in the election.

Questions around the election arose soon after Scanlon was announced as the winner of the presidential race on Saturday. The Postgraduate Workers’ Alliance, an influential lobbying group that has consistently clashed with Scanlon throughout the past year, said that it would only “conditionally” accept the results of the election.

The alliance demanded that the GSU release the “original results of the election” and “provide evidence that all voters were verified GSU members”, as well as hold an EGM to vote on the impeachment of Scanlon as GSU president.

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