A CASE STUDY OF TAITA TAVETA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
JOMO KENYATTA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY
Most institutions of higher learning such as universities and colleges world over provide for an electioneering process where students elect their union leaders in a democratic manner. This is of great importance as it inculcates the principle of democracy into the students who are at the peak of their learning stage. Proper management therefore is called for to provide foolproof processes which can be termed as free and fair in the standards of universal democracy and employment of Information Technology is a sure wayto realize this. Online voting is the application of web based technologies to the automation of voting processes. In online voting a voter cast their ballot from a remote terminal that is connected to the central database where actual processing of the ballot is done. Online systems have the advantage of providing convenience to the voter and reduce the time wasted in the queuing process at election centers. This paper describes a research carried out at TaitaTaveta University College, a higher learning institution in Kenya and the process undertaken to achieve development and deployment of a web based system topromote free and fair democratic electioneering process: computerizing registration, voting and tallying process involved. The system described is in form of a portal that is embedded on the Universities website. The system was developed using the incremental prototyping due to the adaptive nature of web based applications and the system proved that a computerized solution is possible with elimination of human related faults that are a commonplace in employment of human clerks to manage the election process.Integration with SMS functionalities helped increase safety and reliability of the system. Application of the online voting has resulted in many advantages in the efficiency of the entire electioneering process and reduced costs the university used to incur using the human clerk mechanism.
Elections form a critical process in democratic systems and application of information technologies to their management is a great milestone towards realizing effectiveness and efficiency not only in the results of the election process itself but also in the financial implications that come up with the process. At TaitaTaveta University College, one of the public institutes of higher learning in Kenya,computerized management of student union elections was called for due to the shortcomings in the ‘human clerk ‘electioneering system. The college had an overall enrolment to the tune of 2000 students majoring in diverse disciplines of study. Student Union elections within TaitaTaveta University College had been faced by various challenges given the variations in reporting and academic year cyclesas in the lead of the list. The College had three academic year calendars i. January to August
This lot of students report early January and break for their long holiday late August At the time of the study they were 800 in number
ii. September to April
This team of students had their academic year starting early September and broke off for their long vacation late April. They were at the time of the study approximately 600 in number. iii. May to December
This group of students reported early may for their commencement of academic year which ends Moreover, the university had students enrolled in Diploma and Certificate Courses who followed a different academic cycle.
As a result no special date could be fixed to accommodate all the students. Moreover the traditional voting system could not be counted upon given the drawbacks in terms of collusion between the electronic officials and contestants, the queuing time, delayed results, overworked tallying officials...
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iii. Interim independent Electoral Commission, 2012, Interim Independent Electoral Commission, Nairobi, viewed 29th September 2004, http://www.iiebc.org.
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viii. October 2002.  Institute Policy Institute, “Report of the National Workshop on Internet Voting: Issues and Research Agenda,” Proceedings of the 2000 Annual National Conference on Digital Government Research, 2000, pp.1-59.
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