FAQs

11. Can you expedite a replacement ballot so that my vote is received on time?

A voter may request a replacement ballot until May 10, 2019. ESC will make best efforts to accommodate any special request to have a ballot package sent by express courier. The voter should allow three or more business days for the postal service to deliver the ballot back to us to make the deadline. You may also vote online either through the email invitation or with the unique election validation number (EVN) on your paper ballot and the ballot site address (provided on the buck slip included within).

12. What is the procedure for issuing and tabulating replacement ballots?

A voter may request a replacement ballot until May 10, 2019. ESC will check the database to confirm that the requesting party is an eligible voting member. If the name does not appear in the voter database, ESC will contact Harvard to confirm the voter’s information.

Upon verification, ESC will mail the voter a new ballot. The voter’s record in the database is flagged as having been sent a replacement ballot. If the ESC processing and tabulation systems detect that a voter has mailed back two ballots, the first ballot received will be counted.  Replacement ballots must be...

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13. How are the votes tallied?

ESC utilizes a proven optical scanning process to record votes and automatically check for duplicate ballots. At the close of the election, all remaining ballots are processed and the election team conducts a final quality review. Only the Chief Technical Officer and a limited number of designees are authorized to tabulate the results.

The final post office pickup will be on May 21, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT), the election deadline. During the tabulation process, the software examines each ballot to ensure that the voters have followed the voting rules. ESC’s tabulation systems have been scrutinized by the Department of Labor, the Carter Organization, and other various client auditors. Final certified results will be provided to Harvard University after the close of the election.

14. Why is a unique identifier needed? Are you tracking my vote?

As each vote is entered, the database records the ballot selections along with the ballot identification number. To prevent a second vote from entering the tabulation system, this number is tracked in a "previously voted" file and cannot be used again. This ensures only one vote per eligible voter. Each ballot contains a unique, tamper proof, modulus-10 check digit number (unique identifier) to guard against tampering and duplication. The captured vote is encrypted at the time of receipt and will be deencrypted on the day the ballots are tabulated.

16. How does ESC authenticate voter’s identification?

ESC security employs multilevel authentication, the same technique used by financial institutions and online stock trading companies. A voter is authenticated by the combination of a unique election validation number (EVN) and additional personal information known by the voter.

17. How does ESC protect voter anonymity?

The voter’s identity and actual vote selection are separated in a manner that prevents them from being rejoined. This measure guarantees that neither the election host nor a third-party can determine the way in which a voter voted.

18. How does ESC assure “one person, one vote”?

Each eligible voter is assigned a unique identifier-the election validation number. Once a vote is cast, the identifier is “consumed” in the system and not available for reuse. Any subsequent attempt to vote will be automatically rejected.

20. Are the ESC voting systems protected against failure?

All ESC internet and utility connections are redundant, and more than one communications service provider is used. All hardware is replicated with full redundancy. The web servers and application servers are arranged in “farms,” which are load balanced for best performance. If any piece of equipment fails, the others will service the load until the failed device is returned to service.