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Candidate hacks online school government election to cast fake votes in his favor

Candidate hacks online school government election to cast fake votes in his favor
  • A candidate running for the president of Berkley High School in California had cast fake votes for himself by hacking into the school district-issued email accounts of over 500 of his classmates.
  • Gaining access to their Gmail accounts became very easy as the Gmail accounts were issued with default passwords that include each students’ ID number.

What is the issue - A candidate running for the president of Berkley High School in California had cast fake votes for himself by hacking into the school district-issued email accounts of over 500 of his classmates.

Worth noting - John Villavicencio, the school’s director of student activities, became suspicious when one candidate started receiving hundreds of votes the day before the election was to end.

The big picture

Barkley High School in California conducted an online election to elect an eligible president and vice-president for the school. This was the first time an election was conducted online via a Google form, which was accessible by the students using Gmail accounts that were issued to the students by the district.

However, gaining access to their Gmail accounts became very easy as the Gmail accounts were issued with default passwords that include each students’ ID number.

The day before the election was to end, one particular candidate started receiving hundreds of votes. Upon suspicion, Villavicencio and Robert Ezra Stern, a senior who serves as the school's commissioner of elections, investigated and uncovered that fraudulent votes were cast from the same computer and in alphabetical order.

What was the immediate action taken?

The candidate who cast fraudulent votes in his favor was disqualified from the election.

The school’s director of student activities said that the school officials believe in ‘restorative justice’ therefore, a discussion circle with all the candidates will be formed and the students who committed fraud will apologize and ‘work to directly repair the harm that was caused’.

“The students in question need to reflect upon what they did and why it was so bad and they need to do that in a public way,” Villavicencio said.

Who won the election?

The students who ultimately won the election after the fraud was uncovered, was president-elect Lexie Tesch and vice president-elect Daijah Conerly. They both said that they were upset that someone would try to win by invading other students’ privacy.

“I don't want him to get expelled. I do believe in second chances after someone has learned their lesson but I don't think getting disqualified is enough for him to learn his lesson,” Tesch said.

While Conerly said that “he should at least be suspended because he betrayed his school and his classmates.”

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