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JCR Elections for Fylde and Cartmel colleges were postponed in Week Eight following an error with the initial set up for the e-voting process. Due to this, the elections in both colleges were re-run on Tuesday Week Nine.
An emergency Union Exec meeting took place on Thursday Week Eight, where it was decided that the Chief Returning Officer should be asked to step down from their position for this election. Subsequently, the Chief Returning Officer decided to hand in their resignation, whilst the LUSU Vice-President (Academic Affairs), Danny Ovens, will be Acting Chief Returning Officer for the remaining elections.
This action was taken in order to ensure that the elections run by the Students’ Union are accurate and fair. The Chief Returning Officer is responsible for the conduct of elections; therefore the failure to execute a “fair transparent and robust mandate” has resulted in their resignation.
Stephen Smith, Chair of Elections for Fylde, said that the candidates were “disappointed, but very helpful and supportive.” He stated that students taking part in the elections were using their time leading up to the second election wisely, by distributing more posters around campus to advertise the re-election.
Smith also pointed out his concern that as a result of the postponement of the election, there may be criticism of e-voting when it is not the e-voting process which has posed the problem. According to Smith, it was an accidental human error that caused the problem with the online voting and “we have realised the need for additional checks when we run elections.”
Although the problem with the initial election has resulted in a second taking place in Week Nine, those in charge have recognised the error and have ensured that the problems occurring during this elections have become apparent and will not happen again.
Smith suggests that there will be “training of officers” and “further changes to elections over the next few months which should hopefully lead to the enhancement of democracy within our union and a strong encouragement in getting involved.”
Many are concerned that the lack of success for the first election will affect the turnout for the second election. This would have an obvious consequence on the number of votes for each candidate and cause controversy concerning the number of voters in the first election. However, the increased awareness in the wake of the controversy surrounding the postponement could lead to an increase in voters. Nevertheless, Smith is hopeful that there will be a 10% turnout, which is considered average for a by-election, therefore not affecting the candidates’ votes.
The other by-elections held in Week Eight for LUSU Part Time Officers and for college JCR Executives went as planned.
Graduate and Lonsdale did not have any elections or by-elections this time round, the results for the other colleges are as follows:
Bowland Female Sports Representative was won by Alice Lamb. In the by-elections the position of Magazine Editor was won by Mel Morris, Equal Opportunities Officer was won by Emma Slaven, General Secretary was won by Lauren Heeley and one available position for Social Secretary was won by Lauren Vandewalle.
In County, the position of Male Sports Representative was won by Matt Holdcroft and Female Sports Representative by Timna Freeman. Green Officer was won by Charlotte Wilkins, and the position of Women’s Officer by Jennie Grayson.
In Furness nobody stood for the positions of Male and Female Sports Secretaries, so people will be co-opted later this term. Furness also had elections for Social Secretaries, to be run for as a pair; Kate Utton and Ellen Clayton were uncontested, and won the position.
For Grizedale the two Sports Representative positions were won by Chris Geoghegan and Corinna Kloess. In the JCR executive by-elections the position of Communications Officer was won by Daniel Willis; Female Education and Welfare Officer by Holly Johnson. The new Social Secretary will be Lily Hales, and the position of Vice-President was won by Emma Cheetham. International Officer was won by Velislava Dotseva.
In Pendle the positions of Male Sports Representative and Female Sports Representative were won by Ben Holden and Susann Kern. The position of Magazine Editor was won by Suzanne Kane, the position of Publicity Officer was won by Matthew Berry and the position of Disabilities Officer was won by Sarah Evans.
The results for the Part Time Officers are as follows: the two Student Trustee positions were won by Erin Royale and Ashutosh Kumar. The new University Council Representative is James Davies; Chair of Elections was won by Emily Blanchard; Chair of Student Media Board by Matthew Power. The position of Chair of Social and Events Group was won by Bex Hamilton; Welfare Campaigns Officer by Ros Ballinger; and Chair of Equality, Welfare and Diversity Council by Kevin Wong. Science and Technology Faculty Rep was won by Jonathon Hayton and the position of Chair of Sports Executive was won by Matthew Neve.