The boys are back in town

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The Student’s Union Full Time Officer elections held in Week Eight saw the highest student voter turnout on record, with 2733 students voting for the new LUSU President.

21% of the total electorate turned out for the elections held over Thursday and Friday of Week Eight – 38% up on last year’s elections, where 1,938 people voted. The turnout in undergraduate was 30.45%. The most popular election was for the LUSU President.

Recorded figures for the elections participation dates back to the 2004/05 academic year when the turnout was 2,506 – a figure that has gradually declined since. This year’s elections have the highest recorded turnout.

The vote in the colleges was also up on last year, with Fylde, Cartmel and Lonsdale all having over 30% of the college turn out. Though Cartmel had the largest percentage turnout at 38.2%, no candidate from that college was elected.

Fylde had the second highest college percentage turnout, and had two candidates from the college elected – George Gardiner for LUSU President, and Olly Trumble for Vice President (Events and Democracy). Isobel Davies, who was also in Fylde, stood for Vice President (Equality, Welfare and Diversity), but was eliminated in the second round.

Lonsdale had the third highest college percentage turnout, and had three candidates from the college elected. Matthew Power is the new Vice President (Media and Communications), beating Nick O’Malley, a fellow Lonsdalian, to the post.

Alex Carlin was elected Vice President (Academic), and Marc Handley, current Vice President (Sports) and Lonsdale graduate was elected as Vice President (Activities). Kevin Wong, also from Lonsdale, lost out to County’s Matt Saint for the position of Vice President (Equality, Welfare and Diversity).

Next year’s Full Time Officer team will now be the first all male group for over 20 years. The role of Women’s Officer, which guarenteed female representation was removed in the 2008. Of the 16 candidates who stood in this election, only one was a woman. In other words, 93.75% were male.

Graduate increased its percentage turnout this year by almost 150%, with 4.96% of those eligible voting in the elections.
All the candidates were praised by current Vice President (Finance, Events, Democracy and Societies) Matt Windsor, and Chair of Elections Officer, Emily Blanchard.

Windsor said: “I want to extend my congratulations to all this year’s candidates for getting this far […] You’ve all had two weeks of a hard slog, and I’m glad you can all say that no matter what happens in the results, you’ve all stuck at it to the end and no-one can take that away from you.”

Blanchard added: “You’ve [the candidates] all done so well, and you’ve engaged with the students amazingly.” Praise also went to the college chairs, with Windsor calling them “professional and effective” and saying he felt confident future elections would be as successful “with people like this involved”.

“Since taking up office in January, they’ve been thrown right in at the deep end and we’ve coped with a massive shift in election rules”, he added, speaking on the reforms to way elections are run, specifically the introduction of critical campaigning.
Windsor also wanted to congratulate the media teams and college officers for all their work. “I think what we’ve seen so far has set the precedent for next year’s elections,” he said.

A notable aspect of the campaign period was a campaign to vote re-open nominations (RON) for President, run by Lancaster University Against Cuts. The group opposed both candidates for President, due to their stance on tuition fees. The campaign – which largely featured posters of the Harry Potter character, Ron Weasley, and defacing of other candidates’ posters – faced a lot of criticism.

402 people voted RON in the President election, a significantly higher number than last year’s 306 in Robbie Pickles’ uncontested election for President. However, the percentage of people who voted RON was lower than last year, due to the increased voter turnout.

Image by Elliot Westacott

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