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The polling period for Michaelmas campus elections has been extended by two days this year.
Lancaster students will now have until 4pm on Friday Week Eight to cast their vote for 24 Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) Cross Campus Officer positions, as well as for various positions of student representatives in their respective colleges.
LUSU Vice President (Events and Democracy) Olly Trumble relayed to SCAN the reasons for such extension. The decision was made by the Elections Committee after considering the growing number of postgraduate and international students. A longer polling period is expected to improve electoral participation by these groups of students.
“Many students are unaware of elections as the voting period is quite short,” Trumble explained. “Some students don’t have time to vote and some candidates, particularly on the PGSA [Postgraduate Students’ Association] find it difficult to campaign if the voting days fall outside of their available time due to considerably high work load.”
Trumble also hoped that a longer polling period would give the team running the elections more time to resolve any technical problems.
“The extension will ensure that any technical errors that are out of our control will be dealt with swiftly. We will also be thoroughly checking the data entry and try our best to ensure there is minimal opportunity for human error,” he added.
However, Trumble mentioned that the Elections Committee do recognise some problems that may arise from the extension, such as candidates overworking during the elections period.
He said: “We are taking proactive approach to consider potential issues surrounding the extension and are looking at ways to mitigate these issues. For example, candidate workshops will be structured in a way to encourage candidates to use effective time management for their campaigns.”
The nomination period and campaign period remain unchanged. Nominations will be open until 5pm on Friday, Week Seven, with the campaigning period commencing from the weekend after candidate meetings, and going on throughout Week Eight. The Elections Committee will review the polling period extension after the elections to measure its impact.