With 2,500 votes cast, the 2016 Autumn election saw a near doubling in voter turnout compared to last year.
With 46 positions up for grabs, the most competitive election was for the NUS delegate, with 13 students running for 9 positions. NUS delegates represent UCL at the National Union of Students Annual conference which decides “the national policy, priorities and direction for the student movement”.
In addition to being the most competitive election, the NUS delegate also received the most votes out of any election, with 486 valid votes being cast. Sohail Badat, whose manifesto promises to tackle issues such as racism, mental health and lack of “equal opportunities” in education, was the voters’ “first” choice for NUS delegate.
The positions which received the least student interest, with just two votes being cast in both elections, was STARs (Student Academic Representatives) of the Facility of Life Sciences and Faculty of Population Health Sciences (Undergraduate). Interestingly, the STARs position which received the most votes was the Faculty of Population Health Sciences (Postgraduate), which may suggest a differing level of interest between younger and older students in university politics and government.
This year the election for the hall representatives was much more popular than last year, with 10 representatives being elected. Last year only John Dodgson elected a representative and he ran unopposed. This increase in interest may reflect the success of last year’s ‘Cut the Rent’ movement, which could be seen as having politicised a large part of the student body.
This year there were several new positions added to the Autumn election, such as “LGBT + Committee Asexual Representative”. These positions did not seem to attract a large amount of student interest with LGBT + Committee Asexual Representative receiving just 4 votes.
The addition of these new positions is the main reason for the number of votes almost doubling from last year. In fact, when you examine the numbers more closely, it looks like student interest in university politics has actually waned. The average number of votes per position dramatically decreased from last year from 94 votes to 53.4 votes per position.
The next set of elections will be taking place in Spring 2017.
Featured image: UCL Blogs