Friday, 6 March 2009

HUU Elections 2009 - the results (with a twist)

The last day of voting and the announcement of the results were both very eventful. Naturally, there was a lot of tension and when each result was announced, there was a huge amount of emotion shown. Amongst the chanting and the tears though, we now have most of the team that will be in charge of the union for the 09/10 academic year.

A note about the presidential election
The following quote is from a statement made by Kat Docherty, the returning officer for this year (the full statement can be found here):
"During the course of the elections, a number of complaints were received by the Returning Officer regarding a particular candidate for the position of President. Some of these complaints were upheld and the decision made to exclude the candidate from the elections."
The disqualified candidate (several reliable sources told me it was Jamie Scudamore), has appealed the decision and there will be an Election Appeals Committee meeting that decides who becomes President next year. As a result of this I will be posting the result of the Presidential election in an extra (fourth) entry about the elections.

The results
VP Welfare
Alice Marshall910

VP Community (final round results)
Ben Wilcox681
Katie Beth-Hardy350
Andrew Corless331

VP Education (final round results)
Chris Marks530
Mark Tyson398

VP Sports (final round results)
James 'Wayne' Kerr930
Nathan Webster921

Chair Scarborough
Darius Navickas249
James Nicholson221

Chair ISA
Line Kristensen543
Joe Kitanosono156

Chair Media Committee
William Langdale518

Chair Campaigns & Democracy
Basit Mohammed530
Kaveh Azarhoosh409

Other winners
There were several other positions up for grabs during the elections. One very intersting election was for the position of Chair RAG. In the final round, Ellen Hinsley won by just two votes. It's also interesting to note that after the first round she was only leading by three.

Some of the other elections only had one human candidate and the Re-open nominations option, so it was almost certain who would win that. For example, that happened in the case of Disabled Students Chair (won by Stephen Lee), the Male Chair of LGBT (won by Daniel Horner) and the Chair of the Mature Students Committee (won by Luke Howard-Pask).

Comments on the results
I find the result for the VP Education election very interesting. Chris Marks has managed to repeat what Richard Jackson did in last year's elections by winning despite having no experience of the area he's going to be in charge of. Hopefully, the students thought his policies were good enough. I also have to mention that Mark Tyson wasn't helped by his campaign team being absent most of the time. I have mentioned in a previous post that this was disgraceful. If you don't have a noticeable physical presence at election time, you're going to be disadvantaged.

The VP Sport election was incredibly tight (nine vote difference). I think that has to be one of the closest results for a full-time officer position in a number of years.

The picture above shows Nathan Webster (runner-up in the VP Sport election) doing some karaoke with some of the winners (I have to point out that the choice of song was incredibly clich├ęd), which shows in most cases, elections were cleanly fought and people were friends afterwards - which is nice to see. It's just things like the presidential election which casts a shadow over everything.

Voter turnout/apathy
This was something that really impressed me. The turnout was 3087 and that is a 58% increase on the previous. Congratulations have to go to the union for improving it by that much. The biggest change to the voting setup was using the university portal as a login method, so I assume the decision to use that helped improve the turnout.

Another important figue is what the turnout is as a percentage of the total student population. According to the university website, the number of student scurrently stands at 19,818. Assuming that there were no people who opted out of union membership, that means 15.58% of students voted.

While that is still an impressive figure both compared to previous years and compared to other unions, it still means that the majority of students didn't vote. It means that next year's UEC still have work to do. However, it is always hard to get rid of student apathy. I can't see anything like 90% turnouts anytime soon.

Summary and Conclusion
This election has been 'mixed', to say the least. While most elections have been fought cleanly, things like the presidential election have caused considerable controversy and tarnished the outcome. The turnout was great. Also, many candidates performed well, despite not having that many posters or a physical presence.

Another thing to note is R.O.N. Although in some cases that option was removed in the first round, a surprising number of people voted for it. That has both positives and negatives. It means that more people are willing to engage with the political process, but it also means that they are prepared to delay things. Having said that, if it means the best person gets chosen for the job - it's a good thing.

So, what do you think?

Technorati tags: HUU, Student Unions, Election, Politics


Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that Chris Marks, while he doesn't have experience in the HUU rep system, has had experience in other institutions and there does have some relevant experience in what challenges face him ahead.

Whether he will draw upon that, time will tell. However, I do think that he will carry out what he promised in his manifesto, and while I don't agree with most of his views, I wish him all the best, as with the other candidates.

Now... there is that little matter of who the president will be...

John Wilding said...

Doesn't surprise me that things got dirty. A lot of resentment in there.
It is a shame that Mark got let down. If I was a student, I would've helped him out, he's alright. A shame he didn't win, too. I think he was the best candidate there. That said, I was the best candidate last year, and I came last. Being the best doesn't mean jack in a popularity contest. When will they learn that being popular doesn't make you a success?

John Wilding said...

I don' have any beef with Chris, but Mark is better.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day your not advewrtising for a manager position its a political election, Chris had something to say, a much clearer and stronger message and students responded to that. Marxists very rarely win popularity contests afterall.

John Wilding said...

They do in Hull.