As YUSU’s 2021 election nears its end, the stats are out: despite voter turnout lower than expected, some societies and colleges have drawn notably ahead in the race for voter turnout.
As a percentage of members voting for each College, Langwith’s vote is sitting at 21%, a remarkable 7% higher than second highest Goodricke.
This may be explained by the high-profile YUSU Presidential election, with the two challengers to Patrick O’Donnell’s re-election campaign, Luke Mason and James Harrison, both members of the College, with Harrison recently completing his term as President.
Currently, it is unclear whether Mason and Harrison have split the Langwith vote, or whether students even vote along College lines.
In fact, ten of 47 candidates hail from the college, making up over 20% of applicants.
Despite the Langwith lead, O’Donnell currently has the official support of five of the eight undergraduate colleges.
James Harrison, meanwhile, has secured the backing from both the Langwith and Constantine Presidents.
In the election for Activities Officer, the high turnout of UYLC (54%) will be encouraging for Sophie Kelly, who was Labour Club Chair for 2019-20, and received their endorsement.
Similarly, Alex Potts may be pleased to see a 100% turnout from DougSoc, a society dedicated to celebrating “the life and achievements” of Douglas Adams, of which he was Chair.
It is currently unclear what impact the 67% turnout for Salt Tasting Society will have on the overall election results, although Gaelic Football, Canoe Polo, and Social Policy and Social Work Society can also boast incredibly impressive 100% club turnouts.
However, more generally, the rapid decline in voter turnout may be concerning for YUSU.
With just 2,391 unique voters, just 10% of the university population have cast their ballots so far, marking a 13 point fall from last year’s elections.
That being said, voting closes on 12 March, so there is still plenty of time for students to participate in this year’s elections.
On top of this, YUSU has been incentivising students to vote with rewards, giving away seven £20 Dominos vouchers to voters in this year’s election, and the University further pledging to donate 75p to charitable causes both on and off campus.
Ultimately, we will see whether these measures have been enough to increase voter turnout – a major goal for this year’s election, according to the Student Union’s Democracy and Campaigns Coordinator.