Voting this year in the CCSU Sabbatical Officers elections were seriously low, with only 1543 students voting.
Out of all of the 16,440 students at Canterbury Christ Church University covering both Canterbury and Medway campuses less than 10% of students voted.
Us here at UNIfied are trying to find out why so few students have participated in this years elections.
One major factor might be that there are three unopposed positions which are Union President, President of Development and President of Sport and Engagement.
This isn’t to say that the candidates running in those positions are not fit to stand but some voters may find it difficult to judge them when there is no one else to compare them to/vote for.
I spoke to some students who did not vote from the Canterbury campus to find out why they didn’t.
I only really saw them on social media
Second year student Rosie Hedges believes the candidates could’ve done more to get themselves known by the students.
She said: “I only really saw them on social media and posters around uni though, I never had anyone physically come up to me in Uni to talk about it, so maybe they didn’t do enough.
“whats the point in voting if they didn’t have competition to go against, clearly not enough people wanted to take part similarly to the fact that hardly anyone voted.”
Another student who did not participate in the vote is Alex Overill she also believes the candidates could’ve reached out to more students.
“I knew absolutely nothing about any of the candidates, I feel like none of them actually went out of their way to put across what they’d like to do for the uni, the only things I saw were in club chemistry and obviously wasn’t something I was going to do whilst intoxicated.”
After an exhausting week, all candidates should be proud of the amount if votes gained and effort they have put in.
However, current President of Development and Union President candidate Becky Thompson believes that the candidates should be proud of the hard work they all put in whilst campaigning.
She said: “This election saw a record low turn out of candidates. This is potentially for many reasons outside of the control of the SU, however, with lower amounts of candidates (roughly 60% on previous years), the physical resources I.e. campaign teams, are therefore fewer.
“This means that candidates have less reach in terms of student body. Although, contrastingly, Medway campus saw a record turn out this year, nearly tripling last years voters and doubling the current record of 75 votes overall.
“This is due to candidates visiting the site personally and engagement throughout the last year.
“The amount of votes also significantly increased on day two of voting when all candidates were on campus, demonstrating that they have all exceeded expectations of numbers by sheer effort.
“After an exhausting week, all candidates should be proud of the amount if votes gained and effort they have put in”
Current Union President Phil Kloppenburg believes that the timing of the elections have played a part in people not voting.
“It could be the time of the year, we moved the elections forward a couple of weeks this year to match with Kent Union’s election period to attempt to have a joint approach to campaigning in Medway,” he said.
“This meant that after the winter break there was a very small window for candidates to nominate themselves Another reason could be due to a transition in engagement from the Union,” he added.
“This year we have really tried to engage students that haven’t traditionally always engaged with the SU. This has resulted in a couple of students that do not belong to either a sport or society running in these elections but may have also resulted in a reduction of students running from those engaged groups.”
“Another issue is both a positive and a negative, the strength of our engaged student communities. With sport teams and societies being such a close knit community generally people know who is going to run for the position way before the nomination period, this puts people off running as they don’t believe they can beat that person.”
There are many factors as to why students did not vote in this years elections. But, we hope to see the percentage in students participating not only in voting but in running for these positions improve in the years to come.
Make sure you come along to the results night tonight at the Students’ Union from 7pm.
If you can’t make the results don’t worry as we will be covering the event with a live-blog and a live-stream.
Good luck to all the candidates with the results tonight.