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Elections Live Blog – Friday 27th – Final Day of Campaigning

21:51 – Voting statistics Analysed 

With the final election demographics in, we made a round up of all the statistics with a break down of each.

Voter turnout

The total number of votes came in at 57, 954. Although this overtook the 33,402 votes cast in 2013, we were unable to meet last year’s number of nearly 70,000 votes. This was hardly a surprise given that this year saw the election period reduced from 8 days to 5.

However, today saw a massive surge in voting in the last day of voting, with the number of individual voters increasing by 3,551 from Thursday morning to a total of 6,231. This came despite fears in the fourth day of elections of a low voter turn out. As a result, our statistics show us that over half of voters chose to wait until the last day of elections to make their mark.

Gair Rhydd editor Michael O’Connell-Davidson explained that the final number came as a “pleasant surprise” to the Union as “union staff were not convinced we would hit 6,000”.

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Votes by position

As perhaps can be expected, those running for Student’s Union President received most votes, with 5,099 cast in this category. This was followed by VP Education with 4,505 votes cast. Despite 12 candidates running for VP Welfare, it was only the third most voted for position, receiving over 500 fewer votes than VP Education.

We were surprised to see that the VP Postgraduate position received the least amount of votes of all seven sabbatical roles, despite receiving full support in this year’s AGM in favour of the role. The VP Heath position also received a low amount of votes in spite of the bus service set up by the union allowing candidates to campaign at the Heath Park campus.

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Voter turnout by gender

On Wednesday we reported that students who identify as neither male nor female failed to make a significant percentage to feature in the Union’s gender statistics. With the male and female statics accounting for 100% of the votes at the end of the week, it appears that this trend has continued.

According to Cardiff student Emrhys Pickup, the problem continues from last year: “Last year only one voted from the ‘Not Known’ category, whereas I know for a fact more than one non binary person voted. So many people are clearly being misgendered and underrepresented.”

SU President Elliot Howells commented upon the situation, explaining: ‘We are currently working with those students affected to gauge what the best route forward is.’

Looking at the total proportion of male/female statistics, the statistics match the larger proportion of female students at the University. As the NUS reports, currently the number of female students outnumber male at a ratio of 56:44, making the results a remarkably accurate representation of male and female students.

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Graduate/Undergraduate percentages

With 87% of votes cast by undergraduates, postgraduate voter turn out is in the clear minority. This is despite the creation of the new VP Postgraduate position this year after the 2014 AGM. It also suggests that some candidates were right to claim in their manifestos that postgraduate engagement in university life and societies needs to be addressed.

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 Votes by Departments

The Music department cast the largest amount of votes by a clear landslide, contributing over a third of all votes. This can perhaps be explained as two of this year’s candidates are current music students in this small school, with each year on average consisting of no more than 75 students.

The music department was followed by the Maths and Chemistry departments, who cast 28% and 27% of the votes respectively. Candidates from the Maths department include VP Societies candidate James Ledward and VP Education candidate Will McLoughlin.

On the other end of the scale, Postgraduate Medical students contributed to 0% of the vote, in-fitting with low percentage of postgraduate voters.

With some candidates attributing CARBS lectures banning lectures to low voter turnout from the department, it is interesting to see that business students cast only 13% of the vote.

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Voter Turnout by Year

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Despite talks with first years suggesting that they had ‘no idea’ about student elections, first years appear to be most involved with student politics, ranking first in terms of voter turnout. This was closely followed by second years with 33.6% of the vote, with foundation students trailing last at a slim 0.5%.

Turnout by Sports Clubs

We reported earlier in the week that Ladies’ Hockey Club lead voter turnout by a significant lead, noting VP Sports candidate Steph Pugh’s prominence in the club. This is a trend that continued throughout the election period with Ladies’ Hockey seeing the highest voter turn out. However, despite the Union’s Men’s Rugby Club previous position as second, with fellow candidate Sam Parsons’ involvement in the club, Men’s Hockey Club managed to secure the position as second highest number of voters on the final day of elections.

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Turnout by Society

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 21.46.03The Union’s pro-life society Students for Life secured the position as highest society voter turnout. This may have interesting consequences for the position of Women’s Officer. Other prominent voter turnout in societies include the Catholic and Operatic Society, with some candidates prominent members of both.

19:24 – Cari Davies weighs in

We caught up with last year’s SU President Cari Davies for her view of this year’s elections.

She explained that it was strange not to be “super involved” in the elections for the first time, after running for her first three years in Cardiff University.

As a spectator rather than participant of the elections, Davies described the campaign week as “quiet compared to the drama from the previous years”.

Last year’s controversies included current SU President Elliot Howells being banned for campaigning for three hours, after it was found that his campaign video had gone live before the official start of the campaign period.

Commenting on news discovered today that Cardiff graduates were able to vote in the elections after leaving University, Davies said: “I hardly I doubt it will make a difference. It’s hard enough to get previous students to vote.”

The news comes after candidates were reported saying they immediately “started making calls” following Gair Rhydd breaking the news.

cari

19:06 – Banned-idates investigated

With candidates earlier in the day reporting that professors were preventing lecture shout-outs, we decided to investigate further. According to candidates, lecturers from both the Psychology and CARBS schools stopped them from speaking, even threatening disciplinary action.

A Cardiff University spokesperson explained that whilst the University is ‘fully supportive of the Students’ Union elections and understands the importance of fully representing the ‘student body’, ‘students standing for elections are encouraged to check with lecturers ahead of campaign activities’.

However, they also acknowledged that ‘academics are asked to agree to reasonable requests for time to engage with this process during the campaigning period.’  This appears a far cry from the threats of the disciplinary action issued.

With VP Welfare candidate Daniyal Khan speculating on Twitter that preventing shout outs in the business school affected low voter turn out, questions are raised as to whether the University is indeed allowing elections to fully represent the ‘student body’.

Dom Dicks, VP Welfare Candidate, also took to social media to voice his concerns over the situation, claiming that banning shout-outs ‘deprives interested students from taking part in democracy’.

Talking to students, frustration was expressed about lecture disruption with one first year claiming it caused lectures to start “at least five minutes late”. Despite this, candidates continued to stress the positive reception received from the majority of students throughout the week.

18:20 – The icing on the cake 

Rounding down after a hard five days campaigning, Claire and Barney pose as they cut the celebratory cake. Despite an intense one-on-one competition between both the two, there are smiles all round as the day draws to an end.

 

18:00 – Candidates reactions

With elections at a close, candidates are feeling emotional. Tears have been shed, with VP Societies candidate Hannah Sterritt amongst others seen wiping her eyes after the final countdown of 2015 student elections.

Although feeling relieved, some candidates were eager to re-live the experience. “I wish I could do it again since now I know how I could have improved”, reported VP Candidate Felicity Holmes-Mackie.

According to those campaigning, close friendships have been formed over the five days of the elections with VP Laura Knight explaining: “I’m going to miss the candidates. Hopefully we can all plan a night out together next week.”

The results will be announced tomorrow, with the ceremony starting at 3:30pm. With competition running high Steph Pugh commented: “I don’t know what I’m going to do if I loose. You invest so much effort into campaigning.”

VP Postgraduate Students candidate MJ Melissen reported feeling “excited” yet “nervous” in anticipation of the results. According to the candidate, campaigning for a whole week makes you realise “just how much you care about the position.” Candidate for VP Heath Park Katey Beggan also described feeling “very nervous” ahead of the announcements tomorrow.

We caught the final moments of the election week on video for you.

17:00 – VOTING CLOSED

THAT’S IT, DONE! What a long, strange journey it’s been.

Our reporters will write back with quotes when we get them.

16:20 – Vote every day

It’s 4:20! And you know what that means! No, no, not that.

There’s only 40 minutes left to vote! Go on, do it, click here. Even if it’s to R.O.N. everyone.

16:00 – #gradvotegate continues

@cardiffstudents is in full damage control mode. Note that this tweet isn’t on the official hashtag.

MJ Melissen VP postgraduate candidate said: “I just got here in September so I don’t know anyone from previous years. I think that it should be current students voting, not postgraduate students.”

“It’s current students who are affected [by the elections].”

VP Heath candidate Chloe Richards: “Is it down to the University or the Union?” (It would be the Union, as they’re what these elections primarily concern)

“It may give others an advantage, but maybe not.”

Claire Wisener, VP societies, add: “At least they’ll know for next time.”

15:40 – Banned-idates: more news about students being banned from certain buildies

More reports about CARBS threatening candidates with disciplinary action and being arbitrarily “banned” from certain buildings have come in. Now PSYCH has joined the midst:

https://twitter.com/dom_d_/status/571308389562777601

Katie Beggan and her campaign team have also reported that she has been “banned” from Psychology.

We’ve spoken to people in Communications at the University and have requested comment.

15:25 – Cardiff Students’ Union has responded to #gradvotegate

15:10 – Live reactions to #gradvotegate

Felicity Holmes-Mackie responded first, saying:

James Clarke (VP Societies) and Tom Tollefsen (VP Postgraduate Students) swung by the Gair Rhydd office to give their reactions. Tollefsen said what we were all thinking: “finally, something exciting happened.”

Clarke and Tollefsen were sat with other candidates in the Taf. Clarke said that “as soon as we [the candidates] heard, everyone started making calls.”

Tollefsen added that it would have serious ramifications for some posts and candidates. “It would give some of the candidates a massively unfair advantage if they did the entirety of their undergraduate and postgraduate degree here.”

Speaking to Michael O’Connell-Davidson, editor of Gair Rhydd, Clarke said: “You’re a complete bastard, do you know that? That’s on the record.”

O’Connell-Davidson responded by directing us to an earlier tweet:

“We try our best.”

13:40 – Candidates forced onto low CARBS diet

Apparently, CARBS is being less than welcoming to candidates.

This is bad news. To quote a reporter in the field:

Business lecturers have been less than welcoming to candidates. Candidates have been refused from lectures and threatened with disciplinary action.

Disciplinary action? Really?

14:40 – BREAKING: Graduates can vote in elections

RON
The screenshot sent to us by a former student

Gair Rhydd received a tip this morning that graduate students can vote. By graduate students, we don’t mean postgraduate students (i.e. those studying on Masters courses), we mean former students who have graduated.

We have independently verified with two different individuals that it is possible to vote even if you are a former student.

We’ve reached out to the Students’ Union for clarification and will continue to investigate.

13:40 – Candidates forced onto low CARBS diet

Apparently, CARBS is being less than welcoming to candidates.

This is bad news. To quote a reporter in the field:

Business lecturers have been less than welcoming to candidates. Candidates have been refused from lectures and threatened with disciplinary action.

Disciplinary action? Really?

13:35 – Owen returns fire

Bryn Griffiths’ previously highlighted wall post went down as well as one might expect:

_3__Bryn_Griffiths

Campaigning doesn’t have to be this way, guys! Split it up!

13:30 – Negative campaigning rears its ugly head

Bryn_Griffiths

Bryn Griffiths has decided to throw his sole competition for the senate chair under the bus (with a wink on his face, of course) in a public Facebook post.

Bryn’s a nice guy. But it bears reminding that negative campaigning is typically more detrimental than anything else. Here’s a citation for you.

13:20 – Welcome to day 5!

IT BEGINS. Or, rather, it ends.

Today is Day 5 of campaigning. Candidates are set to cease campaigning at 5 as voting closes. We’ll be covering everything up to then and beyond – we can afford to be a little more opinionated and offer more analysis once voting closes. Look forward to that!

Our reporters are down at the Hodge, I hear. We’ll keep you updated as the day continues.

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