Would York University students exploit Labour’s new loophole? asks Sam Fugill
At every general election since the genesis of our concrete home, students have had to decide which party deserved their vote the most. During this election, the choice was broadened to constituency, as well as party, due to many being registered at home and at university.
Urged by the University and Students’ Union to vote to re-instate the Labour incumbent in the marginal Selby constituency, many students were also pressed to place their vote back at home (“Why not come home for the evening dear? Your father and I would be absolutely thrilled to see you…”).
Would York students vote twice? Would they enter into fraud aided by the postal vote? No. Students, when faced with politics, break into one of two classes. Neither of them would actually place two votes.
The first class was that of the militant fanatics. They had placed their vote, donning an indecently large rosette, and hit the campus campaign trail by nine o’clock in the morning. Such was the loyalty to their party that they could not knowingly place an additional fraudulent vote for them, nor could they spare the time for such activity during the last frantic hours of campaigning. They were doing democracy, and were proud of it.
The second class was that of the apathetic. Many people whom I spoke with during the election campaign didn’t know who they would vote for and were unconvinced that their vote would make a difference. One of my friends remarked “Why vote for anyone? It only encourages them!”
Immersed in such apathy, it seemed unlikely that many students were going to place one vote, let alone make the effort and take the risk to place a second. I really cannot see that students, whether they blindly march to the beat of their political party’s drum or whether they could not care the slightest about the election, would go to the lengths to place a second vote.
It highlights a worrying administrative failing that it is so very easy for students to place more than one vote. It is especially worrying that the University had automatically registered all on campus to vote, with no regard for whether or not they were already registered in their home constituencies.
Whilst the University did the right thing by encouraging all students to exercise their democratic right, they seem to forget that they are helping to lay the way open to electoral fraud.
A system should be judged on what could happen, rather than what does happen. One just has to be thankful that the students of York do not seem to be the types to exploit such an opportunity.