Elections rules – OTR, for one, is bored already with them, and there’s still 2 weeks to go until campaigning begins. Still, candidates would do well to take good note of Returning Officer Brett’s rules and regulations. I’m sure no-one wants to suffer the consequences of jumping the toilet advertising gun, or commit the most tempting of sins and fire out that mass email.
But a quick peruse of the official YUSU Elections Handbook throws up some interesting contradictions.
“Everyone will be talking to people, have posters, stickers, badges, Facebook groups, flyers and t-shirts so how are you going to make yourself stand out?”, asks a section on page 24 entitled ‘Tactics’. Interesting – and how are T-shirts going to be costed, is OTR‘s first query. For the record, the official budget is now £35, a £5 rise on last year.
But then, on the very next page, OTR reads:
9. Publicity must be printed at the YUSU printroom, the use of other printers will lead to disqualification.
Now the big question, surely, is “What constitutes as publicity?” Because, as far as I am aware, Your:Print doesn’t do t-shirts. Or, indeed, posters larger than A0, that some candidates might choose to print themselves on campus printers, and stick on large pieces of card. The grey area grows with every example.
Candidates in previous years have used such larger-than-life posters, OTR even heard of Rory Shanks almost getting arrested for stealing broken down boxes from a Tesco loading area. Others have used clothing of debatable legality daubed with election slogans or surnames – how does this ‘publicity’ fit inside clauses 8 and 9 of the Rules and Regulations.
The answer, of course, lies with Bretts – who I’m informed won’t be back on campus until Week 8. Ultimately, he will decide what is ingenuity and what is illegal. Interestingly enough, he most certainly benefitted most last year from the ruling that made cardboard posters made from “illegally” printed sheets of paper legal. One wonders if it will be the same this time around. OTR eagerly awaits the first showdown…
In other news, a helpful candidate pointed OTR in the direction of perhaps Tom Scott’s magnum opus of micro-management – his beautifully presented 2009 Elections Report, which he compiled post-Elections last year.
It’s essential reading for any would-be winner next month. Of particular note are the stats showing voter turnout and voting trends.
Page 6 shows the answers – Derwent leads in terms of turnout as a percentage of population, but the college’s actual potential is ultimately dwarfed by Halifax’s 30% turnout, at three times the size – sew up the Halifax vote and you’re halfway there. On the other hand, Wentworth is an untapped mine of votes; crack that college and a flood of unrealised potential is yours.
The breakdown by year (also on page 6) surely reflects the impact of online campaigning; despite the huge numbers of posters in kitchens and across campus, first-year turnout is a disappointing 10% lower than that of third-years. However, it could also be argued that most of the candidates are in their final year.
Then, for all those planning a final flourish during voting week, think again. Page 7 is a stark reminder that the election is won and lost during Week 8, with almost half the votes being placed in the first few hours of Monday morning, Week 9. If you’re slow off the mark, it might be game over.
And one last word of wisdom from Mr Scott: “There were also allegations of campaigners interfering with rival candidates‟ publicity,” he concludes, before stating that it is “difficult to prove given that it‟s impossible to legislate for Acts of Porter or Acts of Drunk Student.”
Well there you have it then, that’s the way to win: Buy your campaign team a few crates of Special Brew and let the havoc commence.
That’s only a potential idea IN MY OPINION, mind.
A few final remarks. Roberto Powell has declared his official intentions to run – OTR suspects a Presidential bid. Also – candidates are reminded that nominations are all done online this year.
OTR was sat in the YUSU Reception late on Monday afternoon when a confident David Levene breezed in. “Can I have an application pack please?” he piped up, beaming from ear to ear. The YUSU staff member looks non-plussed. Levene’s smile is unwavering: “An application pack, for a nomination?”
“It’s all online” comes the reply. “Oh. Oh. Oh right, yes, of course.” Of course, David, of course.
Sign-up online at http://www.yusu.org/election/nominations
Gossip and rumours to [email protected]
The opinions expressed above are not representative of either those of Nouse, or of YUSU. They are the speculations and personal views of the author who is not a member of the editorial team, and should be treated as such.