Election campaigning costs

Photo credit: TCPON

MOST STUDENTS noticed the display of cardboard on campus over the week of campaigning for YUSU, though more has been spent on campaigning than many might believe. The full-time officer candidates were allowed to spend £40, £20 of which would be reimbursed by YUSU, and a further £20 of their own money. With the 13 candidates this meant that up to £260 of YUSU money was potentially spent on campaigning  materials, with a total cap of £520 for campaign spending. The part-time and non-officer roles were allowed to spend £30, with £15 reimbursed by YUSU and further £15 from their own money. With 14 part-time officer candidates and 11 non-officer role candidates, this would mean up to £375 of YUSU money would be spent on campaigning with a cap of £750.

This means that up to £635 of YUSU money was given to candidates for buying campaign materials, with a grand total of £1270 being available for the candidates to spend. Since much of the cardboard was destroyed quickly during the campaigning period, it is questionable how effective this spending was. Academic Officer-elect James Hare told Nouse that not much of his cardboard survived the week of physical campaigning: “My team lovingly painted around 100 pieces of cardboard, some of them more spartan than others. By the end, only around 20 had survived, having fallen prey to the weather, workmen, and my inability to cable tie them securely. The money spent on the paint for them could definitely have gone to a better use.” One PTO candidate also told Nouse that: “Of the designated sites for putting up cardboard, the one on Hes East in between Goodricke and Langwith was the most ineffective, as it is the windiest part of Hes East with little to affix cardboard to, meaning that most of it got blown down.”

Most of the candidates received cardboard freely and a clarification was received by candidates that cable ties and other materials to affix the signs would not be included, meaning that most of the money was spent on paint, posters, and online advertising. Concerns about online campaigning have been raised by some. Overspending on Facebook advertisements, for example, would be more difficult to prove as opposed to physical campaign materials

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