YUSU Elections: the agenda

YUSU elections are on their way and they will run across the Spring term, up to week 7. Nouse, URY and YSTV will cover it all:  from nominations (weeks 1-4), through campaigns (weeks 6-7), up to the very end with a results night party at Hendrix Hall (week 7).

Nominations for candidates are now open and will close at 5pm, on Friday 3 February (week 4). Candidates can either nominate themselves or be nominated by students or staff. The roles are divided into three categories: Full-Time Officers, Part-Time Officers and other roles.

YUSU will support all candidates through the process. In particular they must attend a briefing and workshop on campaigning rules. These cover election budgets, activities which are allowed for both online and physical campaigns, use of publicity materials and public spaces, relations with student media and some more bureaucratic issues.

Physical campaigning will entail the placement of cardboard signs around campus, whereas online campaigning will involve social media communications and ‘60 second manifestos’ on YSTV.

The electoral system is still the single transferable vote (STV) with the possibility of re-opening nominations, as it was last year. In STV, voters rank as many candidates as they wish in order of preference.

To get elected, candidates need a simple majority of votes; if no candidate obtains this in any given round, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the contest, with their voters’ next preferences being taken into account. This will repeat itself until a candidate gains the requisite simple majority.

During week 6, once the nominations have closed and candidates have been briefed on election rules, the online campaigning may start. Coinciding with this, YUSU and media societies will run a ‘hustings week’ from Monday 13 February, which starts with the Part-Time Officers’ interview on URY that day.

On Tuesday 14 February, Nouse will release the final list of candidates within its supplement on the YUSU elections, where each of the candidates for the five Full-Time Officers’ positions will be profiled.

Eventually the Full-Time Officers’ debate will take place, after which voting opens and candidates will be allowed to commence physical campaigning around campus.

YUSU elections have a history of comical campaigns, such as Tom Scott’s campaign in 2008. Scott, who went on to win the YUSU presidency, campaigned on the ‘Golden Duck’ ship as ‘Mad Cap’n Tom’ in a traditional pirate dress, complete with eyepatch and stuffed toy duckling on his shoulder.

Finally, week 7: the voting will close at 5pm on Friday 24 February. The results will be announced in Hendrix Hall, which will be broadcast live on YSTV, followed by the after party in Courtyard.

YUSU’s aim this year is to increase voter turnout to 30 per cent, up from last year’s 28 per cent. YUSU President Millie Beach detailed a number of methods to achieve this in the coming election cycle:

“Throughout voting week, YUSU will be out and about in our YUSU on the move gazebo. We’ll have iPads with us so you can review manifestos and vote. There will also be initiatives and promotions in YUSU bars.

“Brace yourself York students, the cardboard is coming.”