The Recent SU Rep Elections from a Candidate’s View and Experience. What Do You Think ?
Aaaaah, the recent SU Rep Elections, are like a fast becoming distant memory for some and for those who were not even aware they were going on, not even that!
For the candidates, and I think it could be argued particularly for those that stood as independents and not as part of a slate or team, and therefore did not share the creation and printing of posters, leaflets and other campaign materials with others, or the canvassing of schools, departments and individual students, this was a demanding, tiring, challenging and engaging experience. Especially regarding the meetings and chats with fellow students, and more so with those who were unaware that the elections were going on and what they were for and about.
Unlike in the Executive Elections of the previous academic year, there were none of the reported shenanigans and dirty tactics and behaviours, and it was thus a cleaner, fairer and more palatable contest. However, there was a BIG cloud raining on this particular parade and I’m not just talking about the inclement and miserable weather that spoiled parts of the outdoors election campaigning and dampened some student spirits. I’m talking about the ’IT Issues’ surrounding the matter of voting in the case of a sizeable number of students, which meant a frustrating and off putting experience for those affected, with many left effectively disenfranchised and candidates like myself advising them that they would have to go to the SU offices to resurrect their chance to vote. I myself had to go to the SU HQ to do it and also some of my colleagues from our research office, even as late as just before polling closed on Wednesday afternoon, but I know a significant number didn’t, maybe not wanting to brave the downpour outside and thus lost their chance to vote.
This all made a mockery of the SU email that appeared at the start of the Rep Elections, which was titled ‘Five Fantastic Reasons to Vote’ and its point 5 “Because it takes no time at all”! It also certainly didn’t help those trying to sort out their online registering to vote problems, that the SU website page titled ‘Problems registering?’ had several subsequent subsections on it, on which to click on, such as ‘I need help resetting my password’ or ‘I need help signing in to my account’, which had NO content or helpful information connected to them when you did click on them due to your having had problems registering ! What’s that all about ? Was it a case of ‘Help For SU Election Registering Made Easy FOR Dummies’ or a case of ‘Help For SU Election Registering Made Difficult BY Dummies’ ?
What I do know is that when I queried these same problems with the SU Deputy Returning Office, Dr Tom Flynn, his reply to me that the NUS would assure that “single point login (i.e. automatic sign in through the University) will be available for the March elections”, doesn’t quite cut it with me or with other election candidates that I spoke to about these problems. As one wag put it to me, ‘It’s like what happens in some African elections’! That single point login should have been available for these recent elections, not us having to wait until the New Year and the March Executive Elections for it to work. This also makes a mockery of the effort, commitment and energy put into campaigning in the SU Rep Elections by candidates and their helpers and by those trying and wanting to vote.
I suppose that in the end you have to put it all down to experience and to Life’s rich tapestry and hope that it makes you and all those also involved better for it.
Roll on March 2014 and the single point login !!