No Manifesto, No Vote: Here’s Why I Didn’t Vote in the Student Council Elections

How many of you got asked to ‘vote for me’ last month? How many of you got bombarded with emails by KCLSU reminding you of your last reminder to vote? How many of you actually clicked on the link and voted? Not enough of you.

Although there was an increase in voting figures this academic year, there were still only 2,473 votes across all council positions. If we consider that King’s has around 26,500 students over 5 campuses, this figure isn’t great.

Amy Burley, this year’s new Societies Officer, explained that this low number of votes could be because there are ‘a lot of teething problems with the voting system at King’s.’  She went on to say that it’s ‘not particularly easy to vote. For example, the Volunteers officer could only receive votes for members of specific ‘volunteer’ societies, likewise people could only vote for me if they were a member of a society, which as you know lots of people who take part in societies aren’t members.’

I can’t judge those of you who didn’t take part. I’m in my third year at King’s and I still haven’t cast a single vote, and it’s not something I’m proud of. Despite appreciating that the right student council really can (and has done in the past) initiate change; I still hadn’t taken the time to vote myself  before this October. Why? I just didn’t care enough, and this had to change.

For this year’s Student Council Elections, then, I decided that it was about time I took an interest. I looked at the candidates to see if there was anyone worth voting for. As I had no friends who were running for any positions (because let’s face it, many of us are voting for our friends first and foremost), I had to actually read through some of the manifestos. To my surprise, at least one candidate in most categories had no slogan, no photo, and, most importantly, no manifesto.

For the Arts and Humanities School Representative position, for example, there were only 2 out of 6 people who included a manifesto. Similarly, for the Post Graduate Officer position 2/5 people bothered to let us know about their pledges and for Law Representatives, only 3/7. You get my point: the list of blank candidates goes on. This isn’t just the odd person forgetting to add information; this is nearly a majority of candidates not really bothered about winning us over.

Is it any surprise, then, that so many of us ignore the voting process completely? KCLSU said that although manifestos ‘aren’t a requirement for someone to stand in an election, all candidates are encouraged to use manifestos as part of their campaigns’. My question is: why the hell is it not a requirement? How can someone run, let alone win, a student council election without a manifesto?

As you might be able to tell, I once again did not vote. This is unfair to those candidates who put effort in, but until the elections are taken seriously by those organising it and, most importantly, by those putting themselves forward to run our university, then I’m afraid I can’t take it seriously either.

Elections for Student Trustees will begin soon, and, with the same procedure put in place for this election as the one I’ve just been speaking about, how many of you will vote?