KCLSU election mishandling

Dominic Moffit

First of all let me make it clear, if anyone had to win in the election, except me, I am ecstatic it was Tom, we’ve been friends for two years and he will make an excellent President of KCLSU.

But that is not why I am writing this.

Standing for election at any level is a privilege and a burden, not something that all candidates in this election acknowledged. There is supposed to be a great amount of organisation and work involved in running a successful campaign, not things that can circumvented any other way than delegation. For her massive level of support I am indebted to Charlie Metherell who helped me throughout.

The election was marred from before it began with allegations of cheating, one candidate is supposed to have started campaigning 11 days before they should have done, and would definitely have been aware of this. Also, the voting software was clearly flawed, and this weakness had been flagged to KCLSU during the referendum a month earlier.

The overriding rule of KCLSU elections is that they must be free and fair. Last year we saw an election where this spirit was broken, with the overwhelming use of laptops, but no actual rules were broken. This year that was sadly not to be.

Candidates are charged with voting for others without their knowledge. There were complaints of voter coercion, and there is one story that a voter had a laptop snatched from their hands as they were voting, and their vote changed.

Maybe having so few rules we had to expect some infringements, but that these would be adequately dealt with by the ‘Election Complaints Committee’. Last year the convention was that if someone cheated without malice then they would receive a campaign suspension, and that is exactly what happened last year. However, if their cheating was malicious then would be excluded from the election.

This year’s committee was made up of Anne Poulson (Returning Officer), Chris Shelley (Deputy Returning Officer), a Student Trustee, and a member of Student Council.

This group decided that those people, there were at least three candidates, found guilty of attempting to defraud the election, should only receive a short suspension.

‘Due to the fact that the voting process has been declared null and void, the final outcome of the election has not been affected by any of the complaints. Therefore it was not felt necessary to remove any candidates from the election.’

I may be engaging in ‘reductio ad absurdum’ but we still consider attempted murder a pretty serious crime…

There are still many weeks left of this year, and then it’s a new year, with new Student Officers. Maybe apparent conspiracy to keep what happened a secret will be broken, or maybe we will never know what happened. But most importantly it cannot be allowed to happen again.

I may have said I had no faith left in KCLSU, but I can have faith in the future, and even in KCLSU’s future.

 

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