How manyÂ of you got asked to â€˜vote for meâ€™Â 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 wereÂ still only 2,473 votes across all council positions.Â If we consider that Kingâ€™s has around 26,500 students over 5 campuses, this figure isnâ€™t great.
Amy Burley, this yearâ€™s new Societies Officer, explained that this low number of votesÂ could be because there are â€˜a lot of teething problems with the voting system at Kingâ€™s.â€™ Â She went on to say that itâ€™s â€˜not particularly easy to vote. For example,Â 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.â€™
I canâ€™t judgeÂ those of you who didnâ€™tÂ take part. Iâ€™m in my third year at Kingâ€™s and I still havenâ€™t cast a single vote, and itâ€™s not something Iâ€™m proud of. Despite appreciating that the right studentÂ council really can (and hasÂ done in the past) initiate change; I still hadn’t taken the time to vote myself Â before this October. Why? I just didn’t care enough, andÂ thisÂ had to change.
For this yearâ€™s Student CouncilÂ Elections, then,Â IÂ decided that it was about time IÂ took an interest.Â I lookedÂ 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 wereÂ onlyÂ 2 out of 6Â peopleÂ who included a manifesto. Similarly, for theÂ Post GraduateÂ OfficerÂ position 2/5Â people bothered to let us know about their pledgesÂ andÂ for Law Representatives, only 3/7.Â You get my point: the list of blank candidates goes on.Â This isnâ€™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,Â that so many of us ignore the voting process completely? KCLSU said that although manifestos â€˜arenâ€™t a requirement for someone to stand in an election, all candidates are encouraged to use manifestos as part of their campaignsâ€™. 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.Â 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 Iâ€™m afraid I canâ€™t take it seriously either.
ElectionsÂ for Student Trustees will begin soon, and, with the same procedure put in place for this election as the one Iâ€™ve just been speaking about, how many of you will vote?