Over 30,000 ballots cast in Sabbatical Elections 2014

Over 30,000 ballots cast in Sabbatical Elections 2014

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The outgoing Sabbs. Image credit: Exeter Guild
The outgoing Sabbs. Image credit: Exeter Guild

Over 30,000 ballots were cast by in excess of 6,000 students in the Sabbatical Elections held earlier this month. The votes, which came in only 104 hours of polling, exceeded the number of votes cast in 2013, when polls were open for 175 hours. This number of ballots represents a record for student elections at the University of Exeter.

6,078 students voted for seven posts this year, casting 30,522 ballots. This constituted a turnout of 36.14 per cent, in the shortest ever polling period for a Sabbatical election. Last year, 5,992 students cast a total of 25,159 ballots, although these votes were only cast in five different electoral races.

Exeposé understands that these results constitute a significant success for the Students’ Guild, who said that on a like-for-like basis with last year, the length of time that ballots were open would have generated between 3,561 and 3,841 votes; this year’s eventual figures far exceed that.

First years constituted the biggest slice of the voters, with 2,430 new students voting to elect their officers, which represents 40 per cent of the overall electoral turnout. Third years represented 29 per cent of the vote, while one in four voters were second years.

60 per cent of voters were female, with 3,621 of the 6,078 individual voters being women. 2,457 men also voted. 84 per cent of voters were of Home/EU fee status, while 875 International students, 14 per cent of the final turnout, made their voices heard.

The College of Humanities provided 27 per cent of the votes, with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences’ 1,234 votes also representing 20 per cent of the final turnout. One in five votes also came from the University of Exeter Business School, which is potentially unsurprising considering that 560 voters alone study Economics. This means that 9 per cent of votes in the entire elections came from Economics students.

English and History were the next two most prolific subjects in terms of voting, with both subjects, in addition to Law and Geography, each constituting seven per cent of total voters.

Rachael Gillies was eventually elected Guild President, with Matthew Bate, Ben Street, and Kate Hawkins being nominated VPs Activities, Education, and Welfare & Diversity respectively. Andy Higham won the race to be the new AU President.

Jak Curtis-Rendall, VP Activities, said: “Following a shortened voting period in 2014 this year’s Sabbatical Election turnout was 36.14% – our second highest ever. Students cast a record 30,522 ballots which demonstrates the strong engagement of Exeter students with democracy on our campuses. The Sabbatical Officers play a vital role in moulding the whole student experience here at Exeter and by engaging in the elections students are shaping this experience themselves. I look forward to seeing some of the excellent ideas of the officers-elect put into action.”

Owen Keating, News Editor

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