SRC elections plagued by poor voter turnout

Published

Nick Sikora

Turnout at the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) autumn elections remained poor again this year, with only 5% of students using their vote.

The elections, which were held on October 21, for the positions of International Students’ Officer, General Representatives and First Year General Representatives, saw only 910 students cast their ballot, out of over 20,000 eligible voters.

In total, 2010 votes were cast across all categories, a drop of over 200 votes since the autumn elections of 2008. However, the number of students voting has risen from the 748 who voted in last year’s autumn elections.

Ronan Radin, a successful candidate for the position of General Representative, feels the low turnout is largely due to apathy amongst the student body regarding the SRC.

He said: “A lot of the people I spoke to when campaigning simply said that they couldn’t be bothered. I think that people don’t bother voting because they don’t know exactly what they are voting for.

“The SRC is promoted well enough and the majority of students are aware of the services that the SRC provide, but I don’t think people still really know the involvement behind the services, and how they themselves can have their say.”

However, President of the SRC, Laura Laws, defended the results, explaining that the number of students voting had risen compared to last year.

She said: “We are really pleased that the number of voters in the SRC Autumn Elections rose from 748 in last year’s autumn elections, to 910 this year. Year on year, more students want to have a say in who is elected to represent them.”

Despite this the results indicate that over 95% of students did not vote in the elections, raising questions as to how well the SRC can claim to represent the student body.

Radin agreed with this sentiment: “With such a small minority of people voting, there can never be a balanced representation.”

The turnout puts pressure on the Council to increase student turnout before the spring elections, where the more crucial positions of Sabbatical Officers and Academic Conveners will be contested.

Recognising that the spring elections always attract a higher turnout, Laws said: “The SRC Autumn Elections traditionally attract fewer voters each year in comparison to the more popular SRC Spring Elections in March which traditionally attract a bigger turnout.”

Laws also explained that the level of overall student representation at Glasgow is still notable.

She said: “Glasgow University students this year have voted for over 2500 SRC student representatives in their courses and classes. We also have more student reps here at Glasgow University than any other university in Scotland and I’m very proud to be part of that.”