OUCA in election farce

first_imgAnother member agreed, saying, “it’s what candidates tend to do.”The member also expressed concern that the returning officer had only informed the candidates rather than the students who were barred from the elections.“[Neale] hasn’t announced to the membership that the new members won’t be able to vote, instead restricting his comments to officer candidates. Presumably people will turn up on the day, unaware that they have been barred,” he said.The elections normally take place in eighth week but were moved to seventh this term, leading to confusion over when the cut-off date would be for new members.Members predict that the new cut-off date will be most damaging for Malmqvist in the contest for the presidency against current treasurer Alex Elias. “The move has tipped the balance towards the treasurer candidate,” said one OUCA member. “She thought the termly meeting would be the cut off date so she carried on registering people.”Malmqvist condemned the decision, but denied that the move to bar new members would disadvantage her. “I can only express a form of concern that members who are interested in the association, who wanted to join and take part in the elections now can’t do so.”She admitted that one or two of her friends were among the recently-registered members, but claimed, “we always have a large increase in members before OUCA elections.”Ben Lyons, secretary of the Oxford University Labour Club said he was surprised by the controversy surrounding the decision. “It is rather surprising that a students’ organisation which is basically just an excuse for drinking and mild prejudice should go to such lengths to manage their elections,” he said in a statement.He added, “in contrast…we’re seriously involved in Oxford politics, hosting great speakers and taking an active role in our constituency.” Sixty students were barred from the OUCA elections on Wednesday after a last-minute decision by the returning officer prevented new members from voting.According to OUCA members, the sharp increase around election time is due to students signing up to the society in order to vote for their friends.Candidate for the presidency Josefin Malmqvist said she was concerned by the decision. She and other candidates were only informed of the move the day before the elections.She said she knew new members who are “very upset” that they will now not be eligible to vote. “They want to have their say,” she said. “I think it’s a shame.”Returning officer David Neale told officer candidates by email that any student who joined the Association after Monday would not be allowed to take part in the elections. He cited a rule which bars any student from taking part in the ballot if they register after nominations.No new member was eligible to vote in the election, unless his name was read out at Council in 6th week or before. Delays in receiving forms meant that some members who joined before Monday would also be barred on a technicality.Opposing candidate Alex Elias won the election in results announced on Wednesday. He expressed delight at his victory but refused to comment on the electoral issues. He said, “I’m absolutely thrilled. I had a very worthy opponent.”One OUCA member, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed his disapproval over the decision. “Considering most people will have bought a membership – £15 – at this time to vote for their friends in the election, it’s a bit sub-prime,” he said.He acknowledged that it was widespread for candidates to buy memberships for their friends just before the elections so they could vote for them. “Everybody known it goes on,” he said.last_img read more