This morning, polling began at 7am and it didn’t take long for a controversy to arise. In the PFC a dispute broke out over who had the right to use tables to canvass. The Student Action ticket produced booking forms claiming that they had the right to use the tables, and security were brought into the dispute. Eventually, the dispute was resolved and both tickets came to a friendly agreement to have a table each. However, current SU President Jason O’Neill has confirmed that there was a misunderstanding on all levels, and that all spaces must be available to all candidates to campaign. He compared it to one ticket booking out the foyer of the Union and forbidding other canvassers to use the space. Essentially, although there was a friendly agreement reached, there was no choice in the matter.
The Facebook debate advertised by the Union was cancelled as no candidates were able to attend the debate. QUBSU has confirmed via a statement on Twitter,
“The Students’ Union received notification that candidates on the ‘Vote for Student Action’ team were unavailable to participate and attend the Online Candidate Question Time.
The Students’ Union received notification that candidates on the ‘Backin Students’ team were unavailable to participate and attend the Online Candidate Question Time. They offered to submit answers to questions via email. As of 11:00 this morning, no answers had been received.
The Students’ Union received notification that candidate Naomi Davis (Campaigns and Communications) was unable to attend. She offered to submit answers to questions via email. As of 11:00 this morning, no answers had been received.
The Students’ Union received notification that candidate Chelsea Worth (Union President) was available to participate and attend.
The Students’ Union received notification that candidate Shane Melaugh (Welfare) was available to participate and attend.”
In terms of Election Time fashion statements, Naomi Davis has been spotted campaigning in a onesie on campus. What a shame she didn’t wear it in her campaign posters. Student Action have been spotted in yellow t-shirts, Backin’ Students are in white t-shirts with red prints of their square speech bubble style logo.
Basil McCrea has been spotted again with canvassers for various tickets.
The Gown has been informed that a campaigner for Student Action lodged a complaint with the Returning Officer about some campaigning going on close to computers, arguing that this constitutes as canvassing within a polling area. The Gown has asked the Returning Officer to confirm this but the Returning Officer cannot comment at this time. Dominic Doherty commented that as polling is online, defining a polling area is difficult.
The Gown has also learned that all candidates were asked to submit receipts by 4pm today. The Returning Officer has again said that she cannot comment on this at the moment, as the matter is under investigation. However, Henry Adams, a campaigner from Student Action, has confirmed this. All candidates are allocated 200 A3 posters, 1000 A4 manifestos, and 1000 A5 flyers that are printed by the Union. Further, all candidates are granted a budget of £60 each to spend on campaign materials that are approved by the Union and it is this portion of budget that is under investigation.
Further, on our Facebook page, we were forced to issue a statement shortly after 3pm “Unfortunately, the Gown has learned that a candidate has placed a complaint against a member of the Gown team. The candidate is currently considering if they wish for the complaint to be formally investigated. Whilst this matter is unresolved, this member of the Gown team will not be allowed to contribute to the coverage of the QUBSU 2013 election.” As this matter is ongoing, the Gown cannot comment any further on this matter, except to say that as it is our duty to report, it is only right that we report all facts.
As of 4pm, the number of votes cast is 1336. This is slightly down on turnout at the same time last year, which was 1363.
As of 5pm, the number of votes cast is 1477, which is just slightly up on the turnout at the same time last year, 1469.