BY MEGAN LIDDY AND NÍAMH MARLEY
Sorry to let you down from what you might have seen online. But when we talk about RON, we don’t mean this guy…
Or this guy…
Not even this guy…
Over this election period, a different RON is the talk of the Union. This year, RON is the sole opposition to six out of the seven sabbatical elections taking place between 4th and 6th March on QOL. RON is a handy acronym for “Re-Open Nominations” – in other words, if a voter is dissatisfied with the candidates, they can essentially cast a vote for ‘none of the above’ and vote to have the nominations re-opened.
Six of the seven person ‘Breaking Thru’ candidates are unopposed, only the Presidential election is contested. We’re in a unique position this year. Although there have been uncontested elections for individual positions, most recently Adam McGibbon for VP Welfare and Fiona Kidd for VP Campaigns and Communications in 2011; never before has there been so many uncontested posts in the QUBSU elections.
Obviously there are multiple reasons for this unprecedented turn of events. However, this will be covered in several other articles, as – if a quick scroll through any Facebook feed is anything to go by – we could expend an infinite number of words talking about these reasons.
Last year, two full tickets of seven ran in almost direct opposition, with three independent candidates thrown into the mix. 2013 saw a clean sweep for the Backin’ Students ticket, and 2012 saw another clean sweep for the first full ticket QUBSU had seen, Team Connect. History could very well repeat itself this year for the 2014 Breaking Thru ticket, led by Presidential candidate Martin Lilly.
Of course, RON is not unique to one candidate races; the option to vote RON is always there, in every election, every year. RON is there as a viable option to protect student democracy, and provide a medium through which the electorate can express their malcontent with the proposed candidates, as without paper ballots, there is no way to ‘ freely spoil’ a vote. RON is a protest vote, a vote that says, ‘I think we need to try this again’.
RON has never won any election in QUB and a victory this time around is very, very unlikely. That said, if any year is going to be RON’s year, 2014 could be it.