Every year during the elections at De Montfort University, there is always a form of drama, petty squabbling or items a bit more serious.
During the two weeks of campaigning, I witnessed a few petty squabbles at the start of campaigning, but I, along with others, tried to stay out of it.
A great number of us didn’t want to get sucked in by the drama and threw all of our efforts into our own campaign.
Look, I’m not perfect, no one is, but we can’t get into any bother or trouble if we stay out of it, but if someone does get involved, even its just a little bit, you can’t help but fall deeper and deeper
into it, until you find yourself too deep, its as simple as that.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic here.
The pettiness of the foul play began, with candidates campaign posters and other material. Though this wasn’t necessarily witnessed, people were being thought to be taking down candidates work. People were to see posters in bins or littered on campus. Come on guys, really?
A lot of the issues grew from the online voting system. While out everyday campaigning, candidates were encouraging their fellow students to go online and vote for them. To try and get as many votes as possible, as quickly as possible, candidates, including me, took their IPADS on campus and got students to vote there and then, this was allowed by the students union. Being allowed to vote this way also gave students, potential voters, to read that candidate’s manifesto and able to put a face to a name, while reading it. It also gave potential voters a chance to read their manifesto and ask them questions before they vote.
Though getting fellow students to vote on your IPAD was allowed, we as candidates were given specific instructions to hand students your IPAD and allow them to log in and guide them through it, but let them press the buttons and commands in order to cast the vote. I saw many candidates do this and to be honest, I found it very beneficial to me, as I am sure to others.
However, there were alienations of cheating. Candidates stood in groups, so we could talk and get to know each other, but to also be near a candidate with an IPAD, in case a student wanted to cast their vote straight away after speaking to that candidate.
Eager to get votes, I presume, candidates were taking the IPADS off the students once they had logged in and cast the votes on behalf of the student, as opposed to allowing them to cast their vote. Further to this, candidates. Instead of logging the student out after they’ve cast the vote, they supposedly cast votes for their friends in other categories as that student, before finally logging the student out.
To make the voting easier for De Montfort University students, a drop-down menu was there on the main voting page when students first log-in, by clicking on the menu they can select the category they want to go to and it will take them automatically to that page for them to vote. A number of candidates were finding that their category was not appearing on the drop-down menu, when students went to cast their votes, which meant they had already voted for that category, despite the reassurances that they haven’t and are yet to do so.
Students reported that votes had been cast on their behalf without their permission, so we as candidates knew what was happening and had annoying and nagging thoughts that our opponents were doing this to secure extra votes.
However, I was lucky, the majority of the votes cast this way was thought to be for the full-time officer positions and mine as a part-time position.
There has been a small number of protests particularly against the elections of full-time roles as well as meetings to decide what to do next.
I am saddened by the whole situation, to be honest. I know people were eager to win, I wanted nothing more.
But above all, I wanted to run a good-honest campaign, minus any guilt, which I feel I did and I know some of my closest friends did.
I am now happy to say that thanks to their wonderful persistence and focus. I am now running with some of these close friends when we take office next year.
As my for other close friends, who sadly didn’t get into office, I know they can and will do great things.