Low Voter Turnout for ANUSA Election

A student voting

Polls have closed for the 2018 ANUSA election, and results will be announced shortly. However, turnout this year has been significantly lower than last year, potentially due to the lack of competition in the Executive and College Representatives positions.

Data from voting platform Membership Solutions Limited (MSL) reveals that just 1688 students voted. Observer could not confirm the total number of eligible voters, but based on data from MSL, this appears to be a 9.3% turnout. Alternatively, using last year’s student numbers renders a turnout of about 13%. Either way, this number is significantly lower than last year, when 2600 students voted, representing about 20% of eligible voters.

Last year’s turnout was reported to be a record high in terms of total votes cast, but it was not atypical turnout for ANUSA elections, which has commonly sat around 20%. 2014 and 2015 both saw about one-fifth of eligible students voting, despite voting in those years being done through paper ballots rather than online.

The low number of nominations is potentially the reason for the low voter turnout. Just four of the fourteen roles up for general election were contested: General Representative, NUS Delegate, CAP Representative, and Education Officer. There were 64 candidates, compared to last year’s 126. Perhaps because of this, campaigning was relatively less intense.

While lower than 2017, this year was not the lowest turnout seen in recent years – 2013 saw just 12% of students cast votes. It also appears to be higher than that of other universities – Honi Soit reported that the University of Sydney’s SRC elections saw a turnout of about 13% last year.

Vote counting will begin at 5:30pm today.

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