Union Referendums Fail to Reach Required Turnout to Pass

Three referendums held by LUU last Autumn failed to pass because turnout fell far below the required 1,500 votes.

Three questions were asked – Should we allow snacks in the library, Should LUU campaign for a transition to zero emission buses in Leeds and Should LUU lobby student accommodation providers in Leeds to offer laundry credits included in rent?

Although all the motions were approved by significant margins, none received nearly enough votes to pass. The vote on snacks in the library received only 89 votes, 1411 short of the 1500 required to pass, with 65 for and 23 against with 1 abstention.

Out of 81 votes cast in response to the question regarding zero emission buses, 65 were in favour while 59 out of 80 voters were in favour of LUU lobbying accommodation providers to include laundry credits in rent.

This means that the referendums attracted less than 6% of the votes they required to pass, and all attracted less than a 0.003%  of enrolled students.

Turnout was significantly down on last spring, when 562 students participated in a ballot asking whether Leeds University should limit participation with companies which breach international law.

Union Affairs Officer Jack Palmer said:

“I’m glad this issue is getting more attention, it’s a real challenge getting the required number of votes if ideas are not particularly controversial (though I was really in favour for snacks in the library!) We offer lots of support to students who want to run the ‘for’ and ‘against’ campaigns, but if those students do not come forward, there is only so much we can do to provoke a lively debate. 

“We’re now looking at our referendum cycle to try and maximise turnout, assessing the sorts of ideas that end up at referendum and discussing what’s the best method to determine an outcome. For those students reading this who believe that members of LUU should be more engaged with its democracy, I’d encourage you to get involved as a Rep or think about running in this year’s Leadership Race. “

Ian White


[Image: Newton News]