The 2020 NUS National Conference delegate by-election was run in accordance with the CUSU Standing Orders¹, as have all other CUSU elections, using Single Transferable Vote (“STV”) as recommended by the Electoral Reform Society. CUSU is allocated a delegation of six representatives to attend the NUS National Conference, of this delegation, at least half must be women per the NUS policy. The CUSU President, Edward Parker Humphreys, attends as an ex-officio delegate and Shadab Ahmed was elected as an NUS Delegate in Michaelmas 2019. As a result, CUSU is only able to elect one additional self-identifying man as a delegate and three spaces are available for delegates who have woman as part of their gender identity.
In the results below, two women candidates, SALLY PATTERSON and STELLA SWAIN, finished ahead of RON, and were thus elected. All other women candidates finished behind Re-Open Nominations (RON).
Two male candidates, Howard Chae and Peter McLaughlin, crossed the threshold for election in the first round, but only one can be elected as an NUS delegate. To decide which candidate would be the final delegate, the Elections Committee opted to run a count removing all other candidates to determine which candidate was elected to the single open place.
The Elections Committee decided that as CUSU operates using the STV system which uses preferential ballots, it was appropriate to utilise OpenSTV's ability to run a count "withdrawing" all other candidates. In this count, all of the women candidates and RON were withdrawn, and STV ran as if Howard Chae and Peter McLaughlin had been the only candidates.
In accordance with the rules for vote counts under the STV system, the count to determine who was elected to the single open delegate space counted votes based on whichever of Howard Chae, Peter McLaughlin or RON had the highest number of votes. The highest relevant preference of each voter given to Howard Chae or Peter McLaughlin (of those voters who had given their higher preference votes to a woman or RON) were distributed to Howard Chae and Peter McLaughlin respectively, leaving Howard Chae with more total votes than Peter McLaughlin. Even though Peter received more first-preference votes in the overall ballot than Howard Chae, in a single preferential ballot for the one available "open" place, Howard Chae won. HOWARD CHAE was therefore elected to the one available place for a man in the delegation.
If this election for the single open place had been held via the ‘first past the post’ method, Peter McLaughlin would have been the winner. However, as per the CUSU Standing Orders, all CUSU elections are to be counted using Single Transferable Vote (“STV”) as recommended by the Electoral Reform Society.
We appreciate some people may find this confusing, however we felt it was important to include all of the relevant information.
¹ G.9 i All elections will be counted using the single Transferable Vote (“STV”) as recommended by the Electoral Reform Society.
- All CUSU elections will be counted using the Single Transferable Vote (“STV”) as recommended by the Electoral Reform Society.
- All votes cast in the election were considered in ALL rounds of voting.
- Whilst other candidates were removed from the ballot to determine who would win the final spot to attend the NUS conference, votes that included a preference for RON, Howard Chae and Peter McLaughlin were included.
The Elections Committee
The Elections Committee is a group of volunteers who are elected by CUSU Council. They are responsible for the implementation of election rules and shall oversee the operation of elections of the Ordinary Membership. They are a process focused committee who ensure that all elections remain neutral, balanced and student led.
The reason that there is a delayed publication of votes on the voter platform is because, due to reserved places for women and a small number of paper ballots, the results set to be published on there would not show the final results as correctly counted. We direct people to the full vote breakdown published on the CUSU website.
If you believe the wrong decision was made after reading why the decisions were made by the Elections Committee, you can submit a complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you complaint is not upheld by the Elections Committee, you will have the further opportunity to appeal to the Junior Proctor, a University official responsible for overseeing CUSU elections. You can read our full complaints policy on our website in the CUSU Constitution
The Elections Committee
- Alex Roberts, Magdalene - Returning Officer
- Aisha Sobey, Fitzwilliam - Deputy Returning Officer
- Isabella Copplestone, Homerton
- Edward Parker Humphreys, Jesus - Ex-Officio