I’ll give them some credit; 16.3 percent is not the worst Spring Election turnout in the TCSA’s history.
But it’s far below their goal of drawing a quarter of members to the polls.
It also falls below last year’s turnout. And the year before that. And the year before that.
Put less annoyingly, this is the lowest turnout since 2007, when the association saw 15.7% of members vote.
In past elections there were a few times they failed to even reach quorum (15%).
I was impressed that they were able to make quorum given the slate of candidates we saw. There were only three contested races out of a possible 13, and five positions that will sit vacant.
Of course, not making quorum doesn’t affect the candidates. The only ones who would be affected by failing to reach quorum would be those asking referenda questions.
Even if they managed to draw something pitiful like three percent of members the winning candidates would still take office.
They only way they wouldn’t, aside from losing to another candidate, is if they received more “No” votes than “Yes” votes.
Thankfully for the eight newest TCSA board members, this wasn’t the case Friday when the results rolled in.
At the University of Windsor right now it’s a different story.
A “Vote None of the Above” campaign that sprung up the week before elections proved incredibly successful.
Each and every candidate, all unopposed, received more “No” votes than “Yes” votes. As of May 1 the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance (UWSA) Board of Directors will have no members.
The union itself has been less than forthcoming with this information. No results have been announced on their website.
This hasn’t stopped the news from spreading though.
It’s not clear that anything like this has ever happened before at any university. And even though a remarkably high 18% of voters said no to TCSA President-elect Braden Freer, it certainly didn’t happen here at Trent.
I’m glad it didn’t. The situation at Windsor is vastly different from our own, and I don’t think any candidate who got elected here didn’t deserve to.
That said, I’m glad it did happen somewhere, especially someplace as comfortably removed from us as Windsor.
This historic result demonstrates to student unions across Canada that they absolutely must remain accountable to those they represent, even when no other candidates step up to challenge them.
With decreasing voter turnouts and fewer and fewer candidates each spring, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we’re heading down Windsor’s path to a slate of all uncontested candidates, and a vote of total non-confidence.
It’s of absolute importance that this new TCSA doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the UWSA, lest Trent students repeat the actions of Windsor students in 2015.
The winners of this election should make it their primary goal during their tenure to demonstrate to the students of Trent that they were truly the right candidates for this position, not just the only ones.