Based on Varsity’s polling, the Yes vote will have attained quoracyLouis Ashworth

Fears about quoracy in the referendum “Should CUSU disaffiliate from the National Union of Students?” may have been dismissed already, as CUSU has revealed the vote count has already broken a six-year record.

Early this afternoon, CUSU Coordinator Jemma Stewart tweeted that the percentage turnout for the referendum, which is still underway, has exceeded that of the vote to create a Disabled Students’ Officer earlier this year.

Varsity can exclusively confirm that, as of 3:44pm this afternoon, 4,734 students had cast votes – a turnout of 22 per cent.

The news will go some way to allay concerns among supporters of the “Yes” to disaffiliation campaign that turnout would be below the 10 per cent and simple majority which is required for the referendum to pass.

The revealed turnout itself is no guarantee of quoracy: contrary to widespread reporting, the onus for quoracy lies solely with the Yes vote, and will not be revealed until the full results are released on Friday.

However, based on Varsity polling before the election, the turnout would indicate that the Yes vote has gained enough votes so far to be valid. On the results of that survey, the Yes vote would have 2,168 votes – narrowly surpassing the 2,148 required to attain quoracy.

Several sources campaigning for the Yes vote have expressed concerns to Varsity about the decision by CUSU’s Elections Committee to release the data at this point, saying that it could encourage No campaigners – who wish for Cambridge to remain affiliated – to mobilise. Previously, it has been suggested that the 10 per cent requirement itself could be sufficient to cause the Yes vote to fail.

Jemma Stewart, who is Returning Officer for the referendum, explained to Varsity Elections Committee’s reasoning for choosing to release the data.

“Elections Committee was pleased that we had surpassed the voter turnout for the Disabled Students' Officer Referendum,” she said “and felt that we should share this knowledge with students; Elections Committee wanted to alleviate the concern surrounding the voter turnout; discussions taking place were on the technicalities of the referendum itself, with concerns that 10 per cent of students would not vote.”

She said that Elections Committee “do not know what the voting distribution of the 22.0 per cent is”.

Asked whether the decision to announce vote counts could hurt the Yes campaign by discouraging those who lean towards continued membership from simply not voting – and assuming the count would fail on lack of quoracy – Stewart said that the “Elections Committee does not want to discourage any voters from voting”.

“We want to engage as many students as possible”, she said “to make an informed decision about whether or not CUSU should disaffiliate from the National Union of Students, and encourage all students to vote however they see fit, whether that be for, against or abstaining. We do not think that we have hurt either campaign; this information is available at some other [students’ unions] and allows students (including those who are campaigning) to see how many students in Cambridge are engaging with the Referendum”.

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