CUSU’s offices at 17 Mill LaneLouis Ashworth

As voting in the NUS delegate and CUSU part-time executive elections opened this morning at 9am, the electoral roll did not include all of the students eligible to vote, with many freshers left off the list and therefore unable to cast their votes.

Explaining the incident, CUSU said: “an error in the loading of the voter roll led to the platform reverting back to a previous voter list, resulting in the omission of first year students from the roll”.

The incident led many to mistakenly believe that freshers were now required to enrol in order to vote; however, a CUSU spokesperson told Varsity that this was not the case.

In a statement on Facebook, CUSU announced that they have decided to pause the elections “until the University can provide us with an accurate list which will allow all current students to vote”.

Alex Parnham-Cope, a first-year Pembroke student, told Varsity that freshers were not made sufficiently aware of the need to check they were enrolled in order to be able to vote in the elections.

He pointed out that although there was one email sent out by CUSU last week with a link to check enrolment in the electoral roll found “around halfway” through the body of the email, the subject line (“Improving access at Cambridge + Council input”) was “irrelevant” to the elections.

CUSU hopes to be able to reopen voting tomorrow, and promised to extend the voting period in accordance with the amount of time required for them to receive an accurate list of current eligible students from the University.

Once they have received this list, they will reopen the ballot, and combine votes cast then with those cast before the voting was paused, in order to ensure that “all ballots cast so far in the election have been recorded correctly and securely”.

Graduate Union President Sofia Ropek-Hewson confirmed to Varsity that the GU's electoral rolls were correct, and their election will take place in the timeframe they had originally anticipated. Their election will also involve a selection for vice-president, a full-time sabbatical position.

Several of the candidates, including Thais Warren and  Keelan Kellegher, took to Facebook after last night’s NUS delegate hustings to comment on the voting situation. Although it is the central University that drafts the electoral rolls, the candidates remarked that this event correlates with issues raised at the hustings, with Kellegher saying that “this keeps student politics in a narrow clique of those who are already engaged”.


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Another of the NUS delegate candidates, Khaled Labidi, said that the situation is indicative of a “deeper problem” within CUSU, rather than simply an administrative error.

He told Varsity that “there’s so little engagement and of course this has culminated in people being left off the electoral roll”.

The polls reopened on Thursday and voting will continue until 11pm on Thursday.

Note: This article was updated on Thursday, 1st November to note that the GU faced no problems with its electoral roll, that CUSU receives its electoral roll from the central University, and that polls have reopened