The student voice has never been louder in Leeds, as it was announced today voting figures at Leeds Metropolitan University Students’ Union had eclipsed the previous years turn out, with over 3600 votes, four times as many as last year. Combine this with the votes cast in the Leeds University Student’s Union Elections and the total for both is nearly 8,000.
With a General Election looming the voting figures will be of significant interest to the local MPs in Leeds. The student voice of 8,000 could potentially unseat some of the local MPs in Leeds, in fact combining the majorities of Labours Fabian Hamilton and Greg Mulholland from the Liberal Democrat’s would still not beat the number of student voters.
The rise in student voters has been attributed to a number of different factors, however Adam Burns, manager of the newly established PR department at Leeds Met Student’s Union, believes that students are becoming more politicised.
“It is no coincidence that in a General Election year we see student voters turn out in their thousands rather than hundreds. Since I established the PR department last year we have worked hard to engage with students, however I firmly believe students are now taking an active interest in politics with May only a few weeks away”
This year, for the first time, students have been able to use their student log-in to vote online which is just one of the new strategies that has been developed through the partnership of the students union and the university which has helped drive awareness and has made voting easier and more convenient for students.
Mike Austin, the Student Union Membership Engagement Co-ordinator said:
“This years elections have been a great success, we are delighted to see that so many students want to have their voice heard and their votes will really help to ensure that the Students’ Union continues to listen to its students and cater to their needs.”
The atmosphere in the Students’ Union and around both campuses has been electric all week with a buzz of events surrounding each candidate and their efforts to win the elections. Last night, ‘Pop the vote,’ a music event which took place at Headingley campus, saw all candidates collaborate together for a great end to the election period. The event also encouraged students to vote there and then.
The Students Union owes a lot to the Student Representative Services Department, made up of Mike Austin, Andrew Morwood and Cassie Pirreli. Their campaign to encourage students to vote has proved a huge success and this is illustrated in the voter turn out.
Lewis Coakley, the Student Unions’ current President said:
“ It is very interesting to see that if you combine voter turn out for the two universities in Leeds the total is just under 8,000, which could unseat a few of the local sitting MPs. It is testament to our students’ and the Student’s Union staff that our voice is becoming extremely powerful.