Democracy: people getting what they want, good and hard

The last date for posting votes has passed, but the ballot boxes have yet to be opened: it seems a good time to turn psephologist. The current NEC elections are the first major probe of the state of the union since the excitement of 2018, and their results will also be read for hints of what to expect in the coming election for General Secretary following the sad news of Sally Hunt’s departure owing to ill health.

If I were smart enough to make accurate predictions of election results, I would make a living at it; there is no exit poll here. There are a few things which will be worth looking at, whatever the actual result.

First, the turn-out will be read as a sign of member engagement with UCU: we have increased membership over the last year, and our members have been more active. Has this translated into greater interest in internal elections?

Second, where are the votes going? As previously, the candidate lists are dominated by the two major factions, with the USS Briefs candidates taking the endorsement of UCU Left. It will be interesting to see second and further preferences transfer between candidates: will UCU Left voters return the favour to USS Briefs, and vice versa?

Finally, the vice-presidential election is a three-horse race, and a genuinely open contest. Where will the votes come from and where will they go? The big question is where the third placed candidate’s votes will transfer, since it is likely they will not split evenly, or nearly evenly, and it is hard to see any candidate winning outright on the first count.

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