March 05, 2005

Provisional Referenda Results

These have now been placed on the elections group notice board. The provisional results for the Elections and Co-options held at Union Council this week are up there as well.

All motions reached the quorum of 1417.

The provisional referenda results are as follows:

Motion 1 – Limiting Devolved Department Discussions

For 965
Against 267
Abstain 221

Motion Carried

Motion 2 – Allowing Stances on all International Issues

For 777
Against 503
Abstain 172

Motion Carried

Motion 3 – No Stance on Emotive International Issues

For 742
Against 542
Abstain 154

Motion Carried

Motion 4 – Abortion: The Right to Choose

For 995
Against 341
Abstain 149

Motion Carried

Motion 5 – Paper Voting Option

For 676
Against 561
Abstain 187

Motion Carried

Motion 6 – Sabbatical Expenses

For 1058
Against 243
Abstain 127

Motion Carried

The complaints deadline is 12 noon Wednesday and requests for recounts must be made by 5 pm Tuesday.

Assuming that the results to motions 2 and 3 stand, they will both lapse immediately and none of the resolves of these policies will take effect.

The constitutional change in motion 5 is subject to approval by the University Council.

- 17 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Excellent, quorum again (although my fairly poor maths tells me it was very, very close).

    05 Mar 2005, 19:29

  2. Not sure I agree with the Union's interpretation of how motions 2 and 3 should be reconciled. It looks to me like Motion 2 won, having more votes for and fewer against than the other motion which had an almost identical turnout. I think it would have been better perhaps to create just one motion out of the two.

    05 Mar 2005, 20:05

  3. I wouldn't worry, Chris, the way it's turned out, motion 2 has effectively won anyway.

    05 Mar 2005, 20:18

  4. Allowing both motions 2 & 3 to be seperate just show that in a democratic world common sence is the first casulty. Money well spent! But i'm happy they reached quotrum again, a positive step seems to have been made in that respect.

    05 Mar 2005, 20:44

  5. Colin, the problem is if both motions are submitted with a petition of signatures, there's not an awful lot Composite can do about it. If they'd gone via Council I suspect only one question would have been put. Anyway, the fact that both passed does seriously make me wonder about what people were thinking whilst they were actually voting…

    05 Mar 2005, 20:47

  6. It does raise some interesting questions about whether people actually thought while voting. I wonder, will anyone actually analyse the number voting for both motions? I hope so, because it could prove some interesting feedback for further votes.

    05 Mar 2005, 21:01

  7. Oh yeah, Benny, just as a general query, has motion 3 had any effect? As it proposed lapsing the policies supporting the National League for Democracy in Burma and opposing the occupation of Iraq – will we need to re-submit those policies?

    05 Mar 2005, 21:22

  8. Actually, strike that question, I've just been back and checked the wording.

    05 Mar 2005, 21:24

  9. My replies to some of the above comments (by number):

    1. Yes it was very close, on 7 over to paper voting option, so the last minute push was very worthwhile.

    2. 3. 4. and 5. Both motions were correctly submitted and put to referenda. It wouldn't make a load of sense to say that one motion passed with more votes than another so it should take precedence, as then it would create an incentive to vote for a particular motion to defeat another.

    6. The results are in the public domain so anyone can look at them. Council may well want to take the results into consideration when consdiering motions in the future.

    7. and 8. We were very careful about the wording to make sure that nothing would happen in this scenario.

    05 Mar 2005, 21:57

  10. Where can I find the results?

    05 Mar 2005, 22:04

  11. Colin, the results are in Benny's original post. ^^

    05 Mar 2005, 22:11

  12. So no-one can actually cross-examine the raw results to see if a significant amount of people voted yes to both 2 and 3?

    05 Mar 2005, 22:28

  13. I don't know if they have that much detail, Colin. Although if anyone does it'll be Elections Group and they'll be very loath to publish the data.

    05 Mar 2005, 22:37

  14. I shouldn't think that it would be possible to obtain that information going back to track who had voted for what.

    06 Mar 2005, 14:02

  15. Colin – the problem with both being put separately rather than together is down to more than the rules described by others earlier. The nature of Referenda is that there is always a strong yes bias to any vote. So if the 2 motions had been put together, it would have been unfair whichever way round it went as one would lose out to the other on yes bias. Obviously there is the possibility to rather than have Yes or No to have two options with more writing, but not under the current rules and there would be big problems with doing things that way too.

    Anyway, we still have a Union now, rather than a shitty guild, so I'm happy enough with the outcome.
    This does of course reinforce the well known idea that the yes bias at referenda is ridiculous.

    06 Mar 2005, 15:08

  16. Reminds me of one of Robert M. Worcester's many anecdotes (link). When he were a lad (1938) one of his future professors added the following question to a U.S. opinion poll:

    Should Congress pass the Metallic Metals Act?

    40% of Americans polled said yes.

    There was no Metallic Metals Act.

    Which brings me round to the No Platform issue. Unfortunately some nice students are dim enough to support the BNP, if you let the BNP organise.

    08 Mar 2005, 20:24

  17. Andy McEwan

    Just sitting here looking at the bizzare result of both motions 2 and 3 passing and I had a thought that filled me with a little (but not much) hope!

    Very very generally:

    If we assume that voting for either motion would imply voting against the other and that people who abstain would abstain in both (because by definition they either don't know about the issue or don't care) then we're left with a discrepency of about 200.

    This could imply that there were only 200 uneducated voters (about 15%), which whilst high isn't as high as the result may at first suggest. I therefore conclude that democracy isn't dead and there's still hope


    10 Mar 2005, 00:21

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