The number of candidates in the Student Council Elections rose – but will the students vote?

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Text Anni Hyypiö

In Finnish.

A total of 159 candidates are running for the Student Council, slightly more than the 155 there were two years ago.

Before this fall the amount of candidates was steadily declining: there were nearly 300 candidates in 2009, 190 in 2011 and 172 in 2013.

The alliance with the most candidates is TeTa, the coalition for technology and economy (69 candidates). The runners-up are the coalition of humanities and education students HuKa (29) and the Scientists’ coalition (19).

You can see all the candidates, coalitions and parties here.

Can voter turnout be increased?

We managed to curb the decline in the amount of candidates this year, but how can we get the students to vote?

According to the chair of the Central Election Board Liisa Komminaho, the first step in activating the students to vote is letting people know there’s an election coming up. Social media, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been used to reach people.

This fall the council elections are arranged with electronic votingthe paper ballot voting isn’t used at all.

Liisa Komminaho doesn’t believe this choice will affect the turnout one way or the other.

“Last election cycle we used both, and the amount of paper ballots was fairly small. I believe the students will find the online voting page as easily as the traditional one.”

That’s not necessarily good news, because the majority of students still don’t vote. According to Liisa Komminaho, the voter turnout can be increased.

“When there are so many of us, there are also a lot of people who aren’t interested or don’t know about these things. There is potential to grow, and the worst pitfall is being content with the current situation. If we believe we can raise voter turnout, we can.”

According to her, all Finnish Student Unions are struggling with the same problem: only about 20-30% of the voting eligible students actually vote.

“If people believe their vote counts, they vote. This is a little paradoxical about the council elections: the voter turnout is so low, one vote can make or break a candidate. If you don’t decide, other people will do so for you”, says Komminaho.

In the Student Council elections, students elect 37 council members and their deputy members to the Student Council, which is the highest deciding body in the Student Union of the University of Oulu. Among other things, the Student Council decides how much the student union fee will be and how the Student Union uses the money. The advance voting begins on Wednesday 1.11. at 9 am and ends on Monday 6.11. at 4 pm. On election day 7.11. the electronic voting is open between 9 am and 4 pm. Read more at the Student Union website.

Translation: Elli Lassila.

Published 6.11.2017

Anni Hyypiö

Oulun ylioppilaslehden päätoimittaja. Henkensä pitimiksi tuottaa säännöllisen epäsäännöllisesti kirjoituksia, kuvia ja kuvituksia maailmasta ja sen menosta. Instagram: @anniskelualue. Twitter: @AnniHyypio

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