A total of 6,251 students had registered to vote in the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) elections by the time registration closed at 6pm yesterday.
If all registered students vote, this year’s sabbatical elections would see the a vast increase in turnout compared to last year.
Last year, just 2,521 students voted in the presidential race – down 800 from the previous two years. The high number of students registered to vote this year indicates a major reversal of this trend.
Secretary of the Electoral Commission (EC) and incumbent Education Officer, Megan O’Connor, confirmed the figure via Twitter yesterday evening.
Voting opened yesterday at 8pm following a week and a half of campaigning, including five hustings, and will close on Thursday at 4pm with the winners being announced later that evening.
In an interview with The University Times last week, Chair of the EC Yannick Gloster said: “Since [first-year students] feel isolated and not connected to the college, the way that they have connected is through our Instagram accounts, our Twitter accounts, or Facebook accounts, asking questions, viewing our Instagram stories and stuff like that.”
“Recognising that, we decided that we would use our social media campaigns and our platforms to be able to spotlight the candidates”, Gloster added.
With the election held entirely online this year due to lockdown restrictions, no in-person voting will take place. Instead, last August TCDSU hired an e-voting system that facilitates the single-transferable vote, signing a two-year contract with EVIABI Ltd.
The contract cost TCDSU €17,000 for the two years which covers the running of all elections in this format, including elections with bodies outside TCDSU that the union have a memorandum agreement with.
Speaking to The University Times last week, O’Connor said that the election moving online has reduced costs by around 50 per cent for TCDSU.
“Previously we were spending thousands of euro on facilitating voting anyways because all members of the electoral commission and anyone who staffs the voting booths for that entire period are all paid workers, and also there was huge printing costs, and an awful lot of the time too much would be printed”, O’Connor said.