With voting underway in the first University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) election to see ballots cast online, early reports are showing a high turnout by members.
In the first 12 hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, a full 14.57 per cent of members cast a ballot, according to UMSU CRO Michael Catanese.
That number nearly matches last year’s overall turnout of 16.82 per cent, which included ballots cast across the U of M’s multiple campuses over three days of in-person voting. The percentage turnout from the first 12 hours also surpasses the overall turnout – 13.8 per cent – of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association’s 2017 election, which ended yesterday.
In the past 20 years, UMSU voter turnout has only reached as high as 23.7 per cent, a record set in 2013.
The University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association already uses online voting for its elections and referendums, as do student unions at some of the country’s largest universities, including the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, the University of Victoria, and McMaster University, among others.
This year, two slates – One UMSU and UMSU United – are facing off for the union’s five executive positions. Of the union’s five community representative positions, the international students’ representative and women’s representative positions are contested, the LGBTTQ* and Aboriginal students’ representative positions each have a single uncontested candidate, and no students are running for the students living with disabilities representative.
Voting runs until 6 p.m. Friday, with results to be announced that night.
All full-time undergraduate students at the University of Manitoba, including distance ed students, are members of UMSU and eligible to vote. Members are able to log in to vote at umsu.simplyvoting.com using their UMnetID and password.
For more news on the 2017 UMSU General Elections, check here. For more information on candidates running for the executive and community representative positions, check out our video interview series.