back to article Oxford student vote kyboshed by email

Oxford University Student Union elections have a bad case of the hanging chads after moving to an online voting system dependent on emails. Unfortunately the emails failed to arrive in time, and many students were unable to vote on the first day of the two day election. Some 19,000 students were meant to receive emails …


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  1. John Macintyre


    "And most of that 18 per cent said they would vote for McCain."

    Over other leading brands of chip in the campus canteen. McCain representatives were said to be on standby to send a truckload of their delicacy over in the event of success

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  3. yeah, right.

    Oxbridge FAIL

    Reality: 1, Oxford 0.

    Email is not a guaranteed delivery mechanism. Idiots.

  4. Thomas Bottrill

    In America

    When I was at university in America, the e-voting system was integrated with the university computing account. So you logged in using your university credentials and were then presented with a list of elections that you could vote in.

    Why not implement an SSO system, rather than relying on insecure e-mail?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    one possible cause

    I suspect they sent the emails via a hidden laptop using the McDonalds hotspot while cooking fries. Bet they all got blocked.

    Hilton? because she's like a burger, cheap, forgettable and covered in mayonnaise

  6. John Bayly
    Thumb Down

    Lazy students

    "So graduate students end up having to vote at other colleges and many don't bother."

    WTF, Oxford isn't a big place, it took about an hour to walk from my house in Headington into the centre (it's probably the furthest point in the city from the centre)

    Almost all the colleges are jammed into the city centre, and the walk to the closest college can't be more the 5 minutes.

    Voting apathy isn't something you can fix that easily. My uni was just as bad though, one year they gave out Mars bars to voters. Yup, let's bribe people into voting.

  7. Gulfie
    Thumb Up

    @John Bayly

    At my polytechnic the student union took to adding a zero to all vote totals when they published them. Somehow they seemed to think that this was less embarassing than admitting that only 300 of 6000 students bothered to vote. But of course they had to explain the fact that they were doing this... so the only people who were remotely fooled were visitors...

  8. Michael

    No great loss

    The people who stand for SU elections are generally even less useful than their parliamentary counterparts.

  9. Roger Hughes

    academic standards

    Can we discount Peter Nordberg's opinion? He's clearly not an insider, since anyone at Oxford would naturally be capable of distinguishing between principle and principal.

    It would certainly be the case at one of the great universities, at any rate.

  10. Christoph Silver badge


    Did they check which candidate's supporters *didn't* get their emails 'accidentally delayed'?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I was at University

    Voting turnout was really low, and had historically always been that way.

    One year the PTB decided that they needed to do something about voter apathy so tried all sorts of tricks, campaigns, harassment etc. to increase turnout.

    The inherent thing about apathy and laziness is that those who don't care aren't suddenly going to care because someone they don't care about tells them to care, and those that can't be bothered just can't be bothered.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    OUSU elections are a joke anyway. Those that care vote always vote for some left-wing liberal tit; those that don't care vote for the "Joke Candidates". You can go through years at Oxford without OUSU having a bearing on your life, as most students are represented by their colleges.

    But yeah - relying on e-mail = FAIL. That said, as OUSU is kinda autonomous, I bet they asked if they could use the Oxford Computing Services SSO to authenticate users by their university accounts and vote online that way, and got told to bugger off...

  13. Steve Foster

    @John Bayly

    "Voting apathy isn't something you can fix that easily."

    Oh yes, it is. Paying folks for voting would work wonders. And, no, it's not a bribe. There is an expenditure of time and effort in voting, and it's not unreasonable for that time to be recompensed - the money NuLabour have wasted on electronic voting could easily have been used to pay everyone a fiver each time they voted. The appropriate fee for students is, of course, a pint of beer (or, since it's Oxford we're talking about, a glass of Dom, perhaps?)...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm just surprised that OUSU were actually trying to encourage voter turnout. I thought their normal approach was to get most of their cronies into unelected positions and then throw their toys out of the pram when people noticed the lack of democracy. It's about time they realised that they'll never actually be a useful body for the whole uni and settled into the status of being a small club.

  15. Badminstyles

    Single Sign On

    We do have a SSO system, but I don't think the combination of OUSU and OUCS (Ox Uni Computer Services) would be able to get their act together to implement something as time difficult as a pesky little voting system. I mean, have you even seen the state of the Herald webmail interface - i can't imagine how difficult they would make it to vote?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ac - one possible cause

    "covered in mayonnaise"

    erm, i hate to tell you; that's NOT mayo......

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down



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