How low is too low?

What kind of mandate does a student union president have when only five per cent of students supported them?

Last week, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa held their annual elections. Voter turn-out was just over 10 per cent. The head of student elections told La Rotonde, U of O’s French-language student newspaper, that he was pleased with the turn-out, despite the fact that it dropped by almost 50 per cent from the year before, because he’d expected it to be even lower. He blamed the decline on a return to paper ballots and ending online voting.

The 11.5 per cent turnout is on the low side when compared to other universities but it’s not the lowest.

This was a close election; the president-elect won by less than one percentage point. And that’s what really gets me, one of the main jobs of student unions is representing students but can someone really represent a group when 95 per cent of the members didn’t vote for them?

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.