UCD Law students will not be able to cast votes in the new Sutherland School of Law during this year’s UCD Students’ Union (SU) elections. Instead, Law students will have to place their votes in the Quinn School of Business on the second day of polling, Thursday April 3rd, between 9.30am and 5.15pm, or in the Newman Building between the hours of 6pm and 9pm on the same day.
There will also be no polling taking place in the Newman Building at all during the first day of the elections, Wednesday April 2nd. Traditionally, all faculties have been allowed to vote in the Newman Building in the evenings of both days of polling in order to accommodate those who are unable to vote during the day.
Voting for the UCDSU elections will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, with the votes expected to be counted on Friday. Students of the Business Postgraduate, Architecture or Engineering faculties are the only ones who will be permitted to vote on the first day of polling.
Welfare and Equality Officer hopeful and fourth year Law student, Rebek’ah McKinney-Perry, has claimed that the decision to take polling out of the Sutherland School of Law “has no basis in logic”.
Meanwhile, Amy Fox, who is also a fourth year Law student and is running for the position of Undergraduate Education Officer, has described the decision as a disappointment. “Last year marked one of the lowest voter turnouts for UCDSU elections and over the past year, the Union have placed a huge emphasis on greatly improving this year’s turnout… Surely the best way to encourage voting is to ensure the opportunity is available in all buildings.”
In reference to last year’s low turnout, McKinney-Perry said that, “surely reducing polling times and completely disenfranchising an entire portion of the student body is contrary to that aim [of increasing voter numbers]. The Returning Officer made the decision on the basis that Quinn is right beside Sutherland but by that rationale so is the Engineering Building or the Newman Building.
“After speaking with the Students’ Union President Mícheál Gallagher, the decision to reduce the polling times is not a financial one. It was made solely by the Returning Officer and it is a decision I am very disappointed with. The precedent is there that Law students were able to vote in their building which previously was Roebuck but now with the new Sutherland School, there is a lot more space to set up a polling station so this decision has no basis in logic.”
UCDSU Returning Officer, Morgan Shelley, could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.