Voter turnout in this year's University Students' Council election was 24.1 per cent, beating last year's turnout.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. today and the elections governance committee provided the turnout numbers to The Gazette shortly afterward. Results will not be available until tomorrow evening to allow for a time period for elections violations submissions.
The 24 per cent turnout means that whatever the result of the referendum, it will be considered valid, exceeding the 20 per cent turnout of eligible voters requirement.
In 2014, voter turnout was 19.6 per cent. Last year, voter turnout was 23.7 per cent, with 7,747 undergraduate students casting their ballots. However, 1,314 of those students didn’t vote for a presidential slate.
The USC used a new voting system that other universities have used to avoid the many problems past years elections have faced.
"So far, from the feedback I've gotten is the system is working well, the system is secure and running as it should be," said Andrew Chorney, USC chief returning officer.
Shortly after 8 p.m. today, they will get a report certifying the results and confirming there were no breaches.
The new system only allows users to see voter turnout, not what the votes are. Furthermore, until the results are announced tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., the only people who will know the outcome of the election will be Chorney and the USC's IT manager, Geoff Pimlatt. This is in contrast to previous years when incumbent executives would know rolling results throughout the voting period, leading to allegations of vote count leaks.
Candidates and students will have until 12 a.m. tonight to submit elections violations and the elections committee will determine if any violations could potentially lead to a candidate's disqualification.
Candidates have been careful this year to not break any rules, asking questions of the elections committee before doing something. This is in contrast to last year's election, when both presidential slates were awarded double digit demerit points, leading to the eventual disqualification of Team Litchfield.
"I think that the majority of candidates have been very careful this election season," Chorney said. "A lot have asked a lot of great questions when they weren't sure and everyone has been very proactive I think in this election season — I think it's made for a relatively less chaotic election season from an elections governance committee perspective."
The new system will also provide more data to identify what faculties have the highest or lowest voting turnouts. This will help the USC in targeting their messaging next year to certain faculties to get more students voting.
With files from Hamza Tariq.