Analysis: The story of these elections
With the results now announced, Alan Belmore looks at the five key aspects which make the story of the elections
Turnout has been incredible with 5,270 people voting in the elections, up from 3,972 last year, with a total of 40,218 ballots cast. That will be seen as a massive achievement for YUSU, as well as the candidates who enthused voters to go out and vote.
An easy explanation for the rise in turnout could be an increase in the number of Presidential candidates. The thinking suggests that with seven candidates, they'll all get their supporters to vote, widening the number of people who participate. However only four of the candidates were really taking the election seriously and only three candidates gained more than 400 votes.
What's more likely is that voters were reacting to being given a real choice in these elections. Unlike the last few years where in the eyes of the electorate they were being offered much of a much-ness, both Kallum Taylor and Zahra Latif offered a strong, distinct vision for YUSU and one which meant voters had a real choice.
Add Peter Warner-Medley into the mix whose campaign was very different from traditional presidential candidates and voters this year were given a real choice between candidates with strong personalities.
Also, the part-time candidates did their bit too, notably Asiya Elgady's campaign for Racial Equalities Officer and Mike Anstey and Ankita Chawla's campaign for International Officer made sure that it wasn't just sabbs who were making sure people were out and voting.
It was a good night for the favourites
The two biggest favourites were undoubtedly the incumbents - Bob Hughes and Graeme Osborn who had the benefit of name recognition. Both candidates easily won with over 60% of the vote. The result will seem a bit harsh on their opponents who all ran strong campaigns, and Eppie Leishman will be particularly disappointed after running one of the strongest campaigns of any candidate.
It was also good news for early favourites Kallum Taylor and Charlotte Winter who won Union President and York Sport President respectively. However, this seems less down to the fabled 'name recognition' and more to do with incredibly hard work from the two of them. Both Taylor and Winter put everything into their campaigns and won the elections in no small part due to their incredible effort.
In the part-time officer jobs, all the candidates who ran unopposed were comfortably returned, with the votes for RON never going above 400. The only incumbent running in the part-time roles was also re-elected, with Isobel Edwards winning the Environment and Ethics race.
But there were some surprises...
However, the elections didn't all go to the narrative that was expected and the big surprise of the night was the Student Activities Officer result. Chris West was long touted as an 'outsider' for the position, against Helen Marrison who has a lot of experience in URY and as Student Development Assembly Chair and favourite Hannah Brearley, former YUSU Volunteering Officer and Nouse Chief Sub-Editor.
However, a diligent campaign and a strong set of policies meant that West was able to triumph, beating Brearley in the final round by 134 votes. It was very much a personal victory for someone who, like Winter and Taylor, had put absolutely everything he had into his campaign.
Also the incredible showing from Latif can be considered somewhat of a surprise. The narrative of the presidential race was meant to be a battle between two college chairs, yet with an incredible hustings performance and a fantastic campaign, which again she poured everything into she put herself in a straight race with Taylor for the job.
And for an 'outsider' as many described her before the race, she did amazingly well to come within 384 votes of winning the race.
Vanbrugh Loves You (and being loyal)
The Vanbrugh vote was crucial to the elections, particularly as they saw one of the highest turnouts of any college. No more so was this true than the Presidential race where they rewarded Taylor with over 600 votes, which represented more than a third of his total votes in the first round. With a winning margin of under 400, it is perhaps testament to Taylor's work as College Chair that Vanbrugh's vote took him across the line.
But it wasn't just Taylor who was the recipient of the loyal Vanbrugh vote, and new Students Activities Officer West was rewarded for his time on the Vanbrugh JCRC and twice as head STYC with a large block vote in that race. Whilst Brearley won James College comfortably, their significantly lower turnout handed victory to West.
Former Vanbrugh Male Welfare Officer Nick Hall will also be very grateful to his 200 votes from Vanbrugh, especially as he won by only 19 votes, and the Vanbrugh vote secured second place for Wigley in the Welfare Officer race.
A note for Vanbrugh JCRC members considering running next time: do as good a job for your college as Taylor, West, Wigley and Hall and they will reward you.
The exit polls got it right!
When writing the exit polls analysis on Tuesday, I added hundreds of caveats about how the result might not go the way the polls showed. In hindsight, I needn't have bothered with The Yorker's and YUSU's exit poll calling the winners in all five races.
They were so accurate in fact that we called the proportion of first preferences for Taylor to within 0.5% and all other candidates within a startlingly close accuracy. The average margin of error was 4%, although The Yorker's poll frequently overestimated the number of votes that would be cast for RON. Perhaps lots of RON supporters were telling us they had voted, when in fact their apathy meant they never logged on?
The YUSU polls also were a lot more accurate than last time, correctly predicting all the races, although suggested that the Presidential race would be a lot closer than it turned out.
Candidates were quick to talk down the exit polls on Thursday after they got it so wrong last year. Next year, they might wait on them with a bit more of a baited breath.