Don't vote? Don't complain

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media

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The Kent Union leadership elections are just around the corner and it is important that as many of us vote as possible. The Union is an organisation that prides itself on being the “voice of all students”, and so it is down to our student body to ensure that this claim is as accurate as it can be.

Kent Union is made up of five full-time officers whose jobs involve campaigning to better student experience in areas such as education, welfare, sports and activities. All of these affect student lives and so it is crucial that as many students as possible have their say when it comes to who gets elected. The union plays a bigger part in university life than many of us realise – not only are they there to improve the experience that students have during their time at Kent, they also run the job shop and the advice centre. The officers are there to be the connecting force between students and the university administration; this is only effective if they are chosen by as many students as possible, and thereby reflect students needs.

The more people that vote, the better democracy works and the fairer the outcome will be. The Kent Union leadership elections may not be in the same league as the general election or the Brexit referendum, but it is still significant that we exercise our right to vote. In this election, it is guaranteed that all votes will make a difference, even if it is simply making the gap between the elected and the unelected a small one. The union is all about students and so there is no point in wasting a vote that directly affects you.

Ultimately, if you don’t vote in the election then you can’t complain if things aren’t working out in your favour. Voting in the leadership elections is the best way to ensure that you see the type of change and campaign that you want. If something happens or is decided that you disagree with, you can hold the officers to account. By taking the time to read manifestos before voting, you can see for yourself whether they are fulfilling what they promised they would do. Not participating in the vote means that you don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about the progress of the elected members over the course of the year. There have been times over the last year where the current union has done things that have not be received well by students. If we don’t want this to be a common occurrence over the next year then we need to vote for the candidates that have a positive effect on the University of Kent.

If you want to be represented in the best possible way, then read manifestos, listen to campaigns, and vote for who you think is best suited to represent the student body. If you want to have a say in where money is being spent, what facilities need to be improved and what can be put in place to make student life easier, then it is your responsibility to vote for your next set of Kent Union officers.

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