Class notes – 1969 Graduation ball

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Alumnus John Harvey (BSc Electronic Engineering, 1971) shared with us a picture of his graduation ball ticket and his memories of a rather unusual student election:

“I remember one Student Union election where the outgoing officer had a dispute with the Union and deliberately resigned on the penultimate day of his term of office.  The Union rules stated that an election had to be held and one was therefore organised. As the term of office was going to be 24 hours, about 1,500 – roughly one in three of all students) stood as candidates.

“A Single Transferable Vote system was used at the time so students could vote for more than one person. When counting, votes for the candidate coming last were redistributed among those left according to the voter’s second preference; and so on and on; until one person had more than 50 per cent of the vote.

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“Voters took advantage of this and listed completely random preferences as far down as they could on the ballot papers. I listed hundreds and hundreds of preferences for people I had never even heard of.

It took all day to count the votes and the result wasn’t even ready by the next day.  Apparently, when the winner was told she had won, she said: ‘Oh! Did I?’ However, she was unable to take office as her term had already expired.

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