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Is is ever right to R.O.N?

Written by Campus Comment

As I’m sure you’re aware, every ballot cast in the upcoming Students Union elections will feature the controversial R.O.N option, in addition to the eligible candidates’ names. This option, which stands for ‘Re-Open Nominations’ is intended for use by those who feel that none of the presented candidates are electable.

On the one hand, it’s easy to dismiss this option as irrelevant. After all, government elections in this country have no such option- you either choose one of the proffered candidates, or protest by either refusing to vote at all, or spoiling your ballot. However, I’d argue that this has led many people to simply vote for ‘the candidate I hate the least’.  By including the R.O.N option, we prevent this attitude from spilling over into university politics.

Despite this, some would still argue that actually using R.O.N is too drastic an option, but I’m inclined to argue otherwise.

If a voter believes that one person isn’t right for the job, then they shouldn’t feel forced to vote for them

Ultimately, any student at Newcastle has the right to run in the elections, just as any student has the right to vote R.O.N. Often, the nature of a role means it attracts candidates with a certain political belief, meaning all of the candidates running are likely to hold similar views. If a voter doesn’t agree with these views, they ought to be able to request that alternative candidates are allowed to run.

Certain roles have only one candidate running. If a voter genuinely believes that one person isn’t right for the job, then they shouldn’t feel forced to vote for them just because no-one else volunteered to take the role.

Personally, there are some categories in the upcoming elections where I genuinely disagree with all of the main candidates’ views. With this in mind, I’m more than happy to vote R.O.N.  Hopefully, if enough people follow suit, new candidates might be encouraged to run, in response to the student body calling for change.

Last modified: 14th March 2020

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