Forcing students to vote for you on their phones isn’t guerrilla tactics, it’s just wrong

Put your hands up if you’ve lost all your faith in democracy this election


Although the real world has recently made us all give up on the concept of democracy, it was always pretty safe to assume that student elections are still being run as democratically as possible.

Or are they?

In my first year at King's, back when I was an easily-influenced 18-year-old who definitely avoided conflict at all costs, I experienced election candidates running around Strand campus and physically forcing students to vote for them, right there and then. So, as a second year, I told myself that if this happened again, I would confront these candidates face-to-face. And to no one's surprise, it didn't happen just once, but three times, all in the same day.

Posted by KCLSU on Monday, March 5, 2018

Three different candidates thought it was appropriate to interrupt the conversation I was having with a first year student to ask us if we had our phones on us and, after we said yes, demanding that we vote for them right there as it would only take "10 seconds".

Now, there's nothing wrong with candidates promoting themselves around campus – it's actually a very smart idea and gives candidates and voters a chance to get to know each other better on a personal level.

Yet, these candidates did not even bother explaining their manifestos or what they were hoping to do with their positions, they simply just intimidated students to vote and would not leave them alone until they did so. They thought it was appropriate to refuse to leave our table until we voted for them and one candidate even took my phone out of my hand to try to vote for himself when I refused to do it.

It may be just a student election, but student union officers actually have a really huge say in what happens not only to our union, but to our experience at King's as well. And with a hefty salary of over £23k a year for many of those elected, shouldn't we be voting for the person who we believe actually deserves the position and will make a difference to our experience at KCL?

So, with today being the last day in which you can vote for KCLSU elections, it's probably safe to say that if you're anywhere on campus, you'll probably experience the same thing. But instead of caving into the pressure like I did in first year, vote wisely.

KCLSU may be "a democratic charity" but at the end of the day, it is led by students and we should be the ones aware of and standing up for these injustices, however small they may seem.

You can read candidate manifestos and vote here until 5pm today.