How to lose votes and alienate people

Tired of being hassled by gormless grinning candidates? Ben Kennedy tells us the 5 most infuriating aspects of this year’s SU election.


In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s SU election time again. But for the many of us who a) have no involvement with any aspect of the SU, and b) don’t have any friends involved in campaigns guilt-tripping us to vote for a particular candidate, there seems to be little incentive to bother voting, especially in your final year.

For candidates, students that fall into these categories are the toughest to crack. We’re generally uninterested in anybody’s propositions, many of us hold the prejudice that candidates are just wannabe BNOCs, and we feel that all voting will achieve, is a lot of bullshit on a lot of candidate’s CVs.

Yet few campaigns seem to acknowledge this issue. We find campaigns to be nothing more than irritating. For many of us it’s the busiest time of the year, and the last thing we want to have to deal with right deciding which brightly-coloured t-shirt wearing, nauseatingly angelic busy-body has irritated us the least.

So here are, what I deem to be, the problems with most of the campaigns and what leads many students not to bother voting:

Bothering students in the library

If I’m sat alone, with my laptop open and my earphones in, I CLEARLY don’t want to be bothered just so you can tell me about how great you are. Hallward is a place of study, and candidates who parade around the second floor might as well have giant glowing arrow above their head saying ‘I’m a shitbag, don’t vote for me!’

Coming across like TJ Detweiler

I say this because, like Recess’s TJ Detweiler, some candidates come across as irritatingly smug and self-righteous when campaigning. One candidate approached me the other day (in the library no less) wearing a backwards baseball cap and a puffer jacket, addressing me as ‘blud’. You can be either likeable by being humble and straightforward with someone, or ‘hip’ by acting like a pompous prick – you cannot do both.

Campaigns based on a pointless link to pop culture

Understandably, candidates want their campaign to stand out from the crowd. But the solution to this isn’t to merely, nick someone else’s. Using popular pre-existing brands such as the TV show Friends, MTV, and the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ marketing disease for no other reason than ‘students like that sort of shit’ is nothing more than patronising and unprofessional.

Relentless flyering

It should be common knowledge by now that shoving flyers down people’s throats outside Portland does nothing other than destroy a few thousand acres of rainforest. I shouldn’t feel the need to pretend I’m on the phone just to be able to get into Hallward without being harassed with awkward questions. Raising awareness may be a tough job, but intimidating students sure as hell isn’t the right way to go about it. Although please don’t stop giving out lollipops – a foolproof vote catcher.

The Dark Knight

In case you didn’t know, Batman is running for president. Why are the SU wasting their time allowing someone who’s obviously not serious about the role run for President? It’s ridiculing the entire election and just adds to the growing consensus that voting is a waste of time.

I’m not attacking any particular campaign (aside from Batman’s), and I am by no means anti-SU. All I am suggesting is that candidates should think more about their voters, think more about when campaigning turns into unproductive bothering, and think more about what reasons any of us really have to give a crap about their what I’m sure are good-as-gold intentions.

Perhaps then, someone might actually bother to vote.

Are you sick of being harassed by SU candidates? Is there anything you would add to this list? Get your voice heard and comment below!