Sussex SU elections experience lowest voter turnout in years

Only 17.1 per cent of students cast their vote

The University of Sussex Students’ Union elections have drawn to a close, after a solid week of rigorous campaigning from all candidates. This year’s voter turnout rate, however, is the University’s worst in over five years.

Only 3,043 of the 17,803 current students (according to the Students’ Union website) at University participated in this year’s student elections — a turnout rate of just 17.1 per cent.

Student turnout to union elections was on the rise until last year, when only 3,601 students (23.3 per cent) voted compared to the previous year’s turnout of a comparatively staggering 4,725 (34.4 per cent).

This marks the second year in a row where student voter turnout is on the decrease, despite an increase in the number of students enrolled at the University. At this stage, it is unclear why the turnout to vote in this year’s student elections was so poor compared to the years prior to 2016.

The Student’s Union offered free candy floss and pizza to students who voted in the election, in order to encourage a better voter turnout and reward those who partook in the democratic election. Earlier this week, the Students’ Union even brought in a dinosaur to encourage students to cast their vote.

Breakdown of past Students’ Union election voter turnouts


3,601 voters, 15,433 students (23.3 per cent)


4,725 voters, 13,725 students (34.4 per cent)


4,411 voters, 13,868 students (31.8 per cent)


3,866 voters, 13,103 students (29.5 per cent)


3,511 voters, 13,166 students (26.7 per cent)


The official number of enrolled students at Sussex for the academic year 2016-2017 has not yet been released by the University. This year’s figure is from the Students’ Union.

The Students’ Union has been approached for comment