Course: All of them
In each of the sabbatical and convenor elections, regardless of the number of candidates running for the position, voters will have the option of choosing ‘RON’ or ‘Re-Open Nominations’. This, in essence, is a ‘none of the above’ option, so if none of the candidates meet with your approval, you can choose to vote for none of them in addition to your right to spoil your vote or abstain from voting in the first place.
For electoral purposes, the RON option is treated exactly as if it was a human candidate, so under the Single Transferable Vote system used by the Students’ Union, which is similar to that used in Irish general elections, you can choose to give RON your number one preference, or number two or so on for the number of candidates in the election. So, for example if you have a genuine choice for who you want to win an election and if you would prefer to have nobody but your candidate get the job, you could give RON your number two preference.
If the RON option is ultimately deemed elected, the position remains unfilled, and the SU Returning Office will restart the nomination process for that position, thereby allowing new candidates to enter the election for that position. If any of this week’s elections return a RON result, a second election would have to take place at a later date.
The RON system means that candidates who are uncontested, such as in the Presidential and Graduate Education elections this year, must still convince voters to elect them rather than being entitled to take the position by default. In a year with two uncontested sabbatical elections, the RON option becomes much more important. In the Presidential election particularly, we could see a large RON result because of the importance of the position.
The RON option was first introduced in 1998 and won its first election against an uncontested Ents candidate, but has not been chosen since.