President of the St Andrews Students’ Association, Paloma Paige, and Councillor Dominic Nolan have called for the St Andrews Community Council elections to be postponed.
Both parties have expressed concern over the voter registration deadline last week, Friday 10 August, only eight days after it was posted on the Community Council’s website.
Advertisement of guidelines and notifications has been lacking
Speaking to The Courier, Mr Nolan said, “[the] deadline has been inadequately advertised and leaves little time for an organised effort to get people registered.”
Given that many students were on summer break when the deadline was called, student turnout is expected to be low for the Thursday 4 October election.
In response to this expectation, the Association President has written a letter to the Community Council Chair, Callum Macleod. The letter urges the chair and other Council members to move to carry the deadline to register to vote and postpone the election to a later date.
Four students, three of whom are ex-oficio (including Ms Paige), currently sit on the Community Council.
Thousands of students could lose out
Speaking to The Saint, Ms Paige said, “By having the voter registration deadline in early August students in particular will be disadvantaged as many will not have moved into their term-time address and so would be unlikely to be registered.
“Thousands of students could lose out on the opportunity to decide who their Community Councillors will be for the rest of their time at St Andrews, as the Council is elected for four years. The St Andrews Community Council elections have been delayed to January in the past to encourage student participation and I see no reason why this should not be done again.”
Ms Paige furthermore took issue with the deadline to register as a candidate which falls on Thursday 6 September.
“Student residences open 8 September. Thus it makes it very difficult for us to support our students in engaging. I would add though many incoming first year students will be registering upon arrival the week of Monday 10 September.
“There is no guidance on either the Community Council’s or the Fife Council’s websites for how to nominate or campaign.”
The Saint has reached out to St Andrews Community Council for comment.