Oxford University bid to quit NUS declared void after more than 1,000 fake votes are discovered

 

Following claims of ballot-stuffing and “serious irregularities”, Oxford University’s Student Union has rejected the results of a student-wide referendum to leave the NUS.

It has been discovered that over a thousand “unique voter codes” – used to vote online – which had never been assigned to students, were nevertheless used to vote “No” in short bursts at a similar time. The votes, cast through software called Mi-Voice, have been traced to the same IP address.

Wednesday’s result, in which the “No” campaign received 1,780 votes to 1,652 for “Yes”, now no longer stands after it was overturned by a committee at OUSU, the student union.

The incident is understood to have been referred to the University’s Proctors’ Office, which deals with student discipline.

The real result is thought to be 70 per cent in favour of staying in the national union.

“Votes were cast using a significant number of codes which were never distributed to voters,” the ruling read.

“According [sic] we direct the Returning Officer to declare this referendum result void, under Schedule 3 of the Referendum Election Regulations 26(e),” it added.

Tom Rutland, OUSU’s outgoing president and the leader of the campaign to stay in the NUS, will now bring a motion to the union’s council in two weeks to reaffiliate, meaning there is unlikely to be another poll.

The original complaint was submitted by Jack Matthews, leader of the “No” campaign, despite the result being in his favour.

"While recognising that students did indeed vote to remain affiliated to NUS, it is hard to see how anyone can claim victory when democracy has been so brazenly violated,” he said.

"I welcome the result of the junior tribunal - it is absolutely right that the entire referendum has been voided. We must now wait for a response from other investigations which will seek to discover who perpetrated this crime. In the meantime, I would urge people to ask the questions that need to be asked for the future of OUSU, and not the ones that satisfy curiosity.”

Student Alexander Walker – the returning officer in the referendum and the chair of Monmouth Conservative Future – has resigned his post, acknowledging in a statement that “the grave situation with the NUS referendum happened under my watch”.

"In light of the recent events concerning the NUS referendum, I have come to the decision that my position is no longer tenable. Although we do not currently understand how this happened, I do not believe that I should continue in this position as with my academic pressures as a second year chemist, I am unable to fulfil my duties.”

“The Proctors are aware of the complaint made to OUSU and are monitoring developments,” a university spokesperson said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant - IT Channel - Graduate

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a Value-Added I...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Guru Careers: Junior Web Developer

£18 - 22k (DOE) + Benefits & Stock Options: Guru Careers: A Junior Developer /...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss