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Oxford University Student Union elections have a bad case of the hanging chads after moving to an online voting system dependent on emails.

Unfortunately the emails failed to arrive in time, and many students were unable to vote on the first day of the two day election.

Some 19,000 students were meant to receive emails containing "unique voter codes" overnight on Monday. Only trouble was they failed to arrive. By lunchtime on Tuesday - the first day of voting - thousands were still waiting for their numbers.

Jack Wellby, vice president of charities and community at OUSU, told us: "We moved to this system to improve voter turnout. The problem is that all ballot boxes need a volunteer Returning Officer which is a problem for the smaller, graduate colleges. So graduate students end up having to vote at other colleges and many don't bother."

Wellby said he was sure the email problems would be fixed in time for students to vote. The elections run from Tuesday to Thursday. This student blog has updates.

It seems the days of hard-fought, ideologically rabid elections could be over even without technical failings. A survey by student mag Cherwell last week found only 18 per cent of Oxford students were even aware there was an election happening*. ®

Bootnote

*And most of that 18 per cent said they would vote for McCain.

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