Last-minute phone calls, text messages and emails made the number of votes in the NUS referendum exceed 15% of the number of registered students at around 10pm this evening. The original estimate of 1,800 votes was short of the mark, with the latest data from Registry indicating 2,022 votes were required for the referendum to be valid.
With 1,800 votes passed easily late on Monday afternoon, the official target of 2,022 votes drew ever closer throughout the evening, with Beit Quad full of Union officers phoning around to ensure everyone they knew had cast their vote, slightly obsessed with the turnout figure. A final push just before 22:00 this evening saw the votes roll in, with this year's NUS delegates phoning or texting as many people as possible to encourage them to vote either way.
By the time of publication the number of votes is comfortably above the number required for a valid referendum, passing the 15% barrier. This proves a number of people wrong, including former ICU President John Collins who expressed an opinion that only a "few hundred" people would vote.
Final official turnout figures will be available sometime on Tuesday, however results will not be announced until Wednesday lunchtime when both campaign teams are available to hear the result announced in the Union.
Turnout will be a couple of thousand votes below that experienced 19 months ago, when freshers were strongly encouraged to vote. However, the turnout is unprecedented for a vote in the last week of term, when most final year students either no longer care, or feel it is not their place to vote for the future. Imperial, it seems, is no longer as apathetic as it once was.
Live! will bring you the result of the referendum shortly after 13:00 on Wednesday, as soon as we have it.