Young Greens Co-chairs Siobhan MacMahon and Clifford Fleming will be joined by a new committee 2013-14. Image: YGEW

The Young Greens, the youth branch of the Green Party of England and Wales, have elected a new National Executive Committee following their first ever national online ballot of all members.

In what is potentially a first for a major youth party branch, the Young Greens sent electronic ballots via email to over 4,000 members last month, with the results in over the weekend at their convention in Brighton – their largest annual gathering with over 150 registrations from activists across the country.

While turnout was just under 6% (239 voted), it far outstripped previous in-person turnouts, and sets a precedent for other youth parties to follow. It marked an exciting experiment in e-democracy and something to build on in the future. If the Young Greens can do it, why can’t other parties?

Incumbent co-chairs Siobhan MacMahon and Clifford Fleming were re-elected uncontested after a successful year for the youth section, with membership doubling since March alone.

Clifford Fleming, newly-elected co-chair said: “The Young Greens are leading the way as the most democratic youth branch, pioneering this exciting experiment in online democracy in what is potentially the first of its kind among youth branches. We hope we can set an example for other parties in showing that not only is this the right thing to do but it is also easy, efficient and effective.

“Though there are improvements which could be made, this is an encouraging first attempt which we will build on in future, expanding the engagement of our over-4000 members and building our party from the bottom-up.

“Grassroots democracy isn’t just a slogan – it’s a reality in the Green Party, and we hope to go from strength to strength with our new committee this year, after doubling in size since March alone. The future’s bright for the Young Greens – and we encourage all those who value social justice and the environment to get involved with a truly participatory party.”

The results

There were nine candidates for six non-portfolio positions. The full first preference results for the NEC are as follows (first preference votes in brackets):

Thom French (45 votes, incumbent), Georgia Elander (45), Thomas Pashby (30), Shihab Basit (29), Fiona Costello (26, incumbent), Sofiya Ahmed (18), Sophie van der Ham (18, incumbent following co-option), Farhan Chatta (13), Elaha Walizadeh (5).

After eight rounds of the STV election system doing its stuff, those elected were Shihab Basit, Thomas Pashby, Fiona Costello, Sophie van der Ham, Thom French, and Georgia Elander. Thomas Bolitho was elected as Treasurer uncontested, while Charlene Concepcion, Matthew Clark, and Joseph Clough were elected to the Structures and Procedures Committee.

Congratulations to those who won and commiserations to the unsuccessful candidates. Best of luck to the new committee from the team at Bright Green.