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Apathy over ARB election sees turnout hit all-time low

Voter turnout for the ARB elections has reached an all-time low - dropping 13 per cent in just six years - as a result of the 'alienation of the board from normal members', critics claim.

Of 30,706 eligible voters, only 6,189 returned their ballots on time (20%); and 244 ballot papers were spoiled. This continues a downward trend in the three elections since the ARB replaced ARCUK in 1997. In 1997, 7,395 eligible architects voted for the ARB board, a figure which dropped to 7,017 in 2000, before reaching this year's low point.

Newly elected board member Yasmin Shariff - formerly a member of the RIBA's ruling council - believes the figures have dropped because 'of the way the board disassociates itself from working architects'. 'We need a new kind of representation from the ARB board, ' she said. 'It needs to be far more positive about the membership and what it can achieve. ARB needs to understand more about architectural education and the skill that we bring to this society, ' Shariff added.

The other successful candidates are current vice-president Soo Ware, anti-ARB campaigner Ian Salisbury, Edward Cullinan Architects' Nita Sharma, Hereford-based Nicholas Tweddell and Chris Stead from east London.

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