Worcester Students’ Union Elections General Rules The Returning Officer shall be responsible for the proper running of all Students’ Union elections. Furthermore, the Education Act 1994 Section 22 requires the University to ensure that the Students’ Union operates in a fair and democratic manner, that appointment to major union offices is by election in a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote and that the elections are fairly and properly conducted. All nominations, manifestos and photos must be received by the date and time advertised and any nominations submitted after this date and time will be disregarded. Nomination forms will be checked to ensure that all nominees, proposers and seconders are eligible and that all other regulations are adhered to. On completion of these checks, the names of all candidates will be published on the notice board in the Students’ Union and on the Worcester Students’ Union website within two working days.
Rules for Candidates 1. Eligibility Any full member of Worcester Students’ Union may submit a nomination to be a candidate for election, provided the nomination is supported by two other full members.
Who is a “full member” of Worcester Students’ Union? Any student registered on a course of study with the University of Worcester, whether fulltime or part-time, is automatically deemed a full member of Worcester Students’ Union, unless they have chosen formally to opt out of membership or are an associate member. “Student staff” employed on a part-time basis by Worcester Students’ Union and students who are employed on a part-time basis by the University of Worcester, such as Student Ambassadors, are still deemed full members of Worcester Students’ Union. Any student whose full membership of Worcester Students’ Union is currently suspended as a result of the disciplinary process is not eligible to stand as a candidate, to propose or second a candidate or to vote in the elections.
2. Candidates’ briefing It is mandatory for candidates to attend the briefing session, which will be delivered by the Chief Executive. This will be held at 4:00pm on Friday 2nd March. At this time, rules and regulations concerning the election campaign will be fully explained and candidates will have the opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on issues of concern. Any candidate genuinely unable to attend the briefing session must contact the Membership Services Manager Ruth Christie by 3:00pm on Friday 2nd March. Email email@example.com
3. Campaigning When can I start campaigning? No campaigning can begin until you are confirmed as a candidate. Confirmation of all eligible candidates will form part of the candidates’ briefing. Campaigning will begin at 9am on Monday 5th March.
Why do I need a manifesto? Anyone wishing to stand as a candidate for election to any position must submit a manifesto and photo of themselves as well as signed nomination papers. The manifesto is a public declaration of your intentions, beliefs, aims and policies, which will give voters a flavour of what you would bring to the position for which you’re standing. All manifestos will be published, both on the Students’ Union website and in the Elections Booklet, which will be widely distributed. You must email your manifesto, in Microsoft Word format, together with a photo of yourself, as a jpeg file, to Beky Williams, Communications Coordinator at the Students’ Union, by midday on Friday 2nd March. If you’re having technical any problems or need some advice, call in and speak to Beky or email firstname.lastname@example.org before this deadline. The limit for manifestos is 200 words, so you can’t afford to waffle – grab the voters’ attention by keeping it short and sweet, using bullet points rather than sentences. The Elections Committee, made up of current students and the SU President, will check over the manifestos and will advise candidates if they are making any claims or plans which they would not have the authority to carry out in office. No-one will check your spelling or grammar though! All candidates are also encouraged to submit a short video clip, “A minute to win it”, which gives you just 60 seconds to get your message across. Students will be able to access these clips on the SU website and YouTube.
What kind of publicity material can I produce? Every candidate will be allocated a budget to help them publicise their campaign. This budget must not be exceeded, because we want to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to make their case. You will be provided with a menu of options on which you can spend your budget, but only materials authorised by Worcester Students’ Union are allowed. If you decide that you want posters, flyers or similar printed material, you must provide a hard copy to the SU Administrator, who will produce copies for you. All publicity material must be submitted to the Students’ Union and approved by the Elections Committee in advance. You must not make defamatory statements about other candidates and you must not use language or images which might be considered offensive, discriminatory or which might bring either Worcester Students’ Union or the University of Worcester into disrepute. You will be told where you may and where you may not display campaigning material. You may not use your own laptop as an unofficial polling station anywhere on campus. Contravention of these rules may lead to immediate disqualification as a candidate. The final decision about the suitability or otherwise of campaigning materials rests with the Returning Officer. If you wish to nominate another full member of the Students’ Union as an agent, who will act on your behalf to help promote your campaign, particularly during your absence, you should send this person’s contact details and University of Worcester ID number to Ruth Christie email@example.com before Monday 5th March at 9am.
Can I use social networking sites to promote my campaign? You may not use Worcester Students’ Union’s Facebook, Twitter feed or website to campaign. Any candidate reporting in writing that another, or any connected person, has made remarks about them on a social networking site which are untrue, abusive, defamatory or offensive will have their complaint examined by the Elections Committee. Where a candidate’s complaint is upheld, this will be reported to the Returning Officer and appropriate action will be taken. If you want to be sure that any messages you are putting on social networking sites are appropriate, please ask the Membership Services Manager to review them for you.
Can I campaign while I’m working at the SU or the University? Many students are employed to work part-time by the Students’ Union (for instance, as student staff in the bar or the shop) or by the University (such as Student Ambassadors). You must not take advantage of your employment to campaign whilst at work. All employees of Worcester Students’ Union and the University of Worcester are prohibited from wearing or displaying any clothes or materials which show support for any particular candidate for election and this includes candidates themselves. Any employees found to be doing so, whether or not they themselves are candidates, will face possible disciplinary action and their actions will be reported to the Returning Officer. Candidates must not wear any clothes or badges which identify them as current officers of Worcester Students’ Union.
Can I get external sponsorship or endorsement? This is not permissible. You may have personal or professional friends or colleagues outside the University who are keen to support your campaign and are willing to help promote your campaign, but this would give you an unfair advantage over another candidate and would constitute a “gift in kind” which would exceed the allocated budget allowance. This kind of sponsorship or endorsement will only be allowed if you have written consent in advance from the Membership Services Manager, which would only be given if: a) There is no cost involved and b) The promotion and publicity is available to all candidates standing for election
What happens to all of the campaign materials after the elections? When voting closes at 4pm on 14th March, before results are announced, all candidates will be required to remove all posters, flyers and any other campaign materials from all University properties and sites. Students’ Union staff will be on hand to check that this has been done.
4. Candidates’ questions and answers All candidates for election to the Sabbatical positions must attend this event, which is to be held on Tuesday 6th March from 12:30 – 2:30pm in the Pear Tree. This meeting will be an opportunity for candidates to explain their ideas and plans and to answer questions about their manifestos and priorities. The event will be chaired by the Deputy Returning Officer, the Registrar and Secretary of the University of Worcester. Students will be invited to submit in advance questions that they would like the chair to put to the candidates. Questions should be emailed in the first instance to the Membership Services Manager, Ruth Christie firstname.lastname@example.org by 9am on Tuesday 6th March.
Every candidate in turn will have the opportunity to make a short speech outlining their reasons for standing and explaining why they feel they are suitable for the role. The Deputy Returning Officer will then put questions received in writing in advance to the candidates. All candidates for the same role will be asked to answer the same question, in turn. Questions will then be invited from the floor and again, all candidates for the same role will be asked to answer. The Deputy Returning Officer has the right to withhold questions which are deemed inappropriate and may advise candidates not to answer questions from the floor which are deemed inappropriate.
5. Voting All full members of Worcester Students’ Union are entitled to vote. Voting is entirely online and is undertaken via individuals’ SOLE pages. Voting will open on 8am on Thursday 8th March and will close at 4pm on Wednesday 14th March. Staff will be on hand in the Students’ Union to help any students who have questions about the voting system or who are having any difficulties voting. The voting system used by Worcester Students’ Union and by many other students’ unions is the Alternative Vote. This allows all voters to rank all candidates for each position in a preferred order. Rather than just choosing one candidate, Students’ Union members get a first, second, third and subsequent choices according to the number of candidates, so they have more than one opportunity to influence the results. For each position, voters also have the option to vote to re-open the nominations (RON). Voters can choose to rank all candidates for a position, or just to indicate their preferences for some. Where there are a number of candidates for a position, if a candidate receives over 50% first-preference votes (more people put them as number one than all the rest combined), then that person is elected. If no single candidate wins at that stage, the candidate with the fewest firstpreference votes is out of the running and the second-preference votes of those who chose that candidate as their first choice are redistributed. This process is repeated, as necessary, until one candidate’s votes reach the 50% + 1 mark, at which stage that candidate is declared the winner. If the winner is RON, the Students’ Union will make arrangements to re-open nominations at the earliest possible opportunity. Following the close of voting at 4pm on Wednesday 14th March, while candidates are removing campaigning material from all University properties and sites, the results will be counted and calculated using the AV system and under the direction of the Returning Officer. Results will be announced from 8pm in the Pear Tree.