RUSU Elections Rules

These rules are in place to ensure that all candidates running in the RUSU elections have equal access to the electorate during the election campaign. This access should be the same for all candidates, regardless of their personal financial situation or any previously held, current or future positions of influence.

These rules are binding and apply to all candidates (and campaign teams) running in the RUSU elections. The rules are reviewed and implemented by the Elections Committee.

The Rules in Context

It is important to remember that during the election campaign that candidates continue to be bound by sets of rules that, whilst not strictly Election Rules, still have a bearing on conduct.

Union Rules/Policies

  • This includes abiding by the Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • Candidates should be aware that breaking Union rules may result in a disciplinary.

University Rules

  • For example, the bullying and harassment code, damage to University property and buildings, the policy on acceptable use of computers and e-mail etc. This is all outlined in the University Calendar.
  • Candidates should be aware that breaking University rules can result in a University disciplinary.

The Law

  • For instance laws protecting the defacement of property and the Data Protection Act.
  • Candidates should be aware that breaking the Law can result in a civil action/criminal prosecution.

The Elections Committee

The Elections Committee will be comprised of the following:

  • The Returning Officer (an NUS staff member)
  • The Deputy Returning Officer (RUSU Chief Executive or their deputy)
  • The Chair (RUSU President) or alternate Officer Trustee (who is not a candidate in the election)
  • Another RUSU Officer Trustee who wishes to be included in the committee (and are not a candidate in the election).

In the event that all Officer Trustees are standing in the election then the Elections Committee will be formed from the RUSU Student Trustees.

The Elections Committee will be responsible for:

  • Writing and updating the Election Rules and Election (Referenda) Rules
  • Agreeing RUSU elections and referendum timetable
  • Administering and promoting all RUSU elections and referendum
  • Consult on complaints and any issues relating to rules and conduct
  • Oversee the work of the Elections Working Group

The Elections Committee will use these rules as a guideline in the case of enquiries and complaints and will come to a decision, which will be deemed to be final and binding in all cases.

Elections Rules

All candidates (and their campaign teams):

  • Will abide by the Election Rules, timetables, budget and guidelines as produced by the Elections Committee.
  • Will act in the interests of a fair election.
  • Will act with integrity and not mislead the electorate.
  • Will not do anything that another candidate and their team is not able to do (to ensure that each candidate and campaign team has the same access to the electorate).
  • Will show respect and consideration at all times to the other candidates, their supporters, all other students and University staff. Do not get carried away!
  • Will be held liable for the actions of their campaign team or anyone else acting on their behalf.

Eligibility to Stand for Election (or participate as a member of a campaign team)

  • All candidates must be full members of the Students’ Union as defined by the RUSU Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • All candidates must be a full member for the duration of their elected time in office (with the exception of Officer Trustee Candidates)
  • Certain elections may require additional eligibility criteria (e.g. Part Time Officer elections)

Statements/Manifestos

The Deputy Returning Officer will be responsible for scrutinising and approving the statements/ manifestos to ensure that they comply with the Election Rules. The Deputy Returning Officer may request the candidate(s) to make appropriate amendments if they deem it necessary.

Campaigning Rules

  • Candidates (and their campaign teams) may not start formal campaigning or use campaign material before the deadline set in the election timetable.
  • Campaigns should be positively promoting the candidate and what they want to achieve in their position.
  • Negative campaigning, e.g. being offensive or derogatory about the competition, will not be tolerated. There must be no personal attacks, such as candidates or their campaign team making unsupported attacks on other candidate(s) manifestos or making attacks of a personal nature against another candidates or members of their campaign team.
  • Anything that is destructive to another candidate’s campaign, e.g. ripping down, moving or covering of another candidate’s posters, will not be tolerated.
  • Candidates (and their campaign teams) must abide by Budget & Expenses Guidelines.
  • Candidates (and their campaign teams) must abide by Printing & Publicity Guidelines.
  • Candidates (and their campaign teams) should not use pets as a campaigning tool.
  • Candidates proposing to provide home prepared food or any perishable food as part of their campaign must speak to the Deputy Returning Officer/Chair of the Elections Committee in advance to ensure that the necessary risk assessment has been satisfactorily completed and all health and safety requirements have been met.
  • If you are involved in any Student Union Media stream, you should seek advice from the Deputy Returning Officer/Chair of Elections Committee to avoid any conflict of interest.
  • The Elections Committee may define campaign-free zones. There will be at least a four metre campaign-free zone around any RUSU voting stations.

Breach of Rules

Any breach of the rules may be punished. Sanctions include:

  • Total disqualification
  • The application of a disqualification margin
  • A formal warning, which is not made public to the electorate
  • A formal warning, which is made public to the electorate
  • A ban on campaigning, both on-line and off, for a defined period.

Total disqualification

In the case of total disqualification, the Returning Officer will be asked to rule on the seriousness of the breach before a team is disqualified. This decision is not subject to appeal.

Application of a disqualification margin

In the event of a breach or complaint of a breach, the Returning Officer/Deputy Returning Officer may decide to deduct the estimated number of votes ‘influenced’ by the action.

Breach of Law or Regulations

The Students’ Union’s Constitution, Bye-laws and Regulations apply to everyone during any referendum. Any breaches of these governing documents, of Students’ Union or University Policies, of University Regulations or the laws of the UK may attract one, or more, of the sanctions above.

Complaints

All complaints must be directed in the first instance to elections@rusu.co.uk.

Complaints should be made immediately there is cause and should not generally be raised at a later date.

All complaints must be made before the deadline set in the referendum timetable which shall be scheduled before the count.

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