Election Rules

The RUSU elections are open to all students across the University. All Candidates are entitled to equal opportunities, and the elections should be accessible for all students, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age or personal financial status.

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

Important to Remember

RUSU Rules/Policies

  • This includes abiding by the Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy.
  • Candidates/agents (and their campaign teams) should be aware that breaking RUSU rules may result in a disciplinary procedure.

University Rules

  • Normal University rules and Codes of Conduct apply during elections and referenda. For further information head to the Governance Zone on the University website.
  • Candidates/agents (and their campaign teams) should be aware that breaking University rules can result in a University disciplinary procedure.

The Law

  • 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 choose to stand in the election/ act as either an agent or a member of a campaign team in the referendum then the Officer Trustee position on the Elections Committee will be formed 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
  • Responding to complaints and any issues relating to rules and conduct
  • Overseeing 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 Referenda Rules

All candidates/agents (and their campaign teams):

  • Will abide by the Election and referenda Rules, timetables, budget and guidelines as produced by the Elections Committee.
  • Will act in the interests of a fair election/ referendum.
  • 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/agent 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, University staff and members of the community.
  • 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/ agents (and their campaign teams) must be full members of RUSU 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)
  • Nominees who have been subject to a University or RUSU disciplinary procedure should highlight this to Elections Committee. Approval to run may be subject to the decision of this committee.


A member of Elections Committee will be responsible for scrutinising and approving the statements/ manifestos to ensure that they comply with the Election and referenda Rules. The Deputy Returning Officer may request the candidate(s)/agent(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/referenda 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/agents 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/agents (and their campaign teams) must abide by Budget & Expenses Guidelines.
  • Candidates/agents (and their campaign teams) must abide by Printing & Publicity Guidelines.
  • Candidates/agents (and their campaign teams) should not use pets as a campaigning tool.
  • Candidates/agents proposing to provide home prepared food or any perishable food as part of their campaign must speak to the a member 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 RUSU media stream and wish to use this to promote your campaign you must grant equal access to other candidates involved in your election
  • The Elections Committee may define campaign-free zones. There will be at least a four metre campaign-free zone around any RUSU voting stations.
  • Any candidate videos must be shot on mobile phones (RUSU will be able to provide phones if required).
  • No campaigning may take place in the Library or other designated quiet study areas.

Breach of Rules

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

  • Total disqualification
  • A formal warning, which is made public to the electorate
  • A formal warning, which is not made public to the electorate
  • A ban on campaigning, both on and off-line, 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.

Breach of Law or Regulations

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


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

Complaints should be made as soon as the issue arises and should not generally be raised at a later date.

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