Election Rules

The AUSA Student Election Rules  

The financial procedures only apply to the Sabbatical Election. 


AUSA Student Election Rules 

Rule 1 

Candidates are expected to maintain the principles of a fair and free election. 

Rule 2 

Both the law and university policy apply to all election activity. 

Rule 3 

Candidates are expected to run campaigns maintaining respect for both other candidates and the process. 

Rule 4 

Candidates should only engage in campaign activity that is accessible to all candidates. 

Rule 5 

Only members of AUSA may participate in any part of the election using resources available in their capacity as a member. 

Rule 6 

All official AUSA resource must remain impartial to election activity. 

Rule 7 

All election financial procedures must be adhered to. 

Rule 8 

Digital campaigning may only take place once candidates have been announced.


AUSA Student Election Regulations 

General Regulations 

  1. The rules will be interpreted and enforced by the Returning Officers/Elections Committee. The Returning Officers/Elections Committee are responsible for the good conduct and administration of elections and have the power to govern and interpret all matters relating to elections in accordance with the Rules. Rulings of the Elections Committee are subject to appeal by the Returning Officers and any decision made by the Returning Officers are final and will be clearly communicated to all candidates. 
  2. Where rules or regulations refer to ‘candidates’ this encompasses any member participating in election activity on behalf of a candidate. The candidate is held responsible for all actions related to their election activity. 

Election process 

  1. Nominations 
  2. Financial Procedures 
  3. The Count 


  1. All nominations must be submitted before the deadline as set out on the AUSA website and must be submitted through the online form on the AUSA website. 
  2. Member, or previous member of the Election Committee that has been involved with any decision relating to the current Elections, may be eligible to nominate themselves for Election only at the discretion of the returning officer  
  3. No nominations will be accepted outside of this time frame unless owing to extenuating circumstances, at the discretion of the Elections Committee. 
  4. A completed nomination will consist of a completed online nomination form, including a manifesto. Nominations are not required to include supporting proposers.  
  5. Candidates must nominate themselves under the name they are registered with the University or by an alternative name by which they are commonly known. Such an alternative name must be clearly specified on the nomination form and the Senior Returning/Returning Officer(s) retains the right to deem alternative names inappropriate. 
  6. Members may nominate themselves for only one position at student council. If they already hold a position at student council, they are unable to nominate themselves for any further positions. 
  7. No nominations will be accepted without a manifesto submitted by the relevant deadline. 
  8. Candidates are highly encouraged to submit a picture of themselves along with their nomination.  

Financial Procedures 

  1. The financial procedures only apply to the Sabbatical Election. 
  2. All campaign expenses incurred by a candidate must be recorded on a Candidates’ Expenses Form and must be handed into the AUSA Reception (along with receipts) by the deadline outlined in the relevant Nominations Pack. 
  3. Candidates must submit a Candidates’ Expenses Form regardless of whether they have spent anything on campaign materials; a blank return will be accepted as an indication of no spend. 
  4. Candidates may only spend a total of £50 in their election campaign; all of this, pending audit of the expenses form, will be reimbursed. 
  5. Every reasonable expense must be incorporated into this budget including but not limited to; blue tack, Cellotape, and rope. 
  6. Cardboard is a free resource and will count as £0.00. 
  7. If running on a slate, members of the slate cannot combine their publicity materials and budget. Each person within the slate must have their own publicity materials. Candidates cannot promote other members of their slate within costed publicity materials. Candidates may display a slate logo on their own materials but it must fall within these size guidelines A5 3cm x 3cm, A4 – 6cm x 6 cm, A3 12cm x 12cm. 
  8. Where materials are not sold by AUSA and receipts cannot be produced it will be given a market value by the Returning Officer(s). All candidates will receive a booklet of fixed costs at the Candidate Briefing. 
  9. Anything used in a campaign must be accessible to all candidates regardless of financial ability. 
  10. Candidates may use and/or create their own website and social networking page to promote their campaign. Any costs incurred for this must be recognised in the campaign budget. 
  11. All election materials (leaflets, posters, graphics, etc.) must be submitted to AUSA in advance of publication in order for their compliance with election rules to be assessed. Assessments will be carried out by a member of the Returning Officer team or the Elections Committee in a timely manner not exceeding one working day. 
  12.  At 4pm on the final day of voting, all candidates are required to perform a clean-up of campuses (Old Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Qatar and Hillhead). By failing to comply with this regulation, the Elections Committee reserves the right to add a financial penalty of up to £10, which will be factored into the £50 budget that cannot be overspent. 


The Count 

  1. During Sabbatical election, before the count can begin, there must first be scrutiny in the first hour after voting closes of Declarations of Candidates’ Expenditure. 
  2. Once all deliberations have been completed, the count may begin. 


Regulations of the rules 

Rule 1: Candidates are expected to maintain the principles of a free and fair election. 

1. A free and fair election is defined as the will of the electorate as expressed in genuine, free and fair elections on the basis of universal, equal and secret participation. 

2. Corrupt practices within the election will not be tolerated and may lead to sanctions or disqualification from the election. Corrupt practices are defined as: 

  1. Giving money or any gift to a voter in order to secure votes. 
  2. Giving, providing or paying, wholly or in part, for any food, drink or entertainment for any voter in order to secure votes. 
  3. Use of or threatening to make use of any force, violence, or restraint toward anyone in relation to the election, either by a candidate or someone acting on the candidate’s behalf. 
  4. Falsification of any document or information that is a requirement of the election procedures. 
  5. Any other serious misconduct or behaviour that undermines the conduct of the elections as determined by the Elections Committee/Returning Officers, including, but not limited to, discriminatory behaviours and online harassment. 

3. Candidates should at all times adhere to the relevant data protection regulations and not use any email lists which may compromise this. For the avoidance of doubt, University mailing lists or AUSA mailing lists may not be used. AUSA Standing Committees, Fora, student groups, societies and sports clubs must remain impartial. Student Media Groups need to ensure their coverage is unbiased and balanced.


Rule 2: Both the law and university policy apply to all election activity 

1. Any activity that is illegal or against byelaws and/or regulations of the University of Aberdeen or AUSA areas/buildings is deemed to be in breach of the election rules. 

2. Candidates may be subject to action from the Returning Officers/Elections Committee in addition to any action by individuals or organisations outside of AUSA. 

3. All candidates are expected to follow government guidelines in relation to health and safety, in the candidate’s current location, in their campaigns. Failure to do so may result in immediate disqualification.  


Rule 3: Candidates are expected to run campaigns maintaining respect for both other candidates and the process. 

1. Debate within the election is welcomed and encouraged but should be related to matters of the election and the candidate’s suitability to represent the student body and not that of an individual's identity, appearance, belief system, or any other protected characteristic.  

2. All rules and regulations apply to any member participating in a candidate’s election or campaign activity. 

3. Candidates are held responsible for the actions of any member participating in their election or campaign activity. 


Rule 4: Candidates should only engage in campaign activity that is accessible to all candidates. 

1. Innovative campaign activity and candidates being creative in order to stand out is welcomed and encouraged. This may be a fun video, a stunt or other niche way of getting your message out to students. 

2. All campaigns must be conducted in a way that maintains a fair and free election. 

3. Candidates are prohibited from using pre-existing public digital media accounts, such as a Society or Club or Campaign page, or a commercial account, with the exception of personal digital profiles such as a Twitter or Facebook account.   

4. Candidates may not use personal favours to reduce the cost associated with any campaign activity; market value cost must be associated with all campaign activity. 

5. Please see the election financial procedures for further information. 


Rule 5: Only members of AUSA may participate in any part of the election using resources available in their capacity as a member. 

1. Any person actively campaigning on behalf of a candidate must be a current member of AUSA.  

2. AUSA staff and University staff who are not members of AUSA are not permitted to support specific candidates in representative elections and must remain neutral. 

3. Academic staff etc. cannot support candidates in the election or campaign. 

4. Postgraduate Research (PGR)/PhD Students, or any other student acting in the capacity of a tutor or demonstrator, cannot in their role as seminar leaders/lecturers, etc. support or campaign on behalf of students. They can however promote the election.

5. No Sabbatical Officer may endorse any candidate in an official capacity – this includes publicly campaigning or posting on social media for any candidate on an official work account. Sabbatical Officers are encouraged to promote the elections and help boost turnout. 

6. Sabbatical officers are required to take annual leave to campaign physically should they be running in the elections and care to not use any AUSA resources, including official online accounts, nor online campaign while working, or otherwise benefit from their current position as a Sabbatical Officer. 

  1. A Sabbatical Officers running in the election will be required to evidence that they have not campaigned during working hours, such as providing screenshots of pre-scheduled campaign posts.  


Rule 6: All official AUSA resource must remain impartial to election activity. 

1. No member of AUSA staff shall be allowed to campaign for or wear the publicity of, a candidate in the elections whilst carrying out the duties for which they are employed. 

2. Under no circumstances can AUSA buildings be used to advertise any candidate in a preferential manner. Only AUSA Materials may be used within AUSA buildings that advertise candidates – for example, a banner of all candidates or a guide to manifestos.  

3. From the announcement of the election dates to the announcement of the final result, AUSA shall adhere to guidelines ensuring neutrality in the election. 

4. It is suggested that at least one hustings/question time for all candidates takes place. This only applies to Sabbatical Elections.   


Rule 7: All election financial procedures must be adhered to. 

  1. Please see the financial procedures. 
  2. For sabbatical officer election the spending limit shall be £50. For all other elections no spending shall be permitted.


Rule 8: Campaigning may only take place between candidates being announced and close of voting. 

1. Physical campaigning is defined as, but not limited to, distributing print media, use of banners, T-shirts, all other written materials and door knocking. 

2. Campaigning off the University of Aberdeen Campuses requires a prior approval of the elections committee. This includes examples of campaigning in halls of residence (excluding Hillhead), ASV, other public places, and venues such as squares, pubs, etc.

3. Digital media campaigning may take place during the time period specified by the Elections Committee and includes all materials shareable on social media and websites. This may include, but is not limited to, social media content, or videos to promote the candidates.  

4. Prospective candidates may only release their manifesto once their candidacy and manifesto have been approved by the Elections Committee and all candidates have been announced by the Elections Committee. This does not limit the prospective candidate to announce their candidacy on digital media, however reference to manifesto pledges are strictly not allowed.  

5. All candidates are encouraged to share information about the election, such as timelines and the importance of voting.  

6. The Elections Committee shall approve all digital media contents before it is publicised by the candidate. Only applies to the Sabbatical Election.


Complaint Regulations 

1. All members are entitled to lodge a complaint should they feel any of the 10 rules have been breached. 

2. All complaints must be lodged through the elections complaint form and refer to which rule has been breached. The regulations of the rule in question should also be referenced. The Elections Committee will consider no other form of complaint. 

3. Complaints relating to any part of the campaign must normally be received prior to the results announcement and should be submitted as soon as possible to enable The Elections Committee to make appropriate rulings. 

4. The Elections Committee will not consider complaints of activity such as the removal of posters and other materials without sufficient evidence. 

5. All complaints must be received prior to the results announcement. Any complaint submitted past this time will only be considered if there is overwhelming evidence the actions reported have had a severe impact on the outcome of the election. 

6. The Elections Committee shall make rulings on any properly submitted complaints within 48 hours of receipt. 

7. The Elections Committee may also take action without receipt of a complaint if they deem it necessary. 

8. Any candidates who are found to be in breach of the Election Rules will, ; 

  1. In the first instance, be issued with a written warning from the Elections Committee; 
  1. In the second instance, be issued a second and final written warning from the Elections Committee; 
  1. In the third instance will be disqualified from the election. 

9. Any serious breach of any of AUSA’s Byelaws, Code of Conduct or other relevant regulations may be deemed as gross misconduct. Counts of Gross Misconduct may result in disqualification by the Elections Committee and may also be passed onto AUSA’s Disciplinary Process after the Elections have closed. 

10. The Elections Committee may defer decision-making to the Returning Officers should they believe they are incapable of making a decision, for example, in the instance of a conflict of interest or by request of a candidate who has appealed a decision taken by the Elections Committee. 

11. Ignorance of any rules will not be accepted as an acceptable excuse for rule breaks. 

12. Any ruling of The Elections Committee shall be communicated to all candidates and available on the AUSA website for transparency. 

13. Any ruling of Elections Committee shall be subject to appeal to the Returning Officer Team.