The below AUSA Student Election Rules apply to the Standing Committee and the NUS Delegate Elections 2020.
Please note that some parts of the election rules are applicable only to Sabbatical Elections, and these are specified within the rules below.
The financial procedures in particular only apply to the Sabbatical Election.
AUSA Student Election Rules
Candidates are expected to maintain principles of a fair and free election.
Both the law and university policy apply to all election activity.
Candidates are expected to run campaigns maintaining respect for both other candidates and the process.
Candidates should only engage in campaign activity that is accessible to all candidates.
Only members of AUSA may participate in any part of the election using resources available in their capacity as a member.
All official AUSA resource must remain impartial to election activity.
All election financial procedures must be adhered to.
Digital campaigning may only take place once candidates have been announced. No physical campaigning will be allowed.
AUSA Student Election Regulations
- 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.
- 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.
- Financial Procedures
- The Count
- All nominations must be submitted before the deadline as set out in the Candidates’ Nomination Pack (applicable to the sabbatical elections only) and must be submitted through the online form on the AUSA website.
- No nominations will be accepted outside of this time frame unless owing to extenuating circumstances, at the discretion of the Elections Committee.
- A completed nomination will consist of a completed online nomination form, including a manifesto. Nominations are not required to include supporting proposers.
- 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.
- Members may nominate themselves for and stand for one position only.
- No nominations will be accepted without a manifesto submitted by the relevant deadline.
- Candidates are highly encouraged to submit a picture of themselves in their manifesto document when they nominate themselves.
- The financial procedures only apply to the Sabbatical Election.
- 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.
- 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.
- Candidates may only spend a total of £50 in their election campaign; all of this, pending audit of the expenses form, will be reimbursed.
- Every reasonable expense must be incorporated into this budget including but not limited to; blue tack, Cellotape, and rope.
- Cardboard is a free resource and will count as £0.00.
- 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.
- 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.
- Anything used in a campaign must be accessible to all candidates regardless of financial ability.
- 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.
- 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.
- Before the count can begin, there must first be scrutiny in the first hour after voting closes of Declarations of Candidates’ Expenditure.
- 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:
- Giving money or any gift to a voter in order to secure votes.
- Giving, providing or paying, wholly or in part, for any food, drink or entertainment for any voter in order to secure votes.
- 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.
- Falsification of any document or information that is a requirement of the election procedures.
- 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.
- 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. All AUSA Activities must remain impartial, this includes but is not limited to Sport Clubs, Societies, Standing Committees, Forums and Student Groups.
Rule 2: Both the law and university policy apply to all election activity
- 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.
- Candidates may be subject to action from the Returning Officers/Elections Committee in addition to any action by individuals or organisations outside of AUSA.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no physical campaigning will be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, affixing materials on campus, handing out leaflets, approaching other students on campus, or any physical campaigning off-campus.
- All candidates are expected to follow government guidelines, 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.
- Personal attacks of any kind on other candidates are not permitted. Debate within the election is welcome and encouraged but should be related to matters of the election and not that of an individual's identity, appearance or belief system.
- All rules and regulations apply to any member participating in a candidate’s election or campaign activity.
- 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.
- Innovative campaign activity and candidates being creative in order to stand out is welcome and encouraged. This may be a fun video, a stunt or other niche way of getting your message out to students.
- All campaigns must be conducted in a way that maintains a fair and free election.
- Candidates are prohibited to use pre-existing public digital media accounts, such as Society, Club or Campaign pages, or a commercial account, with the exception of personal digital profiles such as a Twitter or a Facebook account.
- 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.
- 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.
- Any person campaigning on behalf of a candidate must be a current member of AUSA.
- AUSA staff and University staff are not permitted to support specific candidates in representative elections and must remain neutral.
- Lecturers/professors etc. cannot support candidates in the election or campaign.
- 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.
- No Sabbatical Officer may endorse any candidate – this includes publicly campaigning and posting on social media for any candidate. Sabbatical Officers are instead required to promote the elections and help boost turnout.
- Sabbatical officers are required to take annual leave to campaign physically, should they be running in the elections, and take special care not to use any AUSA resources, nor to conduct online campaigns while working, or otherwise benefit from their current position as Sabbatical officers.
Rule 6: All official AUSA resource must remain impartial to election activity.
- 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.
- 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. (No AUSA advertising will be made available during the 2020 Standing Committee and NUS Elections).
- From the opening of nominations to the announcement of the final result, AUSA shall adhere to guidelines ensuring neutrality in the election.
- All media groups must maintain neutrality in their reporting of the Elections.
- 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.
- Please see the financial procedures.
Rule 8: Campaigning may only take place between candidates being announced and close of voting.
- Physical campaigning is defined as, but not limited to, distributing print media, use of banners, T-shirts, all other written materials and door knocking.
- 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.
- 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 prohibited.
- All candidates are encouraging to share information about the election, such as timelines and importance of voting.
- The Elections Committee shall approve all digital media content before it is publicised by the candidate.
- At 4pm on the final day of voting, all candidates are required to perform a clean-up of campuses (Old Aberdeen, Foresterhill 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. (Only applicable to Sabbatical Elections).
- All AUSA members are entitled to lodge a complaint should they feel any of the 10 rules have been breached.
- 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.
- Complaints relating to any part of the campaign must normally be received prior to the close of polling and should be submitted as soon as possible to enable The Elections Committee to make appropriate rulings.
- The Elections Committee will not consider complaints of activity such as removal of posters and other materials without sufficient evidence.
- Once the count has begun, the only complaints that can normally be submitted are in relation to the conduct of the count.
- The Elections Committee shall make rulings on any properly submitted complaints within 24 hours of receipt.
- The Elections Committee may also take action without receipt of a complaint if they deem it necessary.
- Any candidates who are found to be in breach of the Election Rules will, ;
- In the first instance, be issued with a written warning from the Elections Committee;
- In the second instance, be issued a second and final written warning from the Elections Committee;
- In the third instance will be disqualified from the election.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ignorance of any rules will not be accepted as an acceptable excuse for rule breaks.
- Any ruling of The Elections Committee shall be communicated to all candidates.
- Any ruling of Elections Committee shall be subject to appeal to the Returning Officer Team.