Rules & FAQs
Everything you need to know about standing and voting in our elections
AUSA Student Council Elections
- 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 action related to their election activity.
- Campaign materials
- The Count
- All nominations must be submitted before the deadline as set out in the Candidates Nomination Pack and must be submitted through the online form on the AUSA website.
- No nominations will be accepted outside this timeframe.
- A completed nomination will consist of a completed online nomination form. Nominations must include ten supporting proposers all of whom must be an eligible member of AUSA.
- No member is allowed to nominate more than one candidate for any one position. Members may nominate multiple candidates if they are standing for different positions.
- 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 Returning Officer retains the right to deem alternative names inappropriate.
- Members may nominate themselves for and stand for one position only.
- 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.
- Once all deliberations have been completed, the count may begin.
Regulations of the rules
Rule 1: Candidates are expected to maintain principles of a free and fair election.
- 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.
- 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 any other member 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.
- Candidates may collect and create mailing lists from parties that have granted consent, for example, if a society voted to endorse a candidate. University mailing lists or AUSA mailing lists may not be used.
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 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.
- Examples, which are by no means exclusive, include affixing material to lamp posts on the High Street, bus stops, trees, local property walls, and telephone boxes.
- All campaigning must be respectful of the Conservation Zone around the campus.
- No sticky labels can be used anywhere on campus.
- Candidates can assume they have permission to affix campaigning material around campus, however they must be prepared for it to be taken down if it is deemed to be placed in inappropriate locations. You will not necessarily receive this material back and any costs for the printing or creation of these materials must still be included in your final budget.
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 welcomed and encouraged but should be related to matters of the election and not that of character, 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 welcomed 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 may not use personal favours to reduce 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 or alumni.
- Any person campaigning on behalf of a candidate must be either a current ordinary member of AUSA, or be a member of the University of Aberdeen alumni.
- 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 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.
- Standing Committees as singular entities may not endorse candidates.
- Sabbatical officers are required to take annual leave to campaign should they be running in the elections.
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.
- From the opening of nominations to the announcement of the final result AUSA shall adhere to guidelines ensuring neutrality in the election.
- AUSA Societies, Sports Clubs and Student Groups are allowed to endorse candidates and should consult members for support. If the members are not in support of this, the body cannot endorse.
- AUSA should be made aware of the outcome to ensure fairness in this process.
- All media groups must maintain neutrality in their reporting of the Elections.
- It is suggested that there is at least one hustings/question time for all candidates takes place.
Rule 7: All election financial procedures must be adhered to.
- Only applicable for Leadership Elections
Rule 8: Physical campaigning may only take place between the open and close of voting.
- Physical campaigning is defined as distributing print media, use of banners, T-shirts, all other written materials and official campaign websites, including social media. Physical campaigning also includes door knocking.
- Candidates may set up a Facebook group and conduct online activity to announce their intention to stand in the election but may not campaign until a second after midnight on the eve of Election Day 1.
- Candidates may not release their manifesto before the manifesto deadline submission.
- Permission must be sought from the Elections Committee for all stunts before they occur. Stunts include flash mobs, performances etc.
- At 4pm on the final day of voting, all candidates are required to perform a clean-up of campus.
Rule 9: Candidates are prohibited from campaigning in close proximity to official ballot boxes.
- To ensure members are free from pressure from candidates and campaigns, candidates must refrain from campaigning in close proximity to official ballot boxes.
- The AUSA Students’ Union Building will act as a ballot box from 9am to 5pm. On the final day of voting, the close of election will be at 4pm. During this time, candidates may only use areas from the opposite side of the road to campaign.
- All 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. 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 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 rules, Byelaws or Policies be deemed as gross misconduct. Counts of Gross Misconduct will be dealt with by the Elections Committee and Returning Officers and may also be passed on the AUSA’s Disciplinary Process after the Elections have closed.
- The Elections Committee may refer 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 Returning Officer shall be communicated to all candidates and will be final.