Election and Candidate Regulations

Here are the rules and regulations that must be followed by anyone partaking in the Student Elections.

Principles

All behaviour and conduct must fit with the ethos of free and fair elections as set out in the Education Act 1994. 

These regulations are based on the following underlying principles:

  • Fairness and reasonableness
  • Removing barriers to participation
  • Encouraging active participation at all levels

They should be considered in line with the Union of Kingston Students Bye-Law 11 – Election Regulations.

Eligibility

  • All candidates must be registered students at the time of the close of nominations.
  • Only Ordinary Members of the Union are eligible to stand in any election.
  • Only Ordinary Members of the Union may vote in any election. 
  • Further limits on eligibility may be laid out in the Union Constitution and Byelaws. 

Election rules

  • Expenditure must not exceed the amount per candidate stated at the start of the election process. Any overspend will result in investigation and possible sanctions up to and including disqualification.
  • All candidates must have an equal and fair opportunity to promote their candidacy in terms of resource and accessibility to the student voters.
  • Publicity must only promote your own candidacy (and the name of a slate if you are involved in one).
  • Publicity and all forms of campaigning (including all social media) must not be used in a way that a reasonable person would see as a breach of University bullying and harassment or other existing rules. A breach will result in investigation and possible sanctions up to and including disqualification as well as any additional sanctions applied by the University

Standing Rules

  • Any behaviour which breaches any of the Union’s byelaws, the law and University regulations (for example, but not limited to: equal opportunities, bullying and harassment, data regulations etc.) will be referred to the RO/ DRO for possible sanctions up to and including disqualification.
  • The RO/ DRO will rule on breaches of election regulations and refer breaches of Union or University regulations and the law to appropriate persons for investigation. Any election results may be delayed until the University have investigated the complaint and ruled on the future eligibility of the candidate.

Slates and Endorsements

  • A slate is defined as candidates sharing a distinctive visual brand and identifying themselves as a single group.
  • Physical promotional materials for a slate can only contain the single candidate’s name and the name of a slate 
  • Slates or individual candidates cannot be sponsored by an external company.
  • Any candidate can publically approve of another candidate via a public statement of support; whether or not they are in the same slate.

Campaigning for Votes

This election is a secret ballot and therefore, no campaigning is allowed in the same vicinity as any official voting station or voting areas.
As this is an online election, any phone, tablet, laptop, computer etc is technically a voting station. Therefore, the following rules should be observed;

  • No campaigning near Union Voting Stalls. 
  • Candidates may not use their own devices for collecting votes. 
  • Keep adequate distance away from students who are voting to allow students to vote in secret.
  • Do not use the log in details of students to cast votes on their behalf, even with permission.
  • Candidates may not campaign in Computer Rooms or any Library (LRCs) on any campus.

All of the above are serious breaches of election rules and can lead to disqualification from the election

Candidate Behaviour/ Conduct

  • Behaviour of candidates will be managed via both “Election Regulations” and “Standing Rules” (Union Constitution, Union Bye-laws, University regulations and the law). If any behaviour would be unacceptable the rest of the time, it is unacceptable as part of the elections.
  • Candidates may criticise only the policies of another candidate that have appeared in the campaign, but not the persona of another candidate.
  • Candidates shall in no way attempt to undermine the fair and democratic running of the election.
  • Candidates shall be responsible for the conduct (and bear any penalties) of those campaigning on their behalf.

Candidate and Elections Publicity

  • The RO/ DRO must approve all candidates’ publicity.
  • The RO/ DRO will not approve candidate’s publicity content that directly, or indirectly, criticises the persona of any other candidate.
  • All online campaign activity, including social media, must adhere to the principles outlined under ‘Candidate Behaviour/ Conduct’.
  • Candidates may not use society, sports club, commercial, or group email lists or social media sites to refer to individual candidates or their policies. Candidates should make every attempt to ensure emails are not sent out on their behalf by these groups, as disciplinary actions may be instigated against them.  Neither may these groups, clubs or societies actively endorse any candidate.
  • Each candidate shall be given a budget for publicity and sundries, the amount of which shall be determined annually by the Union.
  • The budget for Candidates standing for election during the 2018/19 academic year will be £50.00 per candidate per election.
  • Candidates failing to hand in their expenses claim within 7 calendar days after the close of voting will not be able to claim back any expenses.
  • All Candidate expenditure must be receipted in order for it to be reimbursed by the Union. Failure to produce a receipt for any expenditure with result in that expenditure not being reimbursed.
  • The only name that candidate’s publicity may mention is that of the candidate, unless approved by the RO/ DRO.
  • In terms of publicity and campaigning Candidates should only do what others would have the opportunity to do.

Regulations for existing officers

  • No officer can campaign during their working hours.
  • No officer can take advantage of their role or the resources linked to it as part of their campaign (examples of this may include privileged e-mail lists, wearing election branded union clothing whilst working, use of stationery, printing, copying etc. This list is not exhaustive and open to interpretation by the RO/ DRO).

Complaints, Sanctions and Appeals

  • Any complaints must be made in writing in the first instance to the DRO via the complaints form on the Union website. The DRO will then decide the appropriate course of action for dealing with the complaint.
  • All complaints will be addressed by the RO/ DRO in conjunction with any appointed deputies where necessary.
  • Vexatious complaints will be dealt with as a breach of election rules.
  • Sanctions in the case of an upheld complaint may be applied up to and including disqualification. These are detailed in Bye-law 11. 
  • Decisions of the RO are final with no further route for appeal.