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
- All candidates must be current enrolled 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.
- An external Returning Officer (RO) will be appointed. The RO will have the final ruling on all issues related to the elections.
- The RO will be supported by appointed deputies including a designated Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) who will oversee day to day election activity along with investigating any complaints or other issues as required in line with Union Byelaw 11 – Election Regulations.
- The RO, DRO and any other appointed deputy, shall not be a candidate or an open supporter of any candidate.
- 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.
- Any behaviour linked to the elections 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.
- In the latter case 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
- Individual candidates cannot be sponsored by an external company.
- Any candidate can publically approve of another candidate. An endorsement is limited to a public statement of support that may be reproduced by the candidate
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. If you or your campaign team have any questions, issues or complaints regarding the elections these should be directed to the DRO and not the staff manning the stalls
- Students using a phone, tablet, laptop etc to vote – you and your campaign team must keep adequate distance away from the screen to allow the student to vote in secret.
- You and your campaign team MUST NOT use the log in details of students to cast votes on their behalf, even with permission.
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). As a rule of thumb – 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 of those campaigning on their behalf.
Candidate and Elections Publicity
- The RO/ DRO must approve all candidates’ publicity.
- All publicity promoting the opening of nominations and further information pertinent to the running of the elections is the responsibility of the RO, the DRO and any appointed deputies.
- The RO/ DRO will not approve candidate’s publicity content that directly, or indirectly, criticises the persona of any other candidate.
- Only personal online communication or social media sites may be used by candidates in order to promote their election campaigns. All online campaign activity 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.
- Candidate’s manifestos will be made available on the Union website.
- 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 this election will be £50.00 per candidate per election
- Candidate’s publicity and sundries expenditure must not exceed the given budgets.
- 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
- Any existing officer is entitled to endorse a candidate for any post.
- No officer can campaign for themselves or an endorsed candidate during their working hours.
- No officer can take advantage of their role or the resources linked to it as part of their campaign or on behalf of an endorsed candidate (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 who 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.
- Decisions of the RO are final with no further route for appeal.