Student Voice Team

028 9097 3696

Second Floor
Students' Union - Elmwood

 
Student Officer Elections 2020 - Rules and Candidate Info Pack

This info pack is here to give you all the key information about the Student Officer Elections 2020 and the tips and tricks you need to plan a brilliant campaign. This pack, along with the Students' Union Constitution details the rules for these elections.

This set of elections have two types of role on offer:

Full-Time Student Officer Roles

These roles are elected by all students and the winning candidates take up full-time paid roles as Student Officers for 12 months (July 2020 - June 2021). The post holder receives £18,000 for the year and gets 42 days of paid holidays, along with other benefits and development opportunities.

Students take a year out from their studies to undertake this role. If they are due to graduate, they can still become Student Officers. International Students on Tier IV visas are eligible to become Full-Time Student Officers.

There are six roles available in this set of elections.

Part-Time Student Officer Roles

These roles are voluntary and the winner takes up an unpaid role as a Part-Time Student Officer for 12 months (July 2020 - June 2021). Most of the posts are elected from amongst relevant groups of students. (e.g. Only international students can run to be the International Students' Officer. Only international students can vote in the election.)

Being a Part-Time Student Officer can count towards a Queen's Degree Plus Award which recognises extra-curricular activity and helps you stand out to employers.

There are ten roles available in this set of elections.


All of our elections are run strictly in accordance with our election rules. This ensures that the elections are fair for everybody. You must read the Candidate Info Pack in its entirety and be aware of the contents. If any candidates are in breach of the rules, they cannot, in their defence, claim ignorance of the rules and regulations.

By becoming a Student Officer you will represent over 25,000 students, make real decisions that make a real impact on students’ lives and lead change for students.

The Union is totally student-led, so what the Union does is decided by representatives who have been elected by you to represent your views and to run the Union.

To make sure that the views of all our students are heard and that we are as representative as possible, we have different representative roles that you can run for.

You can find out all about the available roles, the election process and the key deadlines on the Students’ Union website.

This pack contains the background information about the positions available and the the election process for these posts. There is also some advice on how to run a campaign. It is important that you read it if you are standing for election.

We want these elections to be successful and to be as accessible as possible. We have tried to remove much of the jargon, but if there is anything that is unclear, or anything that you need more information on, please get in contact.

You can contact the Students’ Union Student Voice Staff Team if you have any queries about the these elections.

Good luck!

To run in the Student Officer Elections, you must:

  • Be a registered student of Queen's University Belfast throughout the entire election period
  • Be sure that you are prepared to commit to the Student Officer Team if you are elected
  • Be a hard worker, dedicated and passionate about representing students

Some of our Part-Time Student Officer positions require those standing for election to 'self-define' as being someone who identifies within that grouping. Self-definition is an important aspect of an individual's identity. It is how they wish to express who they are to others, regardless of how other people percieve them.

Please note that Students of St. Mary's University College, Stranmillis University College, "INTO at Queen's" and students of other institutions who are studying at Queen's may not stand for election or vote.

To stand for election, you must complete the nomination process. Be sure to review our Nomination Checklist before submitting your nomination. The deadline for submitting nomiantions is 5pm, Wed 5 Feb. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the nomination process. Late nomiantions will not be accepted.

In many ways, elections are pretty uncomplicated – the people with the largest number of votes in their favour are the ones who get elected! The key thing to remember that that you should focus on convincing people to take the time to vote, and to vote for you! Standing for election can be great fun – you get to talk to loads of different people.

Try to be as imaginative as possible – but stay within the rules.

We have put together some advice and some tips that will help you run a great campaign. We can’t promise that you will win, but we are pretty sure that everyone who does win will follow our tips ...

Before You Submit Your Nomination

  • Take the time to read and understand what the role requires and the key dates for the election. Knowledge is power. Read though the Student Officer Elections section of the Students' Union website. Look though the Student Voice section of the Students' Union website to find out how the Union works.
  • Talk to current student representatives (especially if they have experience of the role that you wish to stand for), elected Student Officers, to Students’ Union staff and to students from the group that you are thinking of representing. This will help you in getting an idea of the issues faced by these students and of any current developments. You can find out all about the roles! A bit of research goes a long way when convincing people that you are the right person to represent them!
  • Find out what the Student Officers have done in the past and think about how you can do even better.
  • Come along to one of our Candidate Clinic information session or arrange a one-to-one session with one of our Student Voice staff.
  • Get as much background information as possible. It will give you the confidence to create a strong election campaign.
  • Choose the Student Officer role that suits you best - where your talents can be put to the best use. Make sure that you have a clear idea of what makes you the best choice for the students at Queen’s.
  • If voting only is open to a particular group (e.g. international students) spend some time talking to them to find out what the key issues are. Find out where that group is most likely to be found on campus (e.g. International Student Support Office or The Graduate School) and talk to students.
  • If you are running for a Full-Time Student Officer position, ask your classmates / friends to look over your manifesto. As current students, they’ll be able to give you ideas and highlight anything you’ve missed.
  • Look at what has worked in previous (successful) election campaigns. Old campaigns will still have social media accounts, old campaign videos will still be online. Old manifestos will still be available online.
  • The key to success is preparation. Make sure you have all your election and promotional materials ready when the applications close. Our Election Timeline deadlines are important. If you miss deadlines, you’ll not be permitted to become a candidate.

After You Submit Your Nomination

  • Prepare a 30 – 60 second short speech that outlines who you, are why you are running and what you will do if elected. It will give you something to say to students when you begin talking to them. It will also give you confidence as you will have your “pitch” prepared.
  • Do not wait until voting starts before you commence canvassing. You can canvass students online and in person as early as you wish (even right now). Most students have never voted in an election – all they need is for you to convince them!
  • If you are running for a Full-Time Officer position:
    • Running for election can be a lengthy process. In the weeks before the election, try to get some rest, eat well and finish any upcoming academic assessments you have due. Don’t leave all your election planning to the last minute!
    • Prepare your speech for Candidate Question Time. It’s important that you know your stuff.
    • People will always question your manifesto. Make sure that you anticipate and prepare for any sticky questions.
    • If you are running a big campaign, with loads of flyers / posters and a campaign team, get someone else to help with the organisation. As a candidate, you should spend your time talking to students!
  • If you have flyers and manifestos, take them to lectures – in fact, keep them with you at all times, you never know when a canvassing opportunity may come up.
  • If your election coincides with other elections (e.g. School Representative elections, Part-Time Student Officer elections), find out who is running in these elections and ask if they will support you or perhaps jointly campaign with you.
  • Take a break during campaigning to rest and reenergise.

Talking to Students

  • This is the most important thing that you can do to get elected.
  • Use your personal and social networks - enlist your friends, class mates and Clubs and Societies to support you, to campaign for you and to actively ask their networks to vote for you too! You want as many people as possible telling people to vote for you.
  • Getting elected is all about being seen and remembered (preferably in a good light).
  • Be positive, friendly and genuine. Listen and respond to the students who will be voting.
  • Be respectful of others and positive with everybody – even if you disagree with them.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach students on campus. If they don’t know about you, they won’t vote for you! Though, make sure that you don’t bother people who are busy! Be polite, friendly, and genuine and take the time to listen to their views.
  • Ask people to vote for you! If they won’t commit to giving you a ‘first preference’ vote, ask them to give you another preference. Elections are often won by the narrowest of margins and every preference can count. Lots of second choice preferences can add up!
  • Ask people to ask their friends to vote for you.
  • When you are talking to students, find out what issues are important to them. If you can talk about these issues and convince students that you can work on these issues, they are more likely to vote for you!
  • Target students on their way to and from class. Students are more likely to vote online when they first sit down at their computer and it is fresh in their minds, so get to them early.
  • Target main entrances to buildings, without getting in the way of people as they go about their business.
  • Do lecture shout-outs! Ask the lecturer for permission beforehand – tell them you will be very brief. It is best to do it in the time when the lecturer is setting up their equipment / slides for the lecture. Keep the speech to 30 – 60 seconds.
  • If there any events (or parties) on, get an invite to the event, or just attend the event if it is open to all students. Take every opportunity to get to know students.
  • See if there are any relevant Clubs and Societies who could support you or let you talk to their members. Block votes can be unreliable, but they are certainly worth a try.
  • Talk to students in Queen’s Accommodation. First-years are very likely to vote are likely to be on campus at some point in the day. Just remember that access to the living areas of students will have to be agreed in advance with management at the site. The Returning Officer issues more details - to Full-Time election candidates - regarding this before formal campaigning begins. “Queen’s Accommodation” includes Elms BT1, Elms BT2, Elms BT9 and Queen’s Houses.
  • In the days before the election, get people to commit to vote for you. Spend the day of the election getting others to vote for you.
  • Try to have as much free time on the days of your election to give yourself the opportunity to encourage students to vote for you.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the experience! You’ll learn loads, meet new people and have fun.

Your manifesto is your Student Officer pledge. It’s your chance to tell the students at Queen’s who you are and what you can do for them if you get elected. It’s important to get this one right - it might be the only piece of information that students read about you before they vote. Remember, every vote counts.

A survey carried out by the National Union of Students into voter attitudes revealed that many didn’t vote in Union elections because it was often unclear what the candidates stood for. Voters wanted to know who the candidate was, what they believed in and what they would do if they got into office. A well-written and interestingly designed manifesto can make a big difference. Here are our guidelines for writing a great manifesto:

  • Say a little bit about yourself and why you want the Student Officer role that you’ve applied for. Most students don’t know you, so it’s good to make a personal introduction. Make it short, snappy and interesting.
  • Students will often vote for candidates who have something in common with them, so as well as outlining your issues, briefly tell them: what course you’re on; where you’re from; if you’re a member of a Club or Society; your involvement in political activities, parties and groups; and any other involvement in student issues/activities.
  • Highlight issues that you think will be popular with students, but are also achievable. Select around three issues from your list as key priorities that you will concentrate on. Outline each issue, how it affects students and what you’ll do to help if you get elected. Make some of these your goals for the year and explain how you’ll do it.
  • Make sure your goals are achievable. You will get asked about your manifesto during Candidate Question Time - so make sure you’re well prepared.
  • Make your manifesto concise and easy to read. Don’t try to put too much info on one piece of paper. That’s what face-to face campaigning is for. Create snappy and interesting headlines. Voters tend to ‘scan read’ election materials so it is crucial to draw them in with a headline. The headline ‘Better Transport’ will be noticed by those students who are regularly delayed by the bus service.

Don't forget to put some basic information in your manifesto like your name and telling people to vote for you.

Make it clear which Student Officer role you’re applying for. Ask people to vote for you! Outline on your manifesto how people vote to make it as easy as possible for them. You could use the following points: “Log into QUBSU.ORG (www.qubsu.org) from 7am, Mon 24 Feb - 5pm, Tue 25 Feb, with your student number and password. Then Vote!"

If you fancy, you can see the current Student Officers’ Manifestos right here.

We will help you spread the word about your manifesto via:

Social Media and Campaign Videos
In addition to providing printed materials, the Students' Union will also place your A4 Manifesto on our website and share it on social media in a way that is fair to all candidates. We will also record short campaign videos for each candidate and share these on our social media platforms. You must be available for your assigned timeslot if you wish to have a manifesto video created.

Manifestos are generally considered to be optional for candidates standing for Part-Time Student Officer posts. There is no general expectation that people standing for Council, Course Rep, School Rep, Part-Time Student Officer or national conference delegate elections will prepare some form of manifesto. (A manifesto is a statement about yourself and usually contains details of some issues that you will address, or projects that you will complete, if you are elected.)

However, writing a short paragraph about yourself, what you stand for, the things that you will do if elected and why people should vote for you can be helpful. Keep it short and easy to read.

It is useful for sharing online. But don’t rely on it completely either – the best way to get people to vote for you is to talk to them in person! If you do decide to write a manifesto (and again there’s no expectation that you do), as a guideline, this is where we’d recommend you start……

  • Think about what would influence you to vote for someone.  What do you believe?  What are the issues of interest to students?  Whatever they are, make a list of your beliefs.
  • You should highlight issues that you think will be popular with students, but are also achievable.  There are many candidates in union elections who have announced that they will make the beer cheaper, only to be given an embarrassing lesson in economics by other candidates in the election.
  • Select three issues from your list as key priorities that you will concentrate on. Be realistic and think about what is achievable – you are running for a voluntary role.
  • Outline each issue, how it affects students and what you would do about it if you got elected.
  • Be concise and to the point – don’t over-describe.
  • Think of snappy titles that you can give to your three issues.  Voters tend to ‘scan read’ election materials so it is crucial to draw them in with a headline.  The headline “Better Transport” will be noticed by those students who are regularly delayed by the bus service.
  • Make it clear which category you’re standing for, and don’t forget to ask people to vote for you!  Be sure to put the dates and locations of the elections on all of your publicity materials so that students know when and where they can vote for you.
  • Who are you?  It’s amazing how many candidates forget to tell the voters anything about themselves.  Students will often vote for candidates who have something in common with them, so as well as outlining your issues, briefly tell them: what course you are on; where you are from; details of your age, race, gender etc. (as you think appropriate); your membership of Clubs and Societies; your involvement in political activities, parties and groups; and any other involvement in student issues / activities.

The Election Rules
The Election Rules exist to ensure that elections are run fairly and that campaigns are run in a fair manner.

The Rules for Elections apply to all student members participating in any canvassing and campaigning activity in relation to elections. The Rules and Regulations apply to non-members where applicable.

Everything in the Candidate Information Pack, all information published on the Students' Union website in relation to the elections, and the relevent Rules in the Students' Union Constitution are considered to be Election Rules. This Candidate Information Pack provides a summary of the Rules.

Additional rules can be made by the Returning Officer.

Is the responsibility of candidates to ensure that they, and their campaign teams, know the Rules and adhere to them at all times.

It is important that you know the rules – you could be disqualified from the election if you break a major rule. If there is anything that you are unsure about, or if you want to find out if a campaign idea is within the rules, contact Students’ Union Student Voice team.

Remember that you are bound by, the Rules of the Students’ Union Constitution, the University’s Conduct Regulations, Equality and Diversity Policy, Social Media Policy, Student Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy. These apply to all activities, whether on-campus or off-campus, whether online or offline.

Withdrawal
After submitting your nomination, you can still withdraw your nomination if you change your mind about standing for election. You can do this through the same online form which you used to nomiante yourself. The deadline for withdrawal of nominations is the same as the deadline for submitting nominations.

Printed Materials
The Students' Union prints some standard materials for all candidates standing for Full-Time Student Officer posts. This is paid for, and printed by the Students' Union. We will only print materials received before our nominations deadline.

Each candidate for a Full-Time post is entitled to the same allocation of printed material from the Students’ Union. This year the Students’ Union will print the following types of materials for candidates:

  • A0 Posters (Colour) x 2
  • A3 Posters (Colour) x 60
  • A5 Flyers (Colour) x 2500
  • T-Shirts (Students' Union provided) x 5

A4 Manifestos will be published on the Students' Union website. We are providing all colour materials to candidates this year. The specifications for all printed materials, and the methods for submission, are detailed on our printed materials page. Make sure that you get everything to us by the deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Your printed materials will be made available to you at the Compulsory Candidate Briefing on 17 Feb.

Ballot Paper Promotion
When you submit your nomination online, you also have the optional opportunity to upload the following, which will appear on the ballot paper beside your name when voting begins - just before students decide who to vote for:

  • A profile photo for the ballot paper. (We may replace this with a photo taken during your video recording session.)
  • A short manifesto summary. This is where you can include a summary of your manifesto, inlcuding links to social media and campagin videos. This will be a clickable link on the ballot paper.
  • A short slogan. This is about 100 words / 500 characters and will appear on the ballot paper beside your name.

Additional Print and Publicity Materials
“Election material” is defined as being “any publicity documentation (or similar) carrying a candidate’s name (or candidates’ names) and / or encouraging people to vote in a particular way.” This could include non-printed materials such as sweets, banners, and other materials used to promote a campaign.

You must contact the Returning Officer or the Assistant Returning Officer before you print or distribute anything. If you produce printed election material, there are additional rules that you will have to follow. (These are similar to the Rules that apply to the Full-Time Student Officers elections.)

Samples of all election materials must be shown to the Returning Officer, before being displayed or printed. For the this set of elections, the Returning Officer will permit election material to the maximum value of £60.00 per candidate to be produced. You must retain receipts in relation to all purchases of additional election material – the Returning Officer may view these upon demand.

Printed Materials
There is no requirement for candidates to print manifestos, posters or other publicity materials.

The Students’ Union provides no funding for printed materials and provides no printed materials to students participating Part-Time Student Officer, Course Representative, School Representative, Student Council or national conference delegate elections. For this reason, candidates tend not produce printed materials or use other materials in these elections. However, there is nothing preventing candidates from producing their own election and promotional materials. If you do, check the Election Rules.

The Students' Union does not provide printed materials, t-shirts or campaign videos for candidates for Part-Time Student Officer positions.

Candidates for Part-Time Officer positions do not have to attend the Candidate Briefing event or participate in the Candidate Question Time event, though they are welcome to attend to ask questions of Full-Time Student Officer candidates and to ask people to vote for them.

Ballot Paper Promotion
When you submit your nomination online, you also have the optional opportunity to upload the following, which will appear on the ballot paper beside your name when voting begins - just before students decide who to vote for:

  • A profile photo for the ballot paper. (We may replace this with a photo taken during your video recording session.)
  • A short manifesto summary. This is where you can include a summary of your manifesto, inlcuding links to social media and campagin videos. This will be a clickable link on the ballot paper.
  • A short slogan. This is about 100 words / 500 characters and will appear on the ballot paper beside your name.

Additional Print and Publicity Materials
“Election material” is defined as being “any publicity documentation (or similar) carrying a candidate’s name (or candidates’ names) and / or encouraging people to vote in a particular way.” This could include non-printed materials such as sweets, banners, and other materials used to promote a campaign.

You must contact the Returning Officer or the Assistant Returning Officer before you print or distribute anything. If you produce printed election material, there are additional rules that you will have to follow. (These are similar to the Rules that apply to the Full-Time Student Officers elections.)

Samples of all election materials must be shown to the Returning Officer, before being displayed or printed. For the this set of elections, the Returning Officer will permit election material to the maximum value of £60.00 per candidate to be produced. You must retain receipts in relation to all purchases of additional election material – the Returning Officer may view these upon demand.

The Rules for Elections apply to all student members participating in any canvassing and campaigning activity in relation to elections. The Rules and Regulations apply to non-members where applicable:

  • Candidates’ online campaigns can begin at any stage - there are no date restrictions.
  • Candidates are permitted to use social network websites such as Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat. These will be closely monitored - personal attacks on other candidates are not permitted. All candidates will be deemed to be responsible for all statements posted on their behalf on such social networking sites, so you must ensure that all posts are monitored and, better still, vetted before going ‘live’. All students are required to adhere to the University’s Social Media Policy.
  • Election flyers / materials may only be distributed in University buildings or in the Students’ Union – local (Belfast City) bye-laws now prohibit the distribution of flyers or similar in public areas.
  • Banners of any type may not be affixed to the railings outside the Students’ Union nor to any street furniture or Department of the Environment (DoE) property. If you are in any doubt, contact the Returning Officer or Student Voice team before displaying any such materials.
  • For health and safety reasons, no materials may be displayed at a height of greater than eight feet, or in any location that requires the use of a step ladder (or similar). Any materials that breach this rule shall be removed by the Returning Officer (or her nominee).
  • Candidates or their supporters/canvassers may not remove any materials belonging to another candidate(s). If you believe that materials are displayed in a manner that is contrary to any regulation, please bring this to the attention of the Returning Officer.
  • Posters / other printed materials must not be placed over plasma screens, or other displays, in the Students’ Union or elsewhere on campus. Posters / other printed materials must not be placed on doors in a way that impedes visibility through door-glass.
  • Access to the living areas of students at Elms Village will have to be agreed in advance with management at the site. The Returning Officer will issue more details regarding this before formal campaigning begins. 
  • Canvassing in any of the University’s Libraries is prohibited. Students must not be disturbed by candidates or canvassers whilst they are studying.
  • Commercial partnerships/‘tie ins’ are not permitted. No part of any election document (manifesto/flyer or similar) may be used as a discount voucher or may offer any commercial benefit to its bearer.
  • Only pre-packaged edible goods may be distributed as a part of any campaign (e.g. sweets or lollipops that have a wrapper). For health and safety reasons, cooked, baked, or heated goods may not be distributed.
  • Candidates and their supporters must not send unsolicited text messages or emails to any voter.
  • All candidates’ publicity, in whatever format, must conform to your Students’ Union’s Equal Opportunities Policy in the Students’ Union’s Constitution which prohibits discrimination, be it direct or indirect, on the basis of gender, appearance, ethnic, national, regional or racial origin, age, socio-economic background, disability, personal, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation, family circumstances, health, including HIV status, or other irrelevant distinction. Any election material that breaches any of the above stipulations may be ruled out of order by the Returning Officer.
  • Candidates are responsible for the appropriate display of all of their own publicity material which must not deface any part of the University campus.
  • Candidates should only use official noticeboards, seeking permission from the relevant University porter or supervisor in advance, or from the University Estates Directorate. When putting up your posters, candidates must use pins (not staples). You must not cover up any existing posters, although you may remove posters that are unconnected to the elections and are out of date.
  • Posters must not be moved or removed without the permission of those responsible for initially putting up the posters. Students who believe that posters are incorrectly displayed should report this to the Returning Officer for adjudication.
  • Students’ Union equipment or resources must not be used in any way in the furtherance of an Election campaign, unless those resources are made available by order of the Returning Officer.
  • The Returning Officer may at their discretion allow each candidate access to a telephone to receive incoming telephone calls and / or to make outgoing telephone calls.
  • Table / foyer / stall bookings may not be made by campaigns in/about the Students’ Union, or elsewhere on-campus, without the prior authorisation of the Returning Officer.
  • Candidates may approach the media in relation to the elections. However, candidates are not permitted to make or receive any financial payment in return for media coverage. In any public comments made, canvassers / campaigners may not, at any stage, state or imply that they represent the views of Queen’s University Belfast, or Queen's University Belfast Students’ Union.
  • All individuals participating in the elections should not undertake campaigning activity which others could not also reasonably do.
  • The Returning Officer shall have the power to limit the number of canvassers at any polling area.
  • All candidates must, at all times, adhere to the provisions of Rule 2 of the Students’ Union’s Constitution regarding elections.
  • All individuals shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that their campaigning is conducted in an appropriate manner (including any canvassers/campaigners acting on their behalf), regardless of which medium is being utilised.  Any campaigner or supporter failing to comply with the instructions contained within the Rules for this election may be subject to disciplinary action under the University’s Student Conduct Regulations.
  • All individuals participating in the elections are bound by, the Rules of the Students’ Union Constitution, the University’s Conduct Regulations, Equality and Diversity Policy, Social Media Policy and Student Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy. These apply to all activities, whether on campus or off-campus, whether online or offline.

Campaigning in the Community
Problems have arisen in recent years with regard to the conduct of candidates and their supporters in local community areas (including the Holylands, the Stranmillis area, and the Lisburn Road area). All candidates should note that it is their responsibility to ensure that the following rules are adhered to:

  • Election materials, including manifestos and flyers, may be distributed in local community areas, but these must be put completely through letterboxes or handed directly to voters.
  • Election materials may not be affixed to walls, doors, trees in local community areas.
  • Election materials may not be placed on the windscreens of any cars parked in local community areas.
  • The use of megaphones, public address systems, the broadcast of loud music and so on, is prohibited by candidates and their supporters in local community areas (such as the Holylands, the Stranmillis area, and the Lisburn Road area).
  • Littering is strictly prohibited in local community areas – those candidates whose materials cause litter nuisance may be surcharged for the cost of clearing any election materials that create such a nuisance.
  • The use of chalked wording and/or images to promote any candidate is prohibited both on and off campus.
  • Any candidate or supporter who is involved in the harassment of any local resident will be subjected to the University’s Disciplinary Regulations.
  • All candidates should note that they may be held jointly responsible for any misconduct by any person canvassing on their behalf and may again be subject to the University’s Disciplinary Regulations.

Participation by Clubs and Societies in Elections
Clubs and Societies may participate in the Students’ Union elections. Clubs and Societies who participate in the elections must comply with the Election Rules.

Clubs and Societies may endorse and support any number of candidates in the elections and they can communicate their endorsement to their members.

A decision by a Club or Society to endorse or support a candidate must be agreed by the Committee of the Club or Society. It must be formally recorded and minuted. The formal record and minute may be requested at any stage by the Returning Officer or may be requested as evidence in an Election Court.

If a Club or Society formally agrees to participate in the elections – including the endorsement of candidates - they may make relevant communications to their members to that effect. This includes the use of email and social media.

Clubs and Societies resources - financial or otherwise -  may not be used to support candidates. This includes the production of printed or non-printed campaign materials.

Using social media is one of the easiest ways to spread the word about your campaign. It is also very inexpensive – only your time is needed!

Some people will use their own personal social media accounts, others will set up new ones. You can choose the option that is best for you. If you have a lot of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ who are potential voters, it might be best to use your personal account. If you don’t have many potential voters in your social media world, it might be best to create a new account – you don’t want to annoy lots of people that have no interest in the election! Just remember, if you use your personal account, you might have to add strangers as ‘friends’ or ‘followers’.

On Facebook, you can create closed (private) groups to plan your campaign with your friends. You can create open (public) groups for those interested in your campaign. You can make voting an ‘event’ and invite friends or supports to the event.

On Twitter, which is more public than Facebook, you can connect with a wide audience, such as Club & Societies and other student groups. A well run Instagram account can give you huge reach.

Remember to share content between the different social media accounts that you use and to share content with people in your social networks.

Pick the social media tools that you are most comfortable with. It is not worth spending time learning how to use new social media tools and collecting new friends/follows for a short election campaign. Use the tools that you are most familiar with! If you want to use lots of social media, don’t forget about Infogr.am, Instagram, Medium, Snapchat, Thunderclap, Tumblr, Whatsapp, Youtube and Vine to name a few.

Social media posts are most likely to be read and shared if they are short, simple and creative.

The best times to post content are between lectures (when people are checking their phones) and late in the evening before people switch off for the night. You can use tools such as Hootsuite to schedule your messages. This frees you up to talk to students in between lectures instead of spending your time writing social media posts!

Try to respond to comments / tweets about your campaign. Building personal connections is what social media is all about. If there are negative things posted, just be positive about them and respond in a positive manner. Stick to the positive messages of your campaign and never get caught up in personal comments or saying inappropriate things about others. (Remember, as students of the University, you are required to adhere to the University’s Social Media Policy.)

Voting in Elections
Voting will take place as detailed in the official announcements for elections. This announcement details the date, times and locations of voting. Voting usually takes place online, normally on the Students' Union website.

The voting process is outlined within Rule 2 of the Students’ Union’s Constitutional Rules (see below). The voting process is based on the principles of proportinaional representation and the single transferable vote. Students may vote for as many candidates as they wish in any particular election.

Voting with a ‘1’ represents the casting of a ‘first preference’.  Voters may also indicate a second preference with a ‘2’, continuing with further preferences (‘3’, ‘4’, etc) up to the total number of candidates. 

Voting for the elections usually all take place on the QUBSU website. Only Queen’s University students may vote. They can vote on any personal computer or University computer connected to the internet.  All of the University’s Open Access Centres, and your PC or laptop at home, can be used to vote.  Please note that students of St. Mary’s University College and Stranmillis University College are not permitted to stand as candidates or vote in these elections. (They have their own students' unions and elect their own student officers.) There are some other catagories of students inelligible to vote in some elections. For example, students of the INTO-Queen's partnership cannot stand for election or vote in elections to Full-Time or Part-Time Student Officer positions.

Candidates and their canvassers / supporters are not permitted to complete other students’ online ballot papers on their behalf.  If a voter requires assistance to complete their vote and has asked for a candidate or canvasser to assist them, the candidate or canvasser should refuse to do so.

Candidates should bear in mind that it is extremely worthwhile campaigning for all votes, as second and third preferences have had a critical impact upon determining who was elected in previous elections.

Counting of Votes
When electronic voting is over, the QUBSU staff will begin the online count.  This will take place under the supervision of the Returning Officer.  The Students’ Union uses a single transferable voting system.

The procedure for the counting of votes is detailed in the Constitution of the Students’ Union. If such as scenario arises whereby a count cannot take place as described in the Constitution – due to technological limitations – the count shall take place using a process compliant with the process published by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS 1997) as determined by the Returning Officer.

Election results will be announced on the Students’ Union website when counting is complete.

The Returning Officer
The Returning Officer is the person appointed by the Students' Union conduct elections.

For Full-Time Student Officer elections, the Returning Officer is a staff member of NUS-USI, appointed by the Students' Union Council. For all other Students' Union elections, the Returning Officer is a the Clerk of the Students' Union Council, a Students' Union staff member.

The Returning Officer has the following powers:

  • The Returning Officer shall be the sole arbitrator in all matters relating to the election.
  • The Returning Officer shall be responsible for conducting the election.
  • The Returning Officer shall make rulings and issue further determinations as required. Such a determination shall have the same standing as a Rule and shall be effective for that election only.
  • Rulings and determinations shall be made available on an authorised noticeboard of the Union and shall be communicated to candidates.
  • A determination issued by the Returning Officer may be challenged by referral to an Election Court upon petition.
  • If the Returning Officer is satisfied that a person’s failure to comply with any Election regulation is directly due to circumstances beyond that person’s control, they may at their discretion exnempt that person from that regulation. Such a decision may be challenged by reference to an Election Court upon petition.

The Returning Officer can always be contacted through the Students' Union Student Voice team.

Complaints
If  Student Member wishes to lodge a complaint regarding any aspect of an election, they may do so by submitting it, via email, to the Returning Officer or by using the complaints form available on the Students’ Union website. (Note: The complaints form will be available after the close of nominations.)

A complaint should include:

  • The name of the complainant and their contact details;
  • The details of the alleged issue, including details of any individuals involved; and
  • Any evidence that may available.

Complaints will be investigated by the Returning Officer, but they will not constitute a formal request for an ‘Election Court’.

Any Student Member who has reason to believe that there was any irregularity of any kind regarding the conduct of an Election, shall have the right to lodge an Election Petition with the Returning Officer within 72 hours of the alleged irregularity, according to the provisions of Rule 2 of the Students’ Union Constitution. Such a complaints triggers a formal process known as an Election Court. The Election Court will convened to investigate and make a decision on the petition (complaint). Further information can be obtained from the Returning Officer.

Appealing
If you wish to appeal any decision relating to Queen's Students' Union elections, you must do so in writing to the Director of the Students’ Union.  The mechanism and time limits for dealing with such appeals are outlined within Rule 2 of the Students’ Union’s Constitutional Rules. In summary, all appeals must be received within 72 hours of a Ruling by the Returning Officer. An appeal triggers a process known as an Election Court.

If you require further information, you may contact the Returning Officer or Assistant Returning Officer. (studentvoice@qub.ac.uk)

Candidate Use of Personal Data
All candidates in Students’ Union elections are personally responsible for the how they use the personal data of students which the acquire and process in relation to their election campaign.

All personal data must be used in accordance with The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, and all relevant University polices.

Candidates should read this University produced guide and make themselves aware of their responsibilities in relation to using personal data.

Students' Union Use of Personal Data - Data Protection Statement
We will use your personal data in compliance with the University’s Data Protection Policy and Student Privacy Notice for the purpose of enabling your participation in, and awareness of elections, and other representation and campaigning activity conducted by the Students’ Union. This Data Protection Statement applies to both candidates, campaigners and voters in all elections, and to all campaigners and voters in referendums.

Records of names and student numbers of candidates will be retained in accordance with the Students' Union's data retention policy.

The details of how we will use your data is available here.

If you need a helping hand to understand the rules, or just fancy a friendly chat for a little advice, just contact the Students’ Union Student Voice team – They’ll be able to tell you all you need to know about campaigning and the rules.