Elections

CANDIDATE LIST RELEASE

Thinking about running but don't want to run by yourself? Two students can run for any of the Part-Time Officer Roles together. Just email the Student Voice Team at union.voice@aston.ac.uk and they can assist you in setting this up.

FAQ

WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT?

Aston Students' Union is a democratic membership organisation. This means that it exists to serve its members (which are Aston students), and that members (also Aston students!) are elected to run it.

Every year, four Sabbatical Officers and ten Part-Time Officers are elected to lead the organisation. If you're an Aston student and you want to make a difference to the lives of other Aston students, then becoming an Officer might be for you!

SO, CAN I BE ELECTED?

If you're an Aston student, then almost definitely. You must have opted in to Aston Students' Union membership - although if you haven't, or are unsure, you can check on opt in on MAP. There is no charge to be a member of Aston Students' Union.

For the Full-Time, or Sabbatical roles (President, VP Education, VP Welfare, VP Student Activities), you must be prepared to undertake a year's full-time, paid work in the Students' Union. Students often do this as a Placement role, or in the year immediately after graduating, although theoretically any student can get involved.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO BE ELECTED?

As with most elections, to be elected, you'll have to get the highest number of votes! All Aston Students' Union members will be able to submit their vote electronically. The voting system used is called Alternative Voting - you can learn about it here. During that week, you'll try to get as many students as possible to vote for you.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO DO?

There are a few things you'll need to do - firstly, you'll need to think about which role you'd be best suited for. Read through the Officer Roles if you're still unsure.

Then you'll need to create a manifesto to show potential voters why you'd be the best candidate to vote for. This can be text-based, or a visual manifesto (made on Publisher, Photoshop, GIMP, Canva, or a similar programme) - or you can submit both. Click here to watch a video to find out how.

After the nomination period has closed, you must attend a training session; check the schedule above for details. You'll also need to get your photo taken by the Students' Union's Marketing team. If you don't get a photo taken, your nomination will be removed from the election.

Deputy Returning Officer's Rulings

The Deputy Returning Officer has issued the following rulings relating to the Students' Union Spring 2021 Election:

Elections Rules & Regulations

PLEASE NOTE: THESE REGULATIONS ARE STILL SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

1. No coercion

This means you cannot pressurise or force students to vote for you. Standing over a student and watching them vote may be seen as coercion. Candidates should not give electronic devices to voters to make them vote.

2. No bribery (financial or otherwise).

This means that you cannot pay students to vote for you or offer to do something for them in order to get them to vote for you.

3. No illegal discrimination.

Candidates should not do anything that could be discriminatory against protected characteristics (Gender, Race, Religion, Disability, Sexual Orientation).

4. Campaigning.

Your campaign should be sustainable, accessible, and Covid-19 compliant. Please do not hand out flyers, put up posters, stickers, and/or hand out food. Candidates should also not book stalls and/or book out rooms for the purpose of campaigning.

Digital campaigning should follow social media platform rules and regulations. For further information, refer to SU Guidance. Spamming and trolling will not be tolerated.

5. All campaign materials should be approved in principle by the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO).

This does not mean every email and every Tweet, but posters and leaflets should be approved.

Any videos and/or pictures taken on campus need to be preapproved (i.e., before you record/capture the content) by Deputy Returning Officer (when ‘no physical campaigning’ is in affect). Breach of this rule in particularly is likely to result in disqualification without a warning being issued (written and/or verbal).

6. All current Aston University and Aston SU rules must be complied with.

  • Local rules apply. For example the Library will not allow any campaigning inside the Library. This includes speaking to anyone within the library and its premises. A breach of this local rule is a breach of the Election Rules.
  • Different schools will have different rules. Some may allow you to leave leaflets in their office. Others may not. If they allow 1 candidate to leave leaflets they must allow all candidates to do so. The university is not allowed to show preference to 1 candidate over another.

BREACHES OF ELECTION RULES

Any breaches of rules should be reported to the Deputy Returning Officer on union.returningofficer@aston.ac.uk.

Screenshots and recordings are required as evidence. The DRO will find it problematic to investigate based on hearsay.

If you witness a breach of campaigning please indicate the specific time, date and location, to assist with the investigation.

What happens if the rules are broken?

Some examples:

  • The candidate could be asked to issue an apology and this could be placed on the SU website/social media.
  • A candidate could be disqualified from the election.
  • A candidate could be reported to the university and/or other authorities.

ELECTION RULES – GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Clarifications to the Guiding Principles may be added throughout the election. DRO decisions and directions to candidates will also be added as appropriate.

  1. All Candidates should have equal and fair access to be able to communicate with students.
  2. Current officers or students in a position within the union/university should not use that position to advantage themselves. This includes SU Course Reps using email lists/social media that they have as a result of being a Rep to contact voters.

DRO CLARIFICATION

  • 2.1.1. Candidates who have a position within the SU/University should not use their control or access to SU/University social media accounts that aren't accessible to all candidates. For example, if a candidate is a member a union club or society and that club or society has a social media account (using the name of the club or society) the administrator of the account should not promote a particular candidate. If any posts on such an account are made to support a particular candidate then all candidates for the position must be allowed access the account to post promoting themselves. The DRO recommends not promoting particular candidates on such accounts.
  • 2.1.2. Union clubs and societies should not endorse or support a particular candidate. Individual members of a particular club or society can state using their personal social media for example, "I am the Secretary of Aston Coffee Drinkers Society and I say vote for Candidate X" but the society should not say "Aston Coffee Drinkers Society supports Candidate X and vote for Candidate X ..." Candidates who received this kind of endorsement should ask that it is taken down and the DRO should be informed.
  • 2.1.3. Candidates are not allowed to have endorsement of any kind for the purpose of campaigning from external companies, organisations, business, and/or people.
  1. Candidates should not canvas or seek the support of Aston University or SU staff.
  2. There will be equal support offered to all candidates.
  3. Candidates must be open and honest in their campaigning.
  4. All students should be given a free and fair choice at the point of voting.
  5. Voters should not be harassed or given direct instruction on how to vote at the point they are making their vote.
  6. Campaigning should be done by students at Aston to students at Aston.
  7. Negative campaigning should be avoided. This is focussing on bad things or perceived bad things about other candidates. Campaigning should be based on what you will bring to the role.
  8. Candidates should not ask for the support of SU staff.
  9. Ignorance will not normally be considered a defence.
  10. Teams/slates are permitted. The DRO should be informed when a slate/team exists. If the DRO is not informed that a group of candidates are standing on a slate/team the DRO will look to the facts and the reality of the situation to decide whether candidates are standing as part of a slate/team.