Election rules

Election Rules 2019/20

Context

1.    It is important to remember that during the election campaign you continue to be bound by sets of rules that, whilst not strictly election rules, still have a bearing on your conduct.

·         Union Rules/Policies: This includes abiding by the Equal Opportunities Policy and Union Code of Conduct. Candidates should be aware that breaking Union rules may result in disciplinary action.

·         University Rules: For example, the bullying and harassment code, damage to University property and buildings, the policy on acceptable use of computers and e-mail etc. This is all outlined in the University Calendar. Breaking University rules can result in a University disciplinary.

·         The Law: For instance laws protecting the defacement of property and the Data Protection Act. Breaking the Law can result in a civil action or criminal prosecution.

2.    Any of these outcomes may put a candidacy in jeopardy and all of the above rules are enforceable by the Deputy and Returning Officer as election rules.

Candidate and Campaigner Conduct

1.    Campaigners must take reasonable steps to ensure that their supporter’s actions comply with the campaign rules at all times and must be able to demonstrate this in the event of a complaint against them. In the event of a dispute as to whether an individual was under the control of a candidate, the Deputy Returning Officer’s ruling will be final.

2.    Candidates and their Campaigners may only alter, move or remove their own campaign materials.

3.    Candidates and their Campaigners may use email lists but only where lawful to do so. In most cases, this will require the consent of the members on the list to use their details in line with GDPR law

4.    Candidates and their Campaigners may seek endorsements and support from anyone but Candidates may not include endorsements or support for any other candidate in their or any other election material.

5.    The bylaws outlaw bullying or intimidating a member into voting for a particular candidate or preference. As a result Candidates and their Campaigners must allow voters to cast their ballot freely and must not communicate with voters in any way once they have begun to complete their ballot. If Candidates and their Campaigners can see how a voter is expressing preferences and voting, they are in breach of this rule.

 

Campaigning & Expenditure

1.    Campaign expenditure is defined as expenditure in pursuit of promoting a candidature and can be further defined from time to time by the returning officer.

2.    Candidates in all elections have a maximum amount (£50 for Full-Tie Officer elections and £20 for Part-Time, NUS and Convenor elections) they can spend on their campaigns once the nomination has been confirmed, which can be reimbursed by the Union upon production of receipts. All expenditure must be accounted for on a form we will provide. Candidates are required to produce receipts of their expenditure by the relevant deadline.

3.    Any expenditure must be both that which all candidates have had the opportunity to carry out, and that which is replicable by all other candidates in a given election.

4.    “Labour Costs” are not counted. Hire, materials production and materials or distribution of consumables is counted.

5.    Where there is a question as to the extent to which it is reasonable to believe that the use of a tactic or resource was open to all, the deputy returning officer’s decision is final and so advice should be sought first.

6.    Whereas candidates may well adopt similar policy stances and use similar publicity materials to other candidates, no candidate shall use publicity to promote another candidate, in the same or other election.

7.    In order to ensure adherence to the principles outlined in by-law 5.9: - No elected officer of the Union of UEA Students (UUEAS) may endorse a specific candidate in any union election in any verbal or written fashion.   - Elected Officers remain permitted to encourage other students to run in the leadership elections. - No electoral candidate may accept and subsequently publish an endorsement by an individual who is not a member of UUEAS.  - No elected Union Officer may offer a specific electoral candidate advice on an individual level on any matters regarding manifesto realisation or manifesto construction, which goes beyond providing general, universal guidance

Campaigning & Expenditure Principle 1- Reasonable: In determining whether the use of a resource needs to be charged to campaign expenditure, the RO will use the “reasonable” test. For example- it is reasonable to assume all candidates own shoes. Thus the wearing of shoes does not need to be accounted for. It is not reasonable to assume all students own a tiger costume. Thus anyone using one as a feature of their campaign should account for costume hire. If in doubt candidates should consult first

Campaigning & Expenditure Principle 2- Replicable: Actions must be replicable by anyone else in the election. For example- if you tell jokes to students outside the union shop, anyone else could do the same. But If you won a blimp in an ebay auction for 25p it is not likely that someone else could buy a blimp for 25p.

Some Examples:

1.    Your father owns a printing firm and gives you 500 swizzles sweets for free. You would have to declare a cost equivalent to 500 swizzles sweets at a commercial rate within your expenditure.

2.    You and 3 other candidates share purchasing of lollipops and therefore get a bulk buy discount for 2,000. Your cost declared would be the cost of 500 lollies without the bulk buy discount rather than a quarter cost of 2,000 lollies.

3.    You own a pen and write “vote Jimmy” on existing posters. The pen does not count as expenditure as it is reasonable to assume that all students can access a pen.

4.    You borrow a blimp and paint on it “vote Jimster”. This is not allowed as it is not reasonable to assume that all students can access a blimp.

Rules: From the Bye Laws (Bye Law 5)

Bye-Law 5: Election Regulations Pursuant to the Articles of Association

These are the rules governing the election of Student Officers, Equal Opportunities Officers, Course Representatives, Union Council Representatives and delegates to the NUS National Conference. Rules governing the election of Student Officers and the NUS National Conference Delegates.

Returning Officer

5.1 The Returning Officer shall be a suitably qualified person external to the University of East Anglia, appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Union of UEA Students and formally approved by the University Registrar. The Returning Officer shall be ultimately responsible for the election.

5.2 The Returning Officer shall monitor the actions of the Deputy Returning Officer, who shall be appointed by the Student Officer Committee and cannot be an ordinary member of the Union, for each election, and will determine any complaint relating to the conduct of the election where appropriate.

5.3 The Returning Officer, and the Deputy Returning Officer, shall undertake any duties necessary to ensure the fair and proper conduct of the elections.

5.4 The Returning Officer shall publish a list of any election rules or interpretations and the timeline for each election in advance of the election taking place having taken advice from the Deputy Returning Officer and the Democratic Procedures Committee.

5.5 The Returning Officer has executive responsibility for interrupting the election regulations and other bye-laws which may impact on the election. They will not normally have “day-to-day” interaction with candidates however retain powers to intervene in the election alongside acting as the final route of appeal for candidates.

5.6 The Deputy Returning Officer will have the delegated powers from the Returning Officer to issue rulings and warning to those taking part in the election in relation to the election regulations and other bye-laws.

5.7 The Deputy Returning Officer shall be responsible for ensuring there is support and guidance provided to candidates and potential candidates wishing to take part in the elections. The details of this support and guidance should be advertised in advance of the election period.

6.8 During the course of the election period additional support may be called on to ensure elections are well run and administered correctly. The Returning Officer and Deputy Returning Officer have the discretion to introduce other election officials to provide this.

Principles of a Union of UEA Students Election and Rules

5.9 All elections taking place at the Union of UEA Students shall be: fair and open, democratic, accessible and transparent.

5.10 A timetable for the election period will be set out by the Deputy Returning Officer, on advice from the Student Officer Committee and Democratic Procedures Committee and made available to members in advance of the election period. All voting figures will be published in good time after the election closes.

5.11 The Returning Officer and the Deputy Returning Officer will publish election campaigning rules, on advice from the Student Officer Committee and Democratic Procedures Committee, that adhere to these principles in advance of the close of nominations for an election.

5.12 It is the role of the Returning Officer, and Deputy Returning Officer, to ensure these principles and the subsequently adopted rules are upheld. Where it is felt that these adopted rules are not being upheld by a candidate the Returning Officer, on advice from their Deputy, make take the following action:

  • 5.12.1 the disqualification of a candidate or candidates from the election;
  • 5.12.2 that promotional materials (including but not limited to posters, flyers and online materials) contravening the regulations be removed;
  • 5.12.3 that publicity be displayed at any fixed Union polling stations and online giving details of an infringement;
  • 5.12.4 order a re-election, starting the election process at any stage
  • 5.12.5 order a re-vote, which shall mean all the election stages which follow completion of nominations, and shall not include the reopening of nominations
  • 5.12.6 order the non-payment of a campaign expenses claim

5.12.7 Student Officers are prohibited from endorsing electoral candidates. ‘Endorsement’ is defined as showing support for candidates through attempting to persuade or dissuade persons to vote for a candidate. This may be through writing, creating and distributing a candidate’s campaign materials and manifesto.

5.12.8 Student Officers that choose to re-stand for a second term are exempt from self-endorsement. ‘Self-endorsement’ is defined as showing support for candidates through attempting to persuade or dissuade persons to vote for oneself. This may be through writing, creating and distributing their own campaign materials and manifesto

5.12.9 Part time officers will have their officer rights suspended for the duration of the election period if they have actively solicited in an endorsement.

5.12.10 Full time officers will be suspended from their role for the duration of the election period if they have actively solicited in an endorsement.

5.12.11 Society and club members may endorse individually but not on the behalf of the entire student group. For example, a president of a club can say you should vote, but cannot say you should vote on behalf of the entire club membership.

5.13 The Deputy Returning Officer has the power, devolved from the Returning Officer, to issue warnings to candidates in the election and should set out in these warnings the action which shall follow if they are not heeded which could be any of the above.

5.14 The Deputy Returning Officer has the power, devolved from the Returning Officer, to suspend a candidate from the election pending the outcome of an investigation into an alleged breach of rules. During this period, the candidate is not permitted to actively campaign or discuss publicly the reasons for their suspension.

5.17 These principles and rules will be kept under review to enable and maximise participation in elections and measures to restrict activity of candidates and campaigns to ensure fairness, and to this effect the Deputy Returning Officer will make recommendations in their Annual Report to the Union Council on adaptations.

Standing in the Election and Campaigning

5.18 Members wishing to stand as a candidate in any election will be required to complete and supply to the Deputy Returning Officer all relevant nomination material in advance of the close of nominations.

5.19 Where possible manifestos or their equivalent will be promoted via student media. It is the responsibility of the Deputy Returning Officer to organise this and no individual candidate should attempt to promote themselves in any Union run student media.

5.20 An opportunity will be provided to members to ask question to the candidates standing in the election. The rules for taking part in this will be developed by the Deputy Returning Officer and made available to candidates in advance of the event.

5.21 Candidates accept any terms and conditions of employment relating to the post at the point of nomination by completing the relevant nomination form.

5.22 Any candidate may withdraw their nomination by informing the Deputy Returning Officer and the Returning Officer, in writing, at any point.

5.23 Whereas candidates may well adopt similar policy stances and use similar publicity materials to other candidates, no candidate’s publicity will be permitted to promote another candidate, in the same or other election.

5.24 Should any member have objections regarding the eligibility of any candidates these should be made in writing to the Deputy Returning Officer in advance of the voting period opening.

The Ballot Paper

5.25 In any election where there are any nominations the ballot paper shall include the statement "Re-open Nominations" (RON). RON will be treated like any other candidate and as such will have a campaign budget equal to the other candidates, will have their votes counted in the same manner and will fall under the same disciplinary actions as the other candidates. If at any stage of the count RON candidate gains the required number of votes to be elected, it shall be deemed to have been elected and any surplus and any further votes, transferred to a further RON candidate. This stage shall be repeated as often as required. The returning officer shall declare unfilled the number of vacancies equal to the number of ‘re-open nominations’ candidates deemed to have been elected, if any. Voting

5.26 The voting system used will be the Single Transferable Vote.

5.27 Candidates and their representatives shall not attempt to bully or intimidate a member into voting for a particular candidate or preference. As such, they must not approach any member who in the process of casting their vote. Complaints and Results

5.28 Any complaint on the conduct of the election or of any violation of these Regulations must be made in writing to the Deputy Returning Officer prior to the count, except where the complaint relates to the conduct of the count itself. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the resolution of the Deputy Returning Officer, or the Deputy Returning Officer is the subject of the complaint, the complainant may make the complaint in writing to the Returning Officer whose ruling shall be final.

5.29 All election results shall be reported, by the Deputy Returning Officer to the next meeting of Union Council.

The Count

5.30 The count shall be supervised by the Returning Officer or their nominee

5.31 The Count should be conducted in accordance with rules outlined by the Electoral Reform Society for running elections by Single Transferable Vote.

5.32 Complaints about the count must be made in writing to the Returning Officer no later than one working day after the announcement of the result.

5.33 The results of the election will only come into effect once the Returning Officer has certified that the result is the accurate outcome of a free and fair democratic procedure.

5.34 A count shall only commence once all complaints and appeals about campaigners have been resolved.

5.35 The count should commence only after the Deputy Returning Officer is satisfied that all complaints relating to the conduct and administration of the election have been resolved.

Complaints

1.    Complaints about the conduct of Candidates and their Campaigners must be sent to the Deputy Returning Officer Jo Caulfield via email on Jo.Caulfield@uea.ac.uk with Election Complaint as the email subject, detailing the allegation(s), the rules broken and any evidence.

2.    All complaints regarding the conduct of Candidates and their Campaigners must be received within an hour of the close of polling on Thur 12 March at 11:00 am.

3.    All complaints must be resolved to the satisfaction of the Returning Officer before the count can commence.

 

for any further information, please contact Esin D'Amery on E.Damery@uea.ac.uk

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