Elections 2020: FAQs

When do elections happen?

The Students’ Union’s main elections happen in February/March every year. In 2020, the main dates are:

  • Nominations open Monday 6th January
  • Nominations close Friday 14th February
  • Voting opens Thursday 27th February
  • Voting closes Thursday 5th March
  • Results announced Thursday 5th March

The main elections is when we elect our Executive Officer team (full-time, paid leadership roles) and most of our Part-Time Officer positions (part-time, voluntary leadership roles).

The Students’ Union also elects different types of student leaders at different points throughout the year, including Student Reps and Halls RAs/JCRs.

Why do we run elections?

At the Students’ Union we help to make sure we are student-led by asking our members to elect students to thousands of leadership positions each year, from running a society to representing students on the University’s Board of Governors.

During our main elections period in February/March, we elect students into full-time or part-time positions who represent different groups of students and campaign on a variety of issues. The election is the opportunity for any eligible student to run for a position, and for other students to choose which candidate they want representing them.

How do I run in the election?

Nominations for the main elections will open on the Students’ Union website on Monday 6th January. In order to run in the election, you will need to complete the online nomination form. The nomination form includes your manifesto.

To nominate yourself follow these simple steps:

  • Head to manchesterstudentsunion.com/nominate
  • Find the position you’d like to run for and click ‘Submit’
  • Upload a photo of you and your manifesto
  • Submit it! Before the close of nominations you’ll receive confirmation that we’ve approved your nomination

Once you’re a candidate, you will be expected to campaign to encourage other students to vote for you, and discuss the issues you’d like to work on in that position. Throughout the campaign you will need to abide by our Election Rules and help make sure the election is fun, free and fair.

We will be running Candidate Academy sessions throughout the nominations period. You should come along if you are thinking of running and want more information and tips about the elections process, writing your manifesto, or campaigning.

What is a manifesto?

Your manifesto is your chance to tell other students why they should vote for you, and sets out your ideas and plans. You should explain why you want to represent students and what changes or projects you would implement if you are elected.

The manifesto is limited to 300 words. When you submit your nomination form online, this must be text only but you can embed links to social media pages, videos, images, etc. Many candidates also choose to create artwork for their manifesto, which you can use as part of your campaign materials.

For more information or advice on writing your manifesto, come along to one of our Candidate Academy sessions:

  • 15th January 4-6pm
  • 22nd January 1-3pm
  • 4th February 5.30-7.30pm
  • 11th February 10am-12pm

Can I run in an election if I am an international student?

Yes! International students can run for any position, including full-time Executive Officer positions. In fact, we have a full-time International Officer on our Executive Team, as well as two part-time International Officers, which are roles targeted specifically at international or EU students.

However, there may be visa implications that you will need to be aware of. If you run for a part-time position, your visa may state a maximum number of hours you can work or volunteer per week. If you are successfully elected to a full-time position, the Students’ Union will support you if you require any changes to your visa. When you submit your nomination, you should let the Elections Team know if you will require a visa for the term of the position.

Can I run in an election if I am a postgraduate research student?

Yes! We have a Postgraduate Officer position on our Executive Team, but all of our Executive Officer roles are open to PGR students, and you can take up the role either at the end of your programme, or as a sabbatical year during it.

If you are intending to take up the role before submitting your thesis, you should discuss your plans with your supervisor to see if they have any concerns. We would expect supervisors to give serious consideration to your plans. If you receive funding or financial sponsorship, you should check with your funding body if taking up a full-time position would affect your eligibility for funding.

Can I run in an election if I am a postgraduate taught student?

Yes! We have a Postgraduate Officer position on our Executive Team, but all of our Executive Officer roles are open to PGT students.  As most PGT programmes would be ongoing when Executive Officers start working (mid June), it is important for you to have a clear plan for how you will complete your course. You may choose to complete your dissertation early, or to defer your studies and return to complete them later. However, the Students’ Union will also support you to complete your studies through flexible working arrangements.

Can I stand for more than one position?

In the main elections period in 2020, you can only run for one position. This is because all of the part-time and full-time positions have a seat on the Students’ Union Senate and so must be held by different people.

Do the elections have rules?

Yes, we publish the rules at the beginning of the elections period and send to all candidates. You should read these carefully, as you will be investigated and may be penalised if candidates or their campaigners breach the rules. The rules are in place to ensure we have a fun, free and fair election.

How does voting work?

Voting will open online on Thursday 27th February. The Students’ Union uses the Single Transferable Vote method, where voters rank the candidates in order of preference. By voting this way, you can tell us that if your favourite candidate doesn’t win, then you don’t mind your second favourite winning, or third favourite, or so on.

When voting closes and we count the results of the election, we require a candidate to have over 50% of the votes to win. If no candidate gets over 50% of the votes, then we eliminate the candidates with the lowest scores and redistribute your voting preferences until someone does. If you want to find out more about STV voting, you can watch this helpful video here.

Who is RON?

We include the option to Re-Open Nominations (RON) in every Students’ Union election. You would usually vote for this option if you do not want to vote for any of the candidates on the ballot. If RON wins the election, the post will be re-opened for by-election at a suitable time in the future.

If you have any unanswered questions, please get in touch with the Elections Team at suelections@manchester.ac.uk 

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