Elections Rules

Rules (From Section F of the Bye-Laws)

F. Major Elections


1. These Bye-Laws shall apply for all elections conducted by cross-campus ballot, and for all elections of members referred to in the Constitution other than Management Group Chairs and Treasurers.

The Returning Officer

2. The Governance Committee will, at least once per academic year, appoint an appropriately qualified person to act as the Returning Officer, who may not be a current Member of the Union and whose appointment must be ratified by the Board of Trustees.

3. The Returning Officer shall:

3.1.  Be the final interpreter of the Major Elections Bye- Laws.

3.2.  Appoint (and dismiss if necessary) deputy returning officers and other officials to ensure the good conduct and administration of the elections.

3.3.  Oversee the count and declare the results of the elections.

3.4.  Set rules, regulations and guidelines other than these election Bye-Laws to govern the conduct of the election.

3.5.  Seek legal advice if he/she believes that statements made or the contents of publicity could leave the Union open to legal action.

3.6.  Rule out of order any statement or the content
of any publicity which in the Returning Officer’s view is in breach of the constitution, the law or any other appropriate rules and guidelines.

3.7.  Be empowered to issue warnings to candidates in accordance with these election Bye-Laws and any rules and regulations issued in accordance with the above.

3.8.  Be empowered to issue fines to candidates up to a maximum set by the President, in accordance with these election Bye-Laws and any rules and regulations issued in accordance with the above.

3.9.  Deliver, or ensure the delivery of, appropriate training to all election candidates.

3.10. Make available an information pack to potential candidates for each election outlining relevant rules and procedures.

4. The following powers shall be reserved by the Governance Committee having taken advice from the Returning Officer:

4.1. Disqualifying a candidate

4.2. Ordering a re-run, and

4.3. Setting aside ballot papers.


  1. The Returning Officer shall deal with complaints regarding the conduct of candidates, their supporters and campaigns, and the administration of elections.

  2. Complaints regarding the conduct of the Returning Officer shall be referred to the Board of Trustees. The onus is on the complainant to set out such complaints in writing for the Board of Trustees’ consideration.

The Process of Elections

7. The Returning Officer shall produce an election timetable, not less than five (5) clear College days in advance of nominations opening which shall outline:

7.1. The process for nomination, with nominations open for at least three (3) College days.

7.2. Details of candidates’ meetings

7.3. Details for the submission of manifestos

7.4. Details of any hustings

7.5. Arrangements for the ballot, with voting open for at least two (2) College days.

7.6. Arrangements for the count

  1. The Returning Officer shall produce details of the arrangements for balloting and for complaints procedures, and ensure that they are publicised to all Members eligible to stand, and or vote.

  2. The election will be conducted in accordance with the rules outlined by the Electoral Reform Society for running elections by the Single Transferable Vote system for elections with more than one position available, and the Alternative Vote system for elections with one position available.

10. The Returning Officer shall ensure that any additional details, or amendments to the arrangements, are publicised to all students in a timely fashion.

11. The Returning Officer shall ensure that all candidates sign a statement of intent that they will take up the position, and that they are satisfied the election has been run fairly before the count.

12. No candidate may challenge the result of the election once the count has been held.


13. Nomination forms will be available to all Members eligible to stand.

  1. It shall be the responsibility of nominees to ensure that nomination forms are completed accurately and submitted before the deadline.

  2. Nomination forms shall require one (1) seconder.

  3. Any Member of the Union eligible to vote in the election may second a candidate.

17. The Returning Officer shall have the sole responsibility for declaring a submitted nomination form valid.

18. When the Returning Officer is satisfied, all valid nominations shall be confirmed with the candidates and published.


19. Manifestos must be submitted by the date laid down in the election timetable and must comply with any format requirements stipulated by the Returning Officer.

20. The Returning Officer will ensure that manifestos are available to voters at the point of ballot.

Campaign Publicity

21. The Returning Officer will determine the allowance for publicity available to each candidate for each election.

  1. The Returning Officer shall stipulate a maximum amount that candidates may spend on their own election campaigns.

  2. All candidates in each election shall have an equal publicity allowance.

  3. The Returning Officer shall draw up regulations for the conduct of candidates’ campaigns. Any breach of these regulations could lead to disqualification from the election.


25. The Returning Officer may arrange a hustings for the candidates in an election.

26. Candidates will be informed of the format of any hustings at the initial candidates’ meeting.


27. Any candidate may withdraw from the election at any point by informing the Returning Officer.

28. If a candidate withdraws during the ballot, or after a point at which the ballots cannot be amended, the Returning Officer will ensure that the voters’ next preferences are counted in accordance with the principles of the Electoral Reform Society.


29. The Returning Officer will ensure that all eligible members of the Union can vote.

30. The Returning Officer shall decide the method of voting and publicise it appropriately.

31. The Voters shall be able to express preferences for as few or as many candidates as they wish subject to the instructions on ballot papers.

32. Ballots shall bear the chosen name of each candidate, and of the position being contested.

33. The order of names on the ballot shall be decided by the drawing of lots or by using an electronic system which ensures the order of names on the ballot is chosen at random.

34. There will be a facility for voting for “Re-Open Nominations”.

35. Voting shall be by secret ballot.


36. Results of the election shall be declared by the Returning Officer when the count for each post has been successfully completed.

37. A list of successful candidates will be published within one (1) clear day of the declaration of the results.

By-Elections and Co-Options

38. If any Union Office falls vacant, Union Council shall determine if and when a by-election should be called, except the Officer Trustees and elected Student Trustees, in which case the vacancy will be resolved in accordance with the Constitution.

The rules for The Summer Elections 2020 as set by the Returning Officer

A. General Rules

1. All rules listed here are in addition to the rules set out in the Union Bye-Laws Section F. Major Elections.

2. The rules of the elections will be interpreted and enforced by the Returning Officer (RO) and Deputy Returning Officers (DROs).

3. Rulings made by the RO or DROs will be communicated to all candidates and as such become rules for that election. It is up to candidates to ensure that they are aware of the latest rules and rulings which will be available at imperialcollegeunion.org/elections/ rules. The latest and correct version of the rules will always be in the downloadable Candidates’ Pack available here.

4. Candidates are responsible for all those acting in support of them, on behalf of them, as part of their campaign team or distributing their campaign material where the candidate may be deemed by the RO or DROs to have been in a position to control that individual’s actions.

5. Any activity that is illegal, breaches College rules, policies and codes or Union bye-laws, regulations, policies or constitution or GDPR is deemed to be in breach of the election rules.

6. The College is still a place of work for students and staff alike during the election period as it is the rest of the year. This must be respected during your campaigning.

7. If a candidate is in any doubt as to any campaigning activity that they intend to undertake, they are advised to speak to the RO or DROs before undertaking the activity in order to obtain a formal ruling.

8. General feedback on the Election process can be made using the online form at imperialcollegeunion.org/ elections/feedback.

B. The Returning Officer

1. The Returning Officer’s duties are set out in the Union Bye-laws Section F. 3-4.

2. Any complaint about the conduct, not the decisions, of the RO’s can be made to Board of Trustees’ Governance Sub-Committee through the Union’s complaints procedure as detailed in the Union Bye- Laws Section F.

C. Nominations

1. Nominations will be open from 12:00 Wednesday 27 May and close 14:00 Friday 5 June.

2. Nominations can be made online at imperialcollegeunion.org/vote.

3. Nominations require one seconder.

4. All candidates must attend meetings as requested by the RO and DROs.

D. Expenditure

1. Candidates in all elections have a maximum amount they can spend on their campaigns once the nomination has been confirmed. Candidates are asked to produce receipts of their expenditure by the relevant deadline. Any expenditure must be both that which all candidates have had the opportunity to carry out, and must be replicable by all other candidates in a given election. Campaign expenditure is defined as expenditure in pursuit of promoting a candidature as further determined by the Returning Officer.

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

E. Campaigning

1. No candidates’ publicity may appear before the beginning of campaigning on 14:00, Monday 8 June 2020.

2. All campaigning must be conducted online. No physical campaigning is permitted due to social distancing rules.

3. All campaign material for all positions must cost no more than £25. The Union will refund 100% of the campaign materials for the Constituent Union President position.  The Union will not refund campaign materials for other positions and all costs must be covered by the candidate.

4. All campaign material must comply with the Union’s Publicity Policy, available here.

5. All digital posters, digital flyers and websites must include the predesigned Summer Elections 2020 banner available here. Other use of the Union or College logo on campaign material is prohibited.

6. Candidates’ manifestos and photos must be submitted online at imperialcollegeunion.org/vote by noon, Monday 8 June. Manifestos may be no more than 250 words long. Any words over 250 will be removed before the manifestos are published.

7. Candidates and their campaign team may not harass, coerce or use intimidation to persuade someone to vote or who to vote for.

8. Candidates may use social networks or their own website to promote their campaign.

9. All candidate websites and social network pages must contain a link to the elections website imperialcollegeunion.org/elections.

10. Candidates are allowed to use Facebook groups, WhatsApp group chats, mailing lists and other forms of group communication only if they have collected consent to be contacted from those individuals during the campaign period and the group was formed for the sole purpose of campaigning in this election.

11. All Twitter accounts used for campaigning must follow @icunion.

12. All campaigning done through Facebook and Twitter must contain the hashtag ‘#icuElections’.

F. Complaints

1. Any complaint must be submitted using the online Elections Complaint Form available here.

2. Only completed Elections Complaint Forms will be considered by the RO or DROs.

3. Complaints should be submitted within 24 hours of the incident in question or at the earliest possible moment.

4. Complaints cannot be anonymous and the ruling by the RO or DROs regarding any complaint may be communicated to all candidates within the election.

5. Complaints involving severe breaches of the rules will be dealt with by the RO. The RO may choose to allow the DROs to rule on all other complaints.

6. The RO will define to the DROs their interpretation of severe and non-severe breaches of the rules.

7. The RO or DROs may make a ruling including, but not limited to, the following sanctions. Depending on the severity of the breach, any or all of these steps may be by-passed when making a ruling.

7.1 Issuing a formal warning

7.2 Reduction in campaign budget or amount the Union will refund

7.3 Suspension of campaigning 7.4 Disqualification

G. The Count

1. Results of the election shall be announced once the count has been made within one (1) College day and the results published.