#nsuelections Getting electedRunning a great election campaign
Standing in Union Elections What we will cover • Background to Students’ Union Elections • The Election Process • Key information on promoting yourself and elections • Voting System • Campaigning Tips • Answering your Questions
Students’ Union Elections • Students’ Unions have more elections than any other organisation • Elections offer important experience of democracy • Elections promote the work of the Students’ Union • Fairness between candidates must be ensured • Fairness to the electorate must be ensured • A legal necessity
What is a Students’ Union? • Collection of the generality of students 1. The Union is the representative body • Speaks on behalf of students 2. The Union organises activities & campaigns • By Students 3. The union provides services • In Students’ Interests
What is a Union Officer? • Representative elected by the generality of students 1. The Officers represent the students • To the institution and local community 2. The Officers support student activities • Such as campaigning and societies 3. The Officers direct union services • Such as ensuring its long term financial stability
Elected Officers • We have elections because students need to be represented, but they disagree. • Elections is a mechanism for appointing people to make decisions, research and represent views. • Supported by democratic structures for student body to set campaigning direction and hold elected officers to account • Choice of candidates should be based on • WHAT you want to change • HOW you seek to change it • WHO is trying to do it
Digby Jacks • Digby Jacks was NUS President in 1969 until 1971. He has the following to say about representationRepresentation must never be seen, except in strategic and practical terms, as an end in itself. Too many union officers see it as a question of communication and merely sitting on the appropriate committee. The purpose of representation is to secure social, educational and institutional change- large or small, grand or gracious, collectively or individually. The best officers see this and work on all levels to change things for the better”
In other words… Students’ Union officers are leaders of change for the good of all students.
Elected Officers Change Things • You can change things... • In the Union • In the Institution • In the Community/Country • HOW will these changes make students’ lives better? You will need to ask this to make yourself relevant to voters.
Selected Best Person for the Job Skills and Knowledge Experience Selection by experts Best fit to job Elected Most popular Policies and Ideas Credibility Selection by “the people” Best fit to the students Elected not Selected
The election process • Voting occurs over x weeks. • You will need to get more votes than your opponents. • There are a number of rules and regulations, enforced by the ‘Returning Officer’. • Students can vote at x places • Student can vote by post
The Returning Officer • Ensures Election is run fairly and smoothly • Can appoint deputies and officials • Rules on complaints and disputes • Interprets election rules and regulations and may make rulings along the way • Your returning officer is xxxx • Their deputies are xxxx
Election Rules and Regs • Rules there to create a “level playing field” • Attempt to control behaviour and use of resource without stifling creativity • The Law, Institution and Union rules all count and become election rules • A sense of fair play and friendly competition reflects best on you as individuals and the election process as a whole – and gets more voters!
The Rules (in general…) • If in doubt, ask • Only do what others have had the opportunity to do • Must not use Union resources to promote own campaign • Do not break any general Union/Institution rules • Check first (don’t try and apologise later!)
Information Explain the mechanics of: • Balloting Arrangements – where and how to vote • Question Time Events and Publicity Regulations – where you can promote yourself in print or online • “Campaigning” – where you can campaign • Expenditure – how much you can spend • Postal and Online Ballots – how students can vote remotely • Voting by Proxy – how students can enable others to vote
Transferable votes • The union uses voting by preference • Elects the “least unpopular” candidate • Voters rank their candidates • If I can’t have Jane (#1), I’ll have Tom (#2), if neither then Alan (#3) • A first preference is #1, a second is #2 and so on • Sometimes called Single Transferable Vote (STV) or Alternative Transferable Vote (ATV)
Explaining STV/ATV • You are succesful when you meet “quota” • “Quota” is valid votes / positions to be elected +1 (so in a one position race just over half of all votes) • First preferences (#1) counted • If no-one reaches quota, then lowest excluded and their #2’s counted… • …and so on! • Tip for campaigning is to explain the system and get #2’s if they gave a first preference to someone else
ATV: First Round exclude ron
ATV: Round Two exclude alice
ATV: Round Three ben wins!
Does it ever happen? • When former NUS Treasurer Dave Lewis tried to re-stand as President at his union (Reading Uni) he almost failed…
RUSU President 06: Round 1 exclude mike exclude ron
RUSU President 06: Round 2 exclude matt
RUSU President 06: Round 3 exclude elinor
RUSU President 06: Round 4 Dave wins by 4
Why do people vote? Research shows that people voted because • 72% were asked directly • 70% had seen a poster or flyer • 60% knew what the candidate stood for • 29% had read the manifestos • 4% had read the union’s messageboard
Voting is an unusual thing • Supermarkets (usual) I have to go food shopping every week - so supermarkets get me to choose them • Elections (unusual)I don’t vote very often – in fact I may never have done it at all • You will need to explain why students should vote and why they should vote for you.
Getting votes…for you • Be Realistic “Beer prices at 10p a pint”? • Be Relevant “Increase accessibility of Sabbaticals”? • Be Representative “I will improve our union by…”
They don’t trust... I will listen to YOU I want YOUR ideas YOU are the most important thing Putting YOU in charge They listen to... Having listened to students, I think... I believe.... Students tell me that... I know that... What I will do is... Giving Students Choices
4 steps to “Smashing Apathy” • The Student Experience • Injustice Injection • Beliefs • Action to Achieve
4 steps to “Smashing Apathy” • “I play Rugby”... • “The pitch is rubbish”... • “You deserve better- it’s great at other Uni’s”... • “Proper sports facilities for all”... • “Vote me #1”!!!
Alan Apathy Don’t care but you could impress Ellie Educated Rely on your material Norman Non Voter Don’t care and never will (?) Ursula Unfriendly Hard work but often worth it- apathy staircase... Freddie Friend Friend Could swing to you… Cassie Confirmed Ask for a #2 The Voters
Planning the Campaign • Make a list of groups to target • Get a team together • Think about time vs votes (for you) • Start with innovation and ideas • How do all the activities you are doing connect to each other?
Campaign Expenditure • You will receive an allowance • At close of balloting produce receipts • Campaign expenditure “any expenditure that is carried out with the purpose of promoting a candidate’s election campaign”: • Check rulings • “sponsorship” or “favours” must be available to all candidates
Your Campaign Team • You are responsible for their actions • Gather a wide range/strong personalities • Make sure they are “On message” • Do you allocate responsibilities or tasks? • Make sure they aren’t just leaflet shovers • Have meetings with them • Support them, encourage them and thank them! • Make sure they don’t try any “Dirty Tricks!”
Posters and Flyers • Budget properly • Think about design • Consistency of message and images • Take voters on a journey • Include where/when you can vote
Question Time • INSERT Format and details... • Have confidence • The speech • Intro- Who & Why (creative?) • Do some Apathy Staircases • Vary the pace • Tell them a story • Talk about beliefs and plans • Talk in groups of three • Finish with “vote for me” - where and when
Question Time • 5 minute speech for full time positions • 2 minute speech for part time positions • Questions in writing to chair • All questions must be asked to all candidates • Each candidate 1 minute to answer • Rotate order in which candidates answer questions
Top (Campaigning) Tips • Talk to Students – be friendly and positive • Target places where students congregate – socially and academically • Visit student venues • Get invited to parties • Target main entrances and buildings car parks and bus stops • Be near (but not bunched around) polling stations
Top (Publicity) Tips • Have a clear identity • Highlight your main points • Don’t use jargon or in jokes • Tell them to vote • Get leaflets and posters where you can’t go • Don’t be negative about the opposition or previous officers
Top (personal) Tips • Have fun and be proud of the Union • Don’t fail your course over it! • Prepare for life after election • Expect to win and be ready to lose • Don’t be negative about others – it will get you, your team and voters down