Rules and Regulations
Ensuring a Fair and Transparent Democratic Process
This website page covers key rules and regulations for De Montfort Students' Union (DSU)'s Elections. These should be read in conjunction with the Elections chapter of the Bye-Laws, and DSU's Articles of Association.

De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) is run by students for students, and every year we elect student leaders through online ballots. Your elections are an important time of year for DSU and we look forward to supporting you through them. Within this guidance you will find the supporting materials needed to enable all students and candidates to participate in a fair, vibrant, and impactful campaign.

The purpose of these regulations are to outline the rules of what can and cannot be done during an Election period.

These rules apply to all candidates running in all Elections, alongside campaign team members that are lobbying on behalf of a candidate. This is paramount to ensure your Elections are fair, democratic and transparent. These rules must be followed by each candidate and their respective campaign team members. If anyone is found to be breaching any of these regulations, or any part of the Elections Bye-Law, appropriate sanctions will be taken including, but not limited to, disqualification.
Oversight of the Elections
In every DSU Elections, there are two key officials that oversee the free and fair running of the Elections;

1. Returning Officer

The Returning Officer has ultimate responsibility for calling all Union Elections and for their fair running. The Returning Officer is independent from the Union, and shall be responsible for enforcing the relevant Bye-Laws and these regulations.

Our current Returning Officer is Peter Robertson, NUS Charity Director.

2. Deupty Returning Officer

The Deputy Returning Officer is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of the Elections. The Deputy Returning Officer has delegated powers from the Returning Officer to enforce Elections Bye-Laws, alongside issue rulings and warnings to those taking part in the Elections.

Our current Deputy Returning Officer is Amy Horner, Head of Membership Services (De Montfort Students’ Union)
 
Key Dates
In Term 1 2023/24, we are holding the following elections:
Society and Sport Club By-Elections
Nominations Period: Monday 27th November - Wednesday 6th December
Voting Period: Thursday 7th November - Wednesday 13th December
Results Announced: After results have been processed, no earlier than 3.30pm on Thursday 14th December

NUS Delegate Election and LGBTQ+ Liberation Officer By-Election
Nominations Period: Monday 27th November - Wednesday 6th December
Voting Period: Monday 11th November - Wednesday 13th December
Results Announced: After results have been processed, no earlier than 3.30pm on Thursday 14th December

The complaints deadline for all Term 1 elections is 3.30am, Thursday 14th December.

In Term 2, we are holding our Student Leadership Elections. This encompasses all student leadership roles, both voluntary and paid, which need to be elected for the following academic year across all DSU services. This includes (but is not limited to); Society and Sport Committee Members, Faculty Lead Reps, Liberation Officers, and Executive Officers.

Nominations Period: 9am, Monday 22nd January - 11.59am, Wednesday 21st February 2024
Voting Period: 9am, Monday 4th March - 4pm Monday 11th March 2024
Results Announced: Thursday 13th March 2024
Behaviour Expectations
These expected behaviours exist to ensure free, fair and inclusive Elections. It will be the role of the Deputy Returning Officer to decide if a candidate has violated these principles and the appropriate response.

Respect

The student body: No candidate should try to coerce or unfairly influence students to vote.

Other candidates: Candidates should treat each other respectfully and should not interfere with the campaign activities of another candidate.

The environment: Candidates should treat campus(es) and their city with respect - they should not cause any damage to buildings or structures on any DMU campus.

Space: Let students study in peace – no campaigning, canvassing or soliciting of votes in a Library or any other designated study space.

DSU and DMU staff team: inappropriate behaviour towards staff members will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Accountability
Candidates should not do anything that brings the fairness of the Elections into dispute.

Candidates' campaigns should be open, honest and transparent.

If multiple votes are coming in from the same IP addresses - these will be investigated by the Election officials.
Campaign Expenditure and Budget
Budget will not be provided for; Society and Sport Club Committee Election Candidates, Course Rep Elections Candidates, NUS Delegate Election Candidates or any By-Election Candidates, unless deemed appropriate by the Deputy Returning Officer.
Budget will be provided for; Executive Officer Election Candidates, and Liberation Officer Election Candidates in the Term 2 Student Leadership Elections. The campaign budget shall be communicated and explained to these candidates each year, to allow them to purchase items relevant to their elections campaigning.

Candidates are NOT permitted to spend beyond the communicated amounts, and must provide valid itemised VAT receipts in order to be reimbursed.
Purdah
Purdah, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is the period leading up to Elections, during which new announcements that may influence the Elections are prohibited. This will commence when nominations for the elections are closed.

Purdah is only applicable to Executive Officer and Liberation Officer candidates. During this period, these candidates can attend public events both online and in person but cannot promote their candidacy at these events, including but not limited to, Varsity events, Conferences (Both online and in-person), rallies, protests, mass gatherings (including those online). Candidates must seek clarification from the Deputy Returning Officer with regard to any posts they hold or events this wish to participate in.

During this period communication sent out to encourage students to vote will not include any reference to any candidates including current Officers.

DSU and DMU cannot influence Elections in any way and at no time express any preference of whom should be elected.
Campaigning Rules
The following rules are not exhaustive and candidates are responsible for remaining updated on any developments and interpretations made by the Deputy Returning Officer via DSU’s website and/or via emails or other communication sent out by the Deputy Returning Officer or Election Staff on their behalf.

Campaigning Period

The period of campaigning will be announced on the 15th January 2024 for the Term 2 Student Leadership Elections. Posters and any other publicity must not be publicly available online or in-person prior to the start of campaigning.
c Campaign Teams

Candidates are permitted to have a campaign team to help them campaign. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure the members of the campaign team are familiar with these regulations and relevant information in the Elections Bye-Law.

Any campaign team member in breach of these regulations or the Elections Bye-Law shall result in the candidate being investigated and having possible sanctions against them, including being withdrawn from the election.

All campaign team members must be current student members of DSU.

Candidates must email a list of their campaign team members and their P-Numbers to voice@dmu.ac.uk prior to the start of campaigning.

Attempting to Solicit or Coerce votes

Whilst voting will be done through a secure method of online ballot this year, the use or attempt of using shared electronic devices for the purpose of casting votes during the voting period is strictly prohibited. Election officials will continue to review IP addresses to ensure such infringement is not occurring.

This rule applies directly to the candidates, and their campaign team members. If reported, or found to be doing so, the candidate will be withdrawn from the Elections.

Candidates must also refrain from coercion of votes by passing out devices to students or by asking students to log in and voting on their behalf. Any reports of such breaches can result in withdrawal from the Election.

Election Materials

Campaign materials must not have designs, information or slogans which in any way could be interpreted as slander against an individual or organisation.

Campaign materials must not bring DSU into disrepute.

All Elections materials must be declared to the Deputy Returning Officer via the Voice team, in conjunction with the candidate budget.

All manifestos will be presented in a uniform style (same font and size) on the DSU website and other visual platforms online.

Campaign material must not be displayed anywhere on campus without prior approval from the Deputy Returning Officer and/or Election Team.

Hustings

There will be an opportunity for the candidates to talk about their aims and objective whilst debating with other candidates.

Candidates are not permitted to make any direct or indirect derogatory or personal remarks about other candidates, University staff, Union staff or individual students.

Campaigning and Canvassing

Candidates are not permitted to make derogatory or personal remarks about other candidates, University staff, Union staff or individual students.

The use of stickers is prohibited/not allowed on any building.

Posters are only permitted on display boards organised by DSU (locations will be confirmed at the Candidate Briefing).

Candidates and their campaign teams must not take down or deface any other candidate’s posters or campaign material – this includes online photoshopping or editing of posters.

Candidates must be respectful in their campaigning methods to avoid being viewed as intimidating, discriminatory, harassing or aggressive.

Any defacing or sabotaging of fellow candidates’ campaign materials may result in the candidate being withdrawn.

Candidates, and their campaign teams, must not bring DSU into disrepute whilst canvassing.

Mailing Lists

Candidates and their teams cannot use mailing lists that are property of DSU, DMU, or third-party organisation that hold data on students from De Montfort University.

Endorsement

Student groups are permitted to endorse an Executive or Liberation Officer candidate but must not deny other candidates the platform to speak or canvass for votes from their membership in any spaces open to all students, whether online or in person.

Executive and Liberation Officer candidates cannot directly campaign in any Student Group spaces that are closed to members only; this includes both pyhsical meets/events, and online spaces such as social media groups. If a Student Group chooses to endorse an Executive or Liberation Officer candidate, the committee may communicate their endorsement to their group in members only spaces (both physical meets and online spaces). In the instance where an Executive or Liberation Officer is also a Student Group member, they are not permitted to post about their own candidacy in any spaces which are closed to members only, this also applies to both physical meets and online spaces.
Current full-time elected Officers may not endorse any candidate.


Student Council

No candidate shall use DSU’s democratic meetings as a forum for campaigning.

Campaigning Budget

Candidates are not permitted to spend beyond their campaign allowance. If there is evidence to suggest otherwise, they may face being disqualified from the Elections.

At the close of balloting all candidates are required to produce receipts for all of expenditure on their campaign. Any failure to do so shall result in an investigation and the potential to delay the announcement of the election of that specific post(s).

Other Relevant Policies

Candidates must follow all Union and University policies, procedures and regulations - as well as any legal requirements, during the period of Union Elections.

Candidates must adhere to all Government, University and Union Policies.
Breach and Sanctions
In the event of a candidate being found to have broken one or more of these regulations or the Elections Bye-Law the Deputy Returning Officer, and/or the Returning Officer, shall have the power to:

Issue a verbal or written warning

Impose a fine on the campaign budget

Restrict the amount of publicity available for the candidate

Disqualify the candidate

Take other action as they see fit
Complaints and Appeals
Complaints will only be investigated when a complaint has been received in writing via the voice@dmu.ac.uk inbox. Verbal complaints will not be considered.

The Deputy Returning Officer will endeavour to reply to complaints within 24 hours of receipt.

The Deputy Returning Officer shall investigate complaints and make adjudication according to the nature of the complaint;

In the event that a Candidate (who is the subject of a complaint) wishes to appeal a decision of the Deputy Returning Officer they must do so within 24 hours of the ruling. They should do this in writing via email and address this to the Returning Officer whose ruling will be final.

Any complaint about the administration of the election or concerns about candidate conduct should be made to the Deputy Returning Officer, no later than 12 hours after the close of voting.

Once the count has commenced, no further complaints about the conduct of any candidate or the administration of the Elections will be considered.
 
Interpretations
If needed, the Deputy Returning Officer, or Returning Officer, shall make further decisions and rulings on the election. Interpretation will be made in the interest of the electorate above all others.

It is the responsibility of all candidates to remain updated of any potential developments or changes by checking this web page, and their inboxes for updates from the Elections staff teams.

Contact
For any additional information regarding this year’s Elections, please email voice@dmu.ac.uk.