The Rules

Ensuring a fair and transparent democratic process

On this page, you'll find our full Elections Regulations which all candidates and campaign teams must adhere to during De Montfort Students' Union (DSU)'s Elections season. You can also download a PDF version of the Elections Regulations here.

Should you have any queries regarding this year’s Elections, please contact

De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) is run by students for students, and every year we elect our student leaders through a cross campus ballot. The elections are one the most important events of the year for DSU and we look forward to supporting students and candidates in this year’s elections. Within this document you will find the supporting materials needed to enable all students and candidates to participate in a fair, vibrant, and impactful campaign. 

All candidates must familiarise themselves with the information covered in these regulations and the Elections Bye-Law.  The purpose of these regulations is to outline the rules of what candidates can and cannot do during the election period.

The document applies to all candidates running in the elections, alongside campaign team members that are lobbying on behalf of a candidate. This is paramount to ensure DSU’s 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 election, 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.

This year’s Returning Officer is Gareth Oughton, Chief Executive Officer, University of Leicester Students Union.

  1. Deputy 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 election.

This year’s Returning Officer is Colina Wright, De Montfort Students' Union.


Key Dates

  • Nominations open – Wednesday 15 January at 12:00 pm

  • Nominations close – Friday 14 February at 11:59 pm

  • Candidate Briefing (Option 1) – Monday 17 February 2020 at 11-12:30pm

  • Candidate Briefing (Option 2) – Wednesday 19 February 2020 at 3 - 4:30pm

  • Candidate Briefing (Option 3) - Thursday 20 February 2020 at 5:30 -7:00pm

  • Meet and Greet – Tuesday 25th February 2020 at 5 - 7pm 

  • Voting opens – Tuesday 3 March

  • Voting freeze – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 March

  • Voting resumes – Monday 9 March

  • Voting closes – Monday 9 March at 7 pm

  • Complaints deadline – Tuesday 10 March 2020 (12 hours after voting closes)

  • Elections Results Night – Wednesday 11 March


Behaviour Expectations

De Montfort Students’ Union is a democratic organisation which elects students to lead it each year. Below are the election principles which candidates will have to follow. These principles 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 the campus and Leicester city with respect; they should not cause any damage to buildings or structures on campus.
    • Space: Let students study in peace, particularly in the library.
  • Accountability
    • Candidates should not do anything that brings the fairness of the elections into a dispute
    • Candidates’ campaigns should be open, honest and transparent

Campaign Expenditure and Budget

  • Candidates shall be allocated a set budget to allow them to purchase items relevant to their elections campaigning.
  • Allowances:
    • Executive Officers (full-time positions) will be allocated £50 for their campaign budget
    • Liberation Officers (part-time positions) will be allocated £25 for their campaign budget
    • NUS Delegates will be allocated £25
  • These will be fully refunded by De Montfort Students’ Union throughout the election period on the production of valid receipts.
  • Candidates are not permitted to spend beyond these allocated amounts.


Purdah, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is the period leading up to an election, during which new announcements that may influence the election are prohibited. This will commence two weeks prior to voting opening and throughout the voting period.

During this period re-running Officers or candidates can attend public events but cannot promote their candidacy at these events, including but not limited to, Varsity events, Conferences, rallies, protests, mass gatherings (including those online) during the two weeks of purdah as stipulated above. Candidates must seek clarification from the Returning Officer with regards to any additional posts they hold.

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 the election 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 to remain updated on any developments and interpretations made by the Deputy Returning Officer via DSU’s website:

  • Campaigning period:
    • The period of campaigning shall start on 21 February 20120 and shall continue until the close of the ballot, on 9 March 2020. Posters and any other publicity must not be publicly available prior to the start of campaigning.
  • 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.
  • All campaign team members must be current student members of DSU.
  • Polling station restrictions:
    • Candidates cannot campaign or canvass within a 5 metre radius of any polling station. This includes when candidates need to enter to cast their vote, they are strictly prohibited from any attempt to campaign to others who are trying to vote, and cannot wear or be holding any campaigning material(s).
  • Attempting to solicit or coerce votes:
    • Whilst voting can only be done through a polling station or other secure method of online ballot, the use or attempt of using electronic devices for the purpose of casting votes during the voting period is strictly prohibited. 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 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 in to disrepute.
    • All election materials must be declared to the Deputy Returning Officer, 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 around campus.
    • Campaigning materials must be removed on the last day of voting. Any costs incurred for removal of materials, damage to property or cleaning as a result of campaigning will be billed to candidates.
  • Hustings:
    • 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.
    • Candidates must seek authority and permission to canvass in University-owned venues
    • 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.
    • Candidates must be respectful in their campaigning methods to avoid being viewed an intimidating 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 in to disrepute whilst canvassing.
    • Candidates and their campaign teams must respect student’s space and privacy when canvassing on campus. In particular, students must not be approached or disturbed when studying in the library or when in the prayer room.
  • 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 a candidate but must not deny other candidates the platform to speak or canvass for votes from their membership, whether online or in person.
    • 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 election.
    • At the close of balloting, all candidates are required to produce receipts for all of the 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 Union and University policies, procedures and regulations, as well as any legal requirements, during the period of Union elections.

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, or
    • Take other action as they see fit.

Complaints and Appeals

  • Complaints will only be investigated when the Elections 2019 Complaints Form is fully completed. Verbal or written complaints that are not in this form will not be considered. The Deputy Returning Officer shall investigate complaints and make adjudication according to the nature of the complaint.
  • In the event that a candidate 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 and address this to the Returning Officer whose ruling will be final.
  • Any complaint concerning the conduct of a candidate must be submitted to the Deputy Returning Officer no later than 12 hours after the close of voting 9 March 2020.
  • Any complaint about the administration of the election should be made to the Returning Officer, no later than 12 hours after the close of voting 9 March 2020.
  • Once the count has commenced, no further complaints about the conduct of any Candidate or the administration of the election will be considered.


  • 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 these potential developments by checking the Union’s website []. Individual notifications will not be made, so regular updates of this page are strongly recommended.


For any additional information regarding this year’s Elections, please email