Election FAQ's

What are the Students’ Union elections?
What are the Elections for?
When do elections happen?
Who oversees the elections?
What is a manifesto?
I am a candidate, why am I unapproved?
What if I can't stand or vote in an election?
Can I stand for more than one position?
Do the elections have rules?
How does campaigning work?
What support is available?
Can I get an extension on my university work?
How does voting work?
Who is R.O.N.?

What are the Students’ Union elections?

The Students’ Union (SU) is a democratically led organisation, and relies on individuals coming forward to run for an array of different positions. Throughout the year the SU runs a series of elections to fill positions within the Union.

The leaders of the Students’ Union are the four sabbatical officers, and these positions need to be elected by the student body. These roles are full time paid jobs and make the perfect graduate job if you’re looking for employment after your degree.  

During campaign season you will tend to find many students campaigning and championing for different areas of the student experience across our campuses. They’re doing this because they need your votes and your support to try and guarantee them a win. 


What are the Elections for?

Our May By-Elections are to fill the vacant positions from the main March elections. Please see below for the positions that are available -


  • Senior Academic Representatives (Part time, Voluntary Positions) -
    • Bath Business School Senior Academic Rep - Undergraduate

For Senior Academic Representative role descriptions click here.


  • Equality Representatives (Part time, Voluntary Positions) -
    • Disability Rep
    • Gender Equality Rep
    • International Students Rep
    • Parent and Carer Rep
    • Religion and Belief Rep
    • Women’s Rep

For Equality Representatives role descriptions click here.


  • Course Representatives (Part time, Voluntary Positions) -
    • ALL Undergraduate Courses, for students returning to study in September 2019.

For Course Representative role descriptions click here.


  • Club and Society Committee Members (Part time, Voluntary Positions)
    • The three compulsory positions all committees should have are…
      • President
      • Vice President/Secretary
      • Treasurer
    • With additional positions of...
      • Captain (AU specific)
      • Social Secretary (Socials)
      • Social Secretary (Events and Fundraising)
      • Media Secretary (If Applicable)
      • Academic Secretary
      • Wellbeing Officer
      • Online Media Secretary
      • Welcome Week Secretary

For Club and Society Committee Member role descriptions click here.


When do elections happen?

To run in our elections there are several dates you need to bear in mind.

Nominations open from 10am Monday 13th May and close at 10pm on Friday 17th May. 
This is your opportunity to put yourself forward on our website, write your manifesto and create your elections profile ready for when voting starts. 

We will be running a candidate briefing and information session at 5pm in CM. 131 on Monday 13th May where you can get tips about campaigning and find out some more about the regulations.

Voting opens from 10am on Monday 20th May and Closes at 10pm on Wednesday 22nd May.

Student Leader election results will be read out from 1pm in the SU Bar on Thursday 23rd May. 


Who oversees the elections?

The Returning Officer will oversee the elections and ensure confidence in the validity and legality of the elections. They will be the final interpreter of the Elections Regulations. 

  • The Returning Officer for Officer elections will be a National Union of Students staff member. 
  • The Returning Officer for non-Officer elections will be the Chief Executive Officer or their nominee.

As well as the above we have an elections committee made up of SU staff/representatives, Uni staff and students from our Democracy and Scrutiny Committee. The purpose of the committee is to handle any issues or complaints quickly and ensure that the elections are conducted in a fair and democratic manner, whilst passing on anything relevant to our external Returning officer. 

You can email su-elections@bathspa.ac.uk at any time to ask the committee or Returning Officer a question, voice a concern or report an unfair situation. 


What is a manifesto?

A manifesto is a public declaration of your aims which outlines what you stand for as well as putting forward what you want to achieve whilst you’re in office. 

Essentially your manifesto needs to say WHY you think you would be a good elected representative and WHAT you would do if you were elected.
Every manifesto is different and it allows potential voters to see why they should vote for you.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a manifesto, many students will vote based on what they read, for many students this will be their first time of getting to know you as a candidate. 


I am a candidate, why am I unapproved?

This is to do with your position being accepted on the SU website. 

You will find that if you have put yourself forward over the nominations period it will say that it is ‘awaiting approval’. Do not panic! We review all nominations once the nomination period is over. 

If you find however that from Monday 13th May it still says ‘awaiting approval’ it may be best to email su-elections@bathspa.ac.uk as there may be a technical problem. 

*It’s also important to note that once the nomination period is over, you can will only be able to edit your manifesto and profile on the website for a few days. So be sure to make sure your manifesto, photo, slogan and other information is up to date and completed as soon as possible. 


What if I can't stand or vote in an election?

If you see a message that says you're ineligible to stand or vote for a particular position please contact su-elections@bathspa.ac.uk. It's possible that you may not meet the requirements for that position or there may be a technical error. Please include your full name, student number and the specific position you would like to stand for in your email. 


Can I stand for more than one position?

Sometimes - it depends on the positions. Candidates may not stand for or hold more than one elected Officer or Representative post. However, anyone may stand as NUS Conference Delegate or Student Trustee in addition to a Representative or Officer post or hold a course representative or club or society committee member simultaneously.

If you aren't sure, please email su-elections@bathspa.ac.uk and include your full name, student number and the specific position you would like to stand for in your email. 


Do the elections have rules?

Yes. And you must be aware of them if you’re running as a candidate. 

A copy of all the rules can be accessed here.

If you’re a candidate please read through them carefully. If you’re not a candidate but have any questions or would just like some clarification about something, please email su-elections@bathspa.ac.uk. 


How does campaigning work?

In the context of elections, campaigning is what candidates do to get votes - it's not just handing out leaflets or writing a post on social media. Successful candidates take time to listen and speak to students, find out about the current issues relevant to the role they're standing for and persuade voters with ideas and enthusiasm, not just trendy slogans or avalanches of tweets. 

You cannot officially delcare you are running for a position in the elections until nominations have closed. So you can prep, organise a campaign team, make your posters and anything else behind the scenes beforehand but you can't start campaigning publicly, online or in person, to students until the end of nominations.

There are further rules surrounding campaigning which can be accessed under section 5 via https://www.bathspasu.co.uk/pageassets/elections/2019-Elections-Regulations.pdf


What support is available?

Throughout elections week there are members of SU staff on hand at all points of the day, if you have any concerns about anything please find one of them and they shall be able to help where appropriate. 

If you have a specific question that you would like an alternative member of staff to answer, such as a current sabbatical officer, then please email su-elections@bathspa.ac.uk and the appropriate person will respond to your question. 

Throughout elections week we will be regularly checking in with all candidates to make sure everything is going okay. More information about will be explained closer to the time. 


Can I get an extension on my university work?

There is no blanket policy on extensions during campaigning week, we advise students to get in touch with their tutors or schools if they think they will need an extension on a piece of work. We advise that you try and get as many deadlines out of your way as possible before the voting period to ensure that you don’t have added stress whilst you’re campaigning.  


How does voting work?

All voting takes place via the SU website, or via a polling station. For website voting head to https://www.bathspasu.co.uk/elections/

Bath Spa SU uses Single Transferable Vote (STV), a representation system in which a person’s vote can be transferred to a second or third choice (according to their stated preference) if their first choice is eliminated during the vote count.

If you want to understand more, take a look at this youtube video explaining how another SU used STV. The most important aspect of STV is that a voter ranks candidates in order of their preference so if you speak to a student who has already decided not to vote for you, convince them to make you their second choice – it could make all the difference when determining the result.


Who is R.O.N.?

RON isn't actually a candidate – it stands for Re-Open Nominations. You can put RON as a preference if you feel that the remaining candidates are not suitable for the position. Voting RON is an active vote against the other candidates – it's not an expression of indifference. If Re-Open Nominations is elected to a position then nominations for that post are re-opened at a later date.