Election Rules




1) It is important to remember that during the election campaign you continue to be bound by sets of rules that, whilst not strictly election rules, still have a bearing on your conduct.

Union Rules/Policies: This includes abiding by the Equal Opportunities Policy and Union Code of Conduct. Candidates should be aware that breaking Union rules may result in disciplinary action.

University Rules: For example, the bullying and harassment code, damage to University property and buildings, the policy on acceptable use of computers and e-mail etc. This is all outlined in the University Calendar. Breaking University rules can result in a University disciplinary.

The Law: For instance laws protecting the defacement of property and the Data Protection Act. Breaking the Law can result in a civil action or criminal prosecution.

2) Any of these outcomes may put a candidacy in jeopardy and all of the above rules are enforceable by the Deputy and Returning Officer as election rules.

Election Rules

  1. For the purposes of these rules, ‘candidate’ includes any members of a campaigning team.
  2. No candidate shall cast, or attempt to cast a vote, or encourage another person to cast a vote on behalf of another.
  3. Candidates must not state in publicity material of any kind that they or any of their policies/ideas have been endorsed by the Union, SU Executive Committee or any individual members of Union Staff.
  4. Candidates will not bribe or attempt to bribe voters.
  5. Candidates may not campaign within the vicinity of a voting station, so as to place undue pressure on those voting.  Similarly, campaign materials may not be left at a voting station. This also applies to electronic voting, which includes any electronic device. For the avoidance of doubt, candidates should not be near any student who is casting any vote through any device or ballot station.
  6. A three-strike system will be in use.  Minor rules breaks will incur a strike.  On the 3rd strike, a candidate will be disqualified from the election.  A warning shall be given before the first strike.  After this, no further warnings shall be given.  For more serious offences other penalties may be given instead of/as well as a strike.  For more serious offences the individual may be subject to HASU or Harper Adams University’s disciplinary procedures.  All penalties are at the discretion of the Returning Officer and/or their deputy.
  7. The DRO shall keep a complaints log and take appropriate action if a complaint is received.  Complaints will not be accepted unless they are in writing and accompanied by the complainant’s name.  This will be kept confidential only where appropriate (not anonymous).
  8. Campaigning officially begins as soon as the Candidates Briefing ends.
  9. All Candidates must attend the Candidates Briefing as stated in this pack. 
  10. The RO (or deputy RO) may alter these rules at their discretion to ensure a smooth election, whilst protecting the Unions’ reputation.  Notification of changes shall be sent by email and candidates also notified of changes at the daily briefing.
  11. Candidates should be aware of the environmental impact that their campaign may have.  These rules are designed to allow flexibility and creativity, however forms of campaigning may be banned at any time should they be deemed to get excessive e.g. too much use of paper.

Candidate and Campaign Teams

Candidates are responsible for their campaign teams and must ensure that anyone campaigning on their behalf understands the rules.  Any rules broken will incur penalties against the candidates and not the individual student, with the exception of misconduct which is subject to the Students’ Union and/or the University disciplinary procedures.

Campaign Materials

  1. Campaign materials are not to be offensive, inflammatory or bring the Unions’ name into disrepute.  Constructive criticism however is allowed as long as a candidate is clearly showing why their ideas improve on others.
  2. All campaign materials must be checked before use by the DRO, or nominated person in their absence.
  3. A grant may be offered to candidates.  Candidates may supplement this with their own money.  ‘Free’ resources are also permitted.  Candidates and their campaign teams are to campaign in a fair manner – anything taking place which the RO or their Deputy deems to give an unfair advantage and is not in-keeping with the candidate may be disallowed.
  4. To claim expenses a receipt and a completed expenses form must be submitted to the Harper Adams Students’ Union Finance Officer, countersigned by the Union Director within one week of the close of voting.
  5. There will be an allowance for photocopying/printing from the office in addition to each budget.  This will be confirmed at the candidates’ briefing before campaigning begins.
  6. Candidates may be as creative as they can and may use any facilities on campus as long as they have permission that can be easily checked should a complaint arise.  Candidates are encouraged to submit evidence of this at the time of having materials checked.
  7. Candidates may not move any materials to make room for their own campaigns (unless they have written permission prior to doing so).  Candidates are encouraged to plan ahead.  Facilities are on a first come first served basis – be creative!
  8. As soon as a Nomination has been accepted by the Deputy RO, a Nominee is then a candidate.  From this point on they may ask for any campaign materials to be checked and their use pre-agreed.
  9. Online campaigning is allowed, in any online media, subject to the above rules.  Online material however does not need to be pre-approved, but will be subject to severe disciplinary action if found to break these rules.  Online campaigning may begin in advance of a nomination being accepted.


  1. No candidate or other person shall make or cause to be made a deliberate misrepresentation of other candidates either verbally or on any publication or by any other means.
  2. No candidates or any other person shall bribe, or attempt to bribe, any elector in any way whatsoever.
  3. A candidate may be subject to disciplinary procedures including disqualification if they or someone acting on their behalf or for their benefit;
    1. Bring HAU into disrepute;
    2. Responsible for corrupt practice (as defined by the Returning Officer);
    3. Disrupt elections;
    4. Dishonest conduct;
    5. Act to threaten, intimidate, deceive, coerce, collude, conspire or use force to interfere with the election process;
    6. Falsify, deceive, deface or destroy any election material;
    7. Artificially create an advantage that any other candidate cannot reasonably (as determined by the Returning Officer or their nominee) replicate;
    8. Interfere in a vote or voting process; or
    9. Act in a way that infringes the rules and regulations set out by the Returning Officer.
  4. A candidate may be subject to disciplinary procedures, including disqualification if they breach any Union or University policy or regulation.
  5. If a candidate faces disciplinary, the procedures can be found in the - Disciplinary Procedures for Members of Harper Adams Students’ Union.

Complaints and Right of Appeal

  1. Complaints shall be made in writing to the Deputy Returning Officer. The Deputy Returning Officer shall investigate and aim to respond to any formal complaint within 48 hours. There shall be a Right of Appeal for complaints, which shall be referred to the Returning Officer. The nature of any appeal to the Returning Officer shall only be based on whether the Deputy Returning Officer’s decision was not:
  2. Entirely based on appropriate regulations and/or; Fair, proper and unbiased. 
  3. The Returning Officers ruling shall be final.