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Committee Elections

All Principal Officers need to be elected – this varies from group to group but at minimum the President and Treasurer or equivalent (for Student Media Outlets, this is the Managing Editor and Deputy Managing Editor) are classed as Principal Officers and need to be elected. For more information on committee structures visit the training hub.

Elections for Principal Officers must take place via an online election on the Students' Union website

Empty positions on your committee? You must always have a President and Treasurer or equivalent (or for Student Media Outlets, a Managing Editor and Deputy Managing Editor) elected on your committee. Should someone resign or is removed from one of these positions, you will need to hold an election as soon as possible.

If you have other vacant roles that you want to hold elections for, get in contact with your relevant staff support for advice.

Online elections on the Students’ Union website, will appear on your group’s webpage. For Societies, Volunteering Groups, and Student Media you should have a 'Returning Officer', meaning someone who is in charge of running your elections. Candidates can upload their manifesto on the website, and once voting opens all members can see the full candidate list and cast their votes. Your staff support will then count the elections for you and inform the Returning Officer of the results, with the expectation that they then share the results with their members. We will normally contact you about elections in Semester 2, but if you have any questions please email your staff support.

If you are a sports club, please email for more information about your elections.

How do they work?

There are two main parts to an election: a nominations period and a voting period.

Nominations Period: This is when the positions you are electing are open for applications. Members of your group* put themselves forward for a role (known as standing for a role), often with a statement of why they want to run, why they should be elected, and what they’ll do if elected. This is also known as a manifesto.

Voting Period: Once nominations are closed a candidate list is published so you can see who is running for which role. You may decide to hold hustings or a candidate question time, which gives members of your group an opportunity to meet the candidates and see how they compare with one another. Your members then cast a vote, and the person with the most votes gets elected.

*please note that in order to be eligible to run for a role, the member must be a paid member (this does not apply for Volunteering Groups), and a student during the whole time they are in this position if elected.

Benefits of using online elections

We know a lot of groups prefer electing their committee through an AGM, but we would encourage you to switch to an online election. Here are the benefits:

  • It does not stop you from holding an AGM if you decide to do this: you can always host one so people can come forward to run for a position and explain why they want to run, but then the voting is moved online. Or you could have voting occur during your AGM.
  • It is more accessible for members: it allows more time for members to see the candidate list, read their manifestos, and make an informed decision before they cast their vote.
  • It’s easier to verify who are members: When you hold elections, only paid members can participate (not applicable for volunteering groups). If you hold paper elections but do not verify that everyone who voted, this invalidates the votes and you are required to hold another election.
  • We use Alternative Transferable Voting, which is a type of proportional voting which takes greater account to people’s preferences in who they want elected. For a full explanation of how this works, you can watch this video.
Watch video

An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is where you and your members can discuss anything, whether it is an idea for a future event, feedback on the year, or a general concern. If you have a Constitution, this is where changes to it can be proposed and voted on (see more information below).

Please note we do not accept paper election results for principal officer roles, elections must be held online for President (or equivalent) and Treasurer (or equivalent).

AGM minutes template Guide to running an AGM

The handover process involves a document both the outgoing and incoming committee are required to complete so that the new committee has all the information they need ahead of the new year. This is a requirement for groups to complete so they can maintain their affiliation to the Students’ Union.

This process typically starts in May/June; after all the incoming committees have been elected: your relevant staff support will be getting in touch with you nearer the time to complete this task.

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