With the 2021 Students’ Union elections on the horizon we’re looking to better inform those interested in running for our student leadership positions, keep them updated and send them any key dates.
To help with this, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions from our annual elections and you can find these below. If you have a question that’s not included below and would like to know more, do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Why would I want to run in the Students’ Union elections?
All of our student leadership positions offer an individual the chance to improve the student experience across the University and this means every individual will have a different set of skills they can bring to each role. So whether it’s ensuring we have 24-hour library access, improving services on campus or removing hidden course costs, being a student leader gives you the opportunity to make the changes you want to see. All of our student leadership positions also help to boost your employability prospects and with the competition for jobs becoming even tougher once you’ve graduated, standing in one of these roles can set you apart from the rest.
2. What positions are on offer?
We have a whole host of different student leadership positions up for election this year, all of which help to have a positive impact on the student experience at Bucks.
Firstly, we have our three sabbatical officer roles. These are full-time, paid positions and the sabbatical officers are responsible for leading the Union and shaping the work that we do. The three positions are:
- President – The lead for the Students’ Union and is the main link of communication between the Union and University
- Vice President Education and Welfare – Responsible for looking after the academic experience of students at Bucks and ensuring they are safe during their time at the institution
- Vice President Student Involvement – Responsible for looking after the extracurricular experience of students at Bucks, in particular: sports, societies, volunteering and charitable fundraising.
In addition, we have eight executive officer positions. These are voluntary roles and each executive officer is responsible for a specific student group, helping the Union to gain a better understanding of their experience here at Bucks. The executive officer roles are split into two groups of four. The first group is based on how an individual defines themselves and you can only stand for one of these positions if you define to the roles available. These are:
- BME Students’ Officer
- Women’s Officer
- LGBT Students’ Officer
- Disabled Students’ Officer
The second group of four is based on your entry into the University and you can only stand for one of these positions if you met the criteria when joining the institution. These are:
- Mature Students’ Officer
- International Students’ Officer
- Postgraduate Students’ Officer
- Part-time Student’s Officer
We then have positions such as student trustees, NUS delegates, charity ambassadors, student reps and sports and society elections.
For more information on any of these roles, please pop into the Students' Union offices and speak to a member of the Representation team or email email@example.com.
3. How do I go about standing in the elections?
In order to stand in the Union’s annual elections, you first need to nominate yourself. You can do this by visiting bucksstudentsunion.org/elections and selecting which election you would like to take part in. For our sabbatical officer and executive officer elections, you will need two proposers to put you forward for the role and these should be two people who believe you are the right candidate for the role you are standing for.
4. What if someone I know is already running?
It absolutely does not matter. Do not let someone that you know is running be a deterrent from you standing. Our sabbatical officer positions are once in a lifetime opportunities and you do not want to look back regretting that you didn’t stand because someone you knew was also standing.
5. Do I need any experience to run in elections?
No. When standing for one of our student leadership positions, we’ll provide you with all of the necessary information and resources in order to make sure you’ve got everything you need to have the best possible chance of success. If you’ve got any questions throughout the nominations and elections periods, you can always touch base with someone from the Representation team and they will be more than happy to help. The Representation team will also be in regular contact with you throughout these periods and will regularly provide you with key information meaning you’re constantly up to date.
6. When is the deadline for putting myself forward?
Nominations for this year’s elections close noon, on Friday 12 February. Make sure you don’t leave it too late.
7. Who can I speak to if I’m interested in running in the elections?
Just pop into the Students’ Union offices at either our High Wycombe or Uxbridge Campus and ask to speak to someone from the Representation team. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bucksstudentsunion.org/elections to find out more information about any of the roles available, how to nominate yourself or any general queries.
8. How does the voting work?
Here at Bucks, we use two voting systems: Alternative Vote (AV) AND Single Transferable Voting (STV).
With the AV system, the voter puts a number by each candidate, with one for their favourite, two for their second favourite and so on. Voters can put numbers on as many or as few as they wish.
A candidate will be elected if more than half the voters put them down as their favourite. If nobody gets half, the numbers provide instructions for where you want your vote to go if your favourite candidate cannot win. The candidate who came last is eliminated and the counters look at these instructions to move the votes of the people who voted for them to their second favourite candidate. This process continues until one candidate has half of the votes and is elected.
AV is used in elections that have one post available eg sabbatical officer and executive officer elections.
All voting will be available 24/7 online at bucksstudentsunion.org/elections during the elections period (10am Monday 1 March - noon Friday 5 March). Do remember that you can only vote once.
Sources: electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems/types-of-voting-system/alternative-vote/, youtu.be/3Y3jE3B8HsE?t=1m14s
Using the STV system, voter’s number a list of candidates in order of preference at the time in which they vote. Their favourite as number one, their second favourite as number two, and so on. Voters can put a number next to as many or as few candidates as they like. The numbers tell the people counting to move your vote if your favourite candidate has enough votes already or stands no chance of winning.
To get elected, a candidate needs a set amount of votes, known as the quota. The people counting the votes work out the quota based on the number of vacancies and the number of votes cast.
Each voter has one vote. Once the counting has finished, any candidate who has more numbers ones than the quota wins a post. But, rather than ignore extra votes a candidate got after the amount they need to win, these votes move to each voter’s second favourite candidate.
If no one reaches the quota, then the people counting the vote remove the least popular candidate. People who voted for them have their votes moved to their second favourite candidate. This process continues until every position has been filled.
The STV System is used in elections that have more than one post available eg student trustees and NUS delegates.
Sources: electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems/types-of-voting-system/single-transferable-vote/, youtube.com/watch?v=l8XOZJkozfI