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Hello and Welcome to your Candidate Academy!

This is your one-stop shop for all the resources, key information, and guidance you will need.



Your main contact for election questions, complaints or concerns is the Deputy Returning Officer - Frank


Hi, I'm Frank

I’m the Student Voice Facilitator at UCSU and co-ordinate student representation, elections and other democratic activity.

am also the Deputy Returning Officer for the elections. I deliver your training, manage the nominations and voting platforms, co-ordinate promotion activity, and am responsible for the smooth running of the elections.


Email:    or

Phone:           01524 590810





If you wish to appeal a decision made by the Deputy Returning Officer or raise a complaint about how the election has been run, your key contact is the Returning Officer.


Hi, I'm Tarryn

Tarryn is a member of staff at the National Union of Students (NUS) and impartialy monitors our elections to ensure they are fair and democratic.



Election Regulations

Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF

The rules of the election.


Candidate Expenses Form

Microsoft Word

A printable, downloadable expenses form. All candidates for Officer positions must complete this form.

These must be completed and submitted before 5pm, Thursday 8th March 2018


Campaign Planner

Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF

A template planner for you to download and use to plan your campaigning activity.


Social Media Planner

Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF

A template planner for you to download and use to plan your campaigning activity.


Live Election Stats

Find them here

See turnout and other statistics in real time


Campus Maps

Ambleside Campus Map

Brampton Rd. Campus Map

Fusehill St. Campus Map

Lancaster Campus Map


Complaints Form

Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF

Please submit this form if you wish to submit a formal complaint against a candidate or campaigner involved in the elections.



Appeals Form

Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF

Please complete this form if you wish to appeal against any decisions or sanctions applied by the Deputy Returning Officer.



Elections are run by the Deputy Returning Officer, who is a member of UCSU staff. Elections are monitored by the Returning Officer, normally a member of NUS staff.


In our elections, all students are invited to nominate themselves or recommend a friend for a position.

Once nominations have closed, candidates are provided with training and support, before being announced ahead of voting.

Voting is normally open for a week or two via Once voting has closed the Deputy Returning Officer and Returning Officer check that the election has been run fairly and announce the results.

You may notice a candidate called "RON". This stands for "Re-Open Nominations". You can vote for RON you feel that no candidates are suitable for the position. If RON wins, the elections will be re-run at a later date.

As your Students' Union, we have students at the heart of everything we do. 


Your elected Full-Time Officer are trustees and directors of UCSU.

Your Activity Reps, Campaign Reps, Campus Reps, and Department Reps make up The Panel. The Panel make big decisions about the Students' Union's policy and your ideas.


For all our elections, we ask our members (all University of Cumbria students) to have their say and collectively choose the leadership of their Students' Union.

We use the Single-Transferrable Voting method. This means that a majority of voters (over 50%) must prefer a candidate before they can win. This means that you don't just vote for your favourite candidate (like in national, Parliamentary elections) but can let us know who is your 2nd favourite, 3rd favourite, and so on!


How to vote:

  1. Log in to  
  2. Vote by ranking the candidates - 1 = favourite, 2 = second favourite, and so on. You can choose to rank as many (or few) candidates as you like.



How votes are counted:

  1. All first preferences are counted and assigned to each candidate. If no candidate achieves more than 50% of the vote then the candidate with the lowest number of voted is eliminated.
  2. The second preferences (for the voters who gave their first preference to the eliminated candidate) are added to the other candidates’ totals. If no candidate achieves more than 50% of the vote then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated.
  3. This process continues until a candidate achieves a majority and wins the election!

Candidates running for full-time Officer positions may spend a maximum of £50. Full-time Officer candidates based in Ambleside or London can spend and additional £20.

Candidates must complete an expenses form. The Candidate Expenses Form can be downloaded here: Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF


Candidates running for part-time voluntary positions* can spend a maximum of £15.

Candidates can complete an expenses form (but don't have to!). The Candidate Expenses Form can be downloaded here: Microsoft Word  //  Adobe PDF


The deadline for Expenses Forms is 5pm, Friday 4th October.

Candidates will be refunded all their campaign expenses once a completed Expenses Form has been submitted.


*Activity Rep, Campaign Rep, Campus Rep, Department Rep, and/or Student Trustee, and.or NUS Delegate. Candidates running for more than one position still have a budget of £15.

When completing your Expenses Form it's important that you list all the materials and media you have paid for.


Obviously, this would include posters, paid social media advertising, flyers, and any sweet treats you might use when talking to students.


However, sometimes you might want to use something which might be free, but something you would normally have to pay for.

The Deputy Returning Officer will judge if it could be reasonable expected that other candidates could access the same resource. If not, an estimate cost will be calculated and added to your total campaign expenditure.

For example:

     You might have an old white tshirt you want to write on and wear whilst campaigning. This would be fine. The cost of these materials would not be taken into account as we would reasonable expect other candidates to do something similar.

     Your family may run a printing business, they offer to print a you a large banner for free. In this instance, the Deputy Returning Officer would calculate an estimated cost for this material and add it to your Expenses Form. If the new additional cost takes you over the maximum spend, you may be removed from the election.


If you are unsure about any material, ask Frank


Nominations Close: 12:00pm, Friday 20th September 2019



Voting Opens: 9:00am, Monday 30th September 2019

Voting Closes: 5:00pm, Friday 4th October 2019



Campaigning should only take place during the voting period (though you should prepare beforehand).



Results Announced: Tuesday 8th October 2019


Over the years, thousands of students have run their own unique elections campaigns at UCSU and other Students’ Union across the country. One thing candidates have relied on time and time again is posters and flyers.

Poster and flyers aren’t the best way of engaging with students and convincing them to vote. They are, however, useful for supporting your other activity. If your face is plastered all over campus, students are more likely to recognise you on campus and online.


With everyone producing their own, you’ve got to stand out and efficiently convey your message (remember those key bits of information from your face-to-face conversations).

Here are some useful tips for creating engaging physical media:

     Too much information and no one will bother reading it. You’ll bore people before you even meet th

     Too little information and people won’t know what you stand for!

     Keep it short and sweet: 3 – 5 bullet points maximum for your policies, your name and the position your running for, links for your social media accounts,, and a picture of you.

     Include a happy, smiley picture. Some people might vote for the grumpy candidate, most won’t.



Like your face-to-face conversations (see "Face-to-Face Conversations" section), lecture shout-outs should be short and straight to the point.


Focus on the key bits of information and remember - You’re telling students to:

a) vote

b) vote for you!


So don’t forget to remind them where, when, and how to vote.

You may not know this, but you can see when and where lectures are taking place online.

See how to use the Online Timetabling System here:



Log on to the Timetabling system via the Student Hub.

Let’s get started! Click on Student Groups on the left hand side of the screen.



On this screen you need to select which Department, Group, Week, Days, and Times you would like to access to.

For this example I will use Education Studies Yr1 Group01, Lancaster.



When you're doing this, make sure you select w/c 26 Feb 2018 or w/c 05 Mar 2018 as these are in the voting period.

When you’re ready, click View Timetable.



You know have the timetable at your fingerstips!

Make a note of the start time (at the top of the table), end time (at the top of the table), room number (in blue), and name of the lecturer (at the bottom of the lecture description) on your Campaign Planner.

If you’ve created any video content, it’s really easy to make animated gifs.

Just visit: and follow the instructions.

Images are an easy, engaging way of getting your key bits of information across online:


     Like your physical media, keep it clear and concise.

     Consider the size of your image: too big and it will be illegible.

     Use colour, memes, emojis, and anything else to make it eye-catching: but always remember to keep your main message front and centre!

     Make it quickly. Don’t spend too much time perfecting your images. Make it clear, make it quick, and make it public!

Videos are a great way to speak directly to students online. If done right, they can work great on all social media:


      Keep it short! Stick to a maximum of 2 minutes.

      Consider the News Feed: Facebook autoplays videos on your News Feed. Consider how your video will work with no sound (subtitles and text!) and how you can hook people into your video in the first few seconds.

      Behind the Scenes. Use videos to link into other things you are doing, e.g: “hey guys, I’m just here in Ambleside speaking to students and getting them to vote Sarah for LGBTQ Rep”.

      Normal Rules Apply. As with everything else: keep it concise and relevant, keep it focused on your campaign, don’t spend too much time putting it together, don’t over-post, etc.

Images, gifs and videos are king of every Facebook News Feed. Create engaging content and get your friends to share it to reach out to as many students as possible. It's also worth considering using Facebook Live.

Facebook is the most popular social media, however younger people are increasingly moving to Instagram and Snapchat.

And, yes you can post in private Facebook Groups.


How to Schedule Posts

Facebook: How to boost your posts

Like the others, visual content is useful. Keep each tweet unique and straight to the point (you only have 140 characters!). The University, academic Departments, and individual academics are all active on Twitter. Consider creating content which they may be more likely to retweet.


You can use Twittimer or Twuffer to schedule your Tweets.

Twitter: How to use Quick Promote

Instagram is all about attractive visual content. Forget the pre-designed stuff you’re going to put on Facebook – it’s all about people and places on Instagram. Selfies and People of New York-style content could work particularly well for your campaign.

Remember to add the right filters and necessary hashtags.


You can use Later to schedule posts on Instagram.

Instagram: How to promote posts

#CumbriaVotes. Makes it dead easy for students to find elections content. It also directs UCSU, the University, staff, and students to your content. Do it!


Speak in the first person. Use your own voice and bring personality to the forefront


Try to Add Value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective to give people a reason to read your content.


Consistency. Try and post once or twice a day, providing consistent flow of quality content. This will bring audience with it.


Scheduling. Look at insights and see when people are online, plan your posts for then.


Conversing. Make sure you respond to people. When people have questions, they like speaking to real people who won’t patronise them. Be personable and interested, it will go a long way.


Don't Over-Post. Spamming is annoying and you will be ignored. As a rule, post no more than 4 times a day on your profile, or any specific group or page. 


Don't Post Empty Content. Empty content is content that adds no value to your page or profile. Try to keep all your content focused on you and your policies.


Don’t Drop Off. For social media campaigning to be effective, you need to keep it up. People will assume that you have left and unfollow you.


Get Your Friends to Comment and Share. Posts that have high engagement rate will get pushed up to the top of your mate’s newsfeed.


Use Images, Gifs, and Videos. You only need to scroll through your Facebook feed to see that visual media has much more appeal than written text.

You can use Messenger, WhatsApp and other private messaging Apps to engage students individually or through existing social networks.

Don’t spam group chats and don’t pressure anyone when contacting them individually.

Ask your friends to post in any group chats they are in to remind other students to vote, and vote for you!

You can use Snapchat to create photos and videos which disappear after a certain amount of time. You can use this content to update students on what you’re up to (add to my story to make it a permanent, public feature on your profile). If you’re out and about on campus, don’t forget to use Snapchat Map and Geofilters.

This year we’ve got an official #CumbriaVotes Snapchat filter – so don’t forget to use that!

You can’t schedule posts on Snapchat, but if you’ve got everything else organised regular posts on Snapchat are quick and easy to do.

You don’t need to be logged on throughout the voting period.

Once you’ve got your content, and you’ve got a plan – schedule as many posts as you can.

Try to tie your posts into other activity, for example: if you are giving a lecture shout-out, why not schedule a post for the same time and tag the relevant Department in it?

You can use software such as Hootsuite to schedule posts on all your social media accounts. Hootsuite comes at a cost, but there is a 30 day trail available.

Use the template Campaign Planner (in the "Resources" tab above) to keep track of your time.

Make a note of all your lectures and important dates & times to ensure you keep on top of your studies and on track with your campaigning.

Should you wish to visit another University of Cumbria campus, make sure you get the best of your campaigns budget by considering the times you travel. It is cheaper to travel at different times of the day. Compare different train companies too. Below are a couple of useful links:

(Remember if you have a railcard you receive 1/3 off travel!)

Book some 30 minute - 1 hour slots in your plan for campaigning, whether that time is spent on social media, visiting lectures or being out on campus speaking to students - that’s up to you!

We suggest you let your friends know your plans too. They will be happy to help and I am sure will be supportive in making sure you stick to your commitments to campaign.  It may be you need to call on your friends to be campaigning during busy/peak times should you have other commitments.

After creating your calendar of commitments, book some time in during the preparation period to work on creating your campaign material. The more you have prepared ahead of voting opening, the more time you have to focus on getting votes.

UCSU staff are on hand to support you with your campaign, but please make sure you are realistic when setting deadlines and not adding extra pressure to yourself.

Keep track of your budget by recording all your expenses and regularity updating your Expenses Form.

Remember to submit your Expenses Form before 5pm, Thursday 8th March. Once you've done this you will be reimbursed all your campaigning expenses.


If you need any help managing your time or budget, please contact Frank or Stephy.

Face-to-Face Conversations

Research we’ve done at UCSU and elsewhere consistently shows that the most effective way of convincing students to vote (and vote for you) is by speaking to them face-to-face.

Students appreciate the opportunity to speak to you and ask any questions they may have about the elections (e.g. how to vote) and your policies. It is also a good way of showing them that you are human and just like them. It’s also the quickest and most direct way for you to tell students about you and things you would like to do if you win.


Though you may feel like leaping up from your laptop and dashing to the nearest group of students, it’s worth doing some preparation first.

What are the key bits of information you should get across in a conversation with a student?

Here’s my guide:

      “Hi, I’m [insert name here] and I’m running to be your [insert position here]”

      “I want to [insert your exciting policies here]”

      “all you need to do is go to

      “make sure you vote before 5:00pm on Wednesday 7th March”


It’s worth jotting down these key bits of information – if you only have a few seconds to chat to a students - what do you have to tell them?

If you have friends who are going to help campaign for you (yes, this is allowed), you should give them an idea of what they need to say.

We’ve all been approached by someone trying to raise sell something or raise money for charity. It can be irritating.

If you want to gain votes, you will need to approach people (either face-to-face or online). You need to be able to do this without annoying anyone – as this could actually lose you votes!

Here are some handy tips:

       Don’t talk for more than 20 seconds. Get your message across and shut the hell up.

       Introduce yourself. Start by saying hello, who you are, and why you are trying to speak to them.

       Have something to leave them with. Put together a small flyer which details your policies (just a slip of paper is fine!) which you can hand out once you’ve finished speaking.

       Speak with them, not at them. Instead of speaking at them: “I think the Uni needs more pens”. It’s better to say something like: “I know that lots of students have struggled to find a pen when they need one, if elected I will get more pens”.

In the "Resources" tab above, you can download a template Campaign Planner. Use this to plan out your activities throughout the voting period.

This should help you plan when you have time to dedicate a few minutes to speaking to students face-to-face. This could be in-between lectures, or any other time you’re with students (on or off campus).


The where is a little more difficult. To make best use of your time you need to have access to a large number of students.

Here are some good places to focus on:

     on-campus social space

     at group or society events

     in teaching rooms at the start or end of teaching time

You could also spend time in high-traffic locations on campus to try and speak to students walking between lectures. If you are trying to catch people as they walk around campus remember: You cannot follow them for more than 3 steps or block their path – treat them with respect, they are allowed to ignore you!