How do JCR elections work?
The below page offers a short summary of the processes involved, but please refer to the Constitution for the official rules involved.
The nominations period for the election of the President and Vice President shall open at 12 noon on the Sunday of 3rd Week of Michaelmas Term with the period for the election of all other Officers shall opening at 12 noon on the Sunday of 6th Week of Michaelmas Term. All nomination periods are one week in duration.
Please note that some positions have requirements to be a candidate. For example, the Women’s Officer must identify wholly or partially as a women or as transfemine.
Once nominations are closed all manifestos are circulated via the JCR mailing list along with a Notice of Poll clarifying the final election details.
The Constitution stipulates that hustings must be held at least 24 hours, and not more than three days before polling. More often than not, hustings take place on a Thursday night either in the hall, the JCR or the Garden Quad Reception Room.
During the hustings the JCR usually provides snacks and wine to encourage students to come along and take the opportunity to question their candidates and really show what they’re made of before they cast their votes.
Each candidate should make a short speech, subject to a time limit to be determined in advance by the Returning Officer. Questions then follow this speech and are offered to each candidate in turn.
Re-Open Nominations (RON) will be a candidate in all elections. If a candidate is unopposed, they shall require over two thirds of the votes to be for them rather than to Re-Open Nominations unless they are exempted (liberation officer roles) and hold a by-election. Casting a vote for RON is serious and is not a joke! Please only use this if you are uncomfortable with having the candidate represent you or have serious concerns about their suitability.
Votes will be cast using the Alternative Vote (or Ranked Pair) system and will normally be electronic with unique voter codes issued to each member. If technology fails, though, there will be an old school paper ballot box in the JCR!
Results are counted by the Returning Officer and their Returning Officer Assistant. They are announced no later than 24 hours after the close of poll. Usually the Returning Officer will ask for them to be circulated on the JCR mailing list.
These are a special type of election which is only held if no candidate was elected in a previous election, the candidate was recalled to face re-election by a petition of 50 people, a resignation has occurred or a vote of no confidence has been passed. These will be run in a very similar manner to normal elections, as above.
The following shall be electoral malpractice:
- Attempted or actual interference with the online polling system or ballot box, including deliberately hindering an eligible member from casting their ballot.
- Impersonation of another voter.
- Attempted or actual intimidation or bribery to secure or hinder the nomination of any member as a prospective candidate or the election of any candidate.
- Removing manifestos, posters, or other electoral material in an attempt to influence the outcome of any election.
- Canvassing in the poll room or loitering outside it for the same purpose.
- The dissemination, in print, speech or online, of unsubstantiated statements regarding the integrity or candidature of any candidate, including publication of statements concerning potential candidates before the close of nominations.
- Canvassing voters or advertising the candidature of any prospective candidate before the close of the nominations period.
- Endorsing a candidate while being themselves a candidate (a ‘slate’)
- Canvassing or advising voters to vote for a particular candidate by the Returning Officer, their Assistant, any incumbent member of the JCR General Committee (who is not themselves a candidate), the President-elect, or Vice-President elect.
- Advising particular potential candidates to run or not or to misrepresent a role to potential candidate(s) to affect their decision to nominate by incumbent members of the JCR General Committee, the President-elect or the Vice-President elect.
- Deliberate and/or malicious contraventions of the provisions of the Constitution as they apply to elections.
- Frivolous or malicious allegations of electoral malpractice.
- Failure to report electoral malpractice.
In the event of any allegation of electoral malpractice:
The allegation shall be made in writing to the Returning Officer as soon as possible via the Complaints Procedure.