By-Election Rules

If you are unsure about any of the following directions, please feel free to contact the Returning Officer and Oxford SU Leadership Elections Team at

These directions are made as an addition to the Regulations which includes provisions such as eligibility (24) and the slates (20.3).

Regarding Nominations

Any person wishing to be a candidate must nominate themselves via the SU Website.

Regarding becoming a candidate

To become a candidate a nominee must attend, or notify the Elections Team in advance if they cannot attend, the essential candidate briefing on Monday 10th May. 

Those not in the final year of their studies must also email a signed tutor permissions slip.

Regarding Manifestos

If the candidate is making a manifesto, they must provide it as a single column plain text document. Candidates may have a formatted manifesto too. 

Manifestos must be no longer than 500 words. 

Any images used must have an image description. Image descriptions will not be included in the word count. 

Manifestos must be emailed to by midday Thursday 13th May. You must include the name of anyone who is involved in the design process clearly on the manifesto. The Returning Officer can send back any manifesto that fails to meet this direction, contain unlawful, false, misleading or offensive material or which references other candidates.

Regarding Expenses

Candidates have an expense limit of £60. 

Candidates must declare all items used for campaigning and must not spend more than their expenses limit. Candidates cannot financially support another candidate. 

Already owned equipment, which it is reasonable to assume all other candidates will have access to an equivalent of, are permitted without deduction from expenses. 

The use of paid software, for which widely available alternatives exist, are permissible. For example: free photo editing software, such as Pixlr Editor can be used as an alternative to Photoshop if needed, or free video editing software, such as Da Vinci, can be used as an alternative to paid applications. 

Expense forms must be emailed into the Returning Officer at by midday Thursday 20th May. 

Regarding Hustings

The Hustings will be held on Monday 17th May and will be moderated by the Returning Officer. 

Regarding campaigning

All Campaigning activities must be done in line with COVID guidance and GDPR at the time of campaigning. 

Campaigning can begin after the manifestos are published on Friday 14th May. Any candidate publishing campaign materials before this time is in violation of this direction. 

Individual messaging is permitted. 

Candidates can only campaign in digital spaces they don’t control if other candidates for the same position also have access to campaign there. For example, group chats or Common Room Facebook Groups. 

Campaigns must focus on why that candidate is the best for the role. Candidates are not allowed to run negative campaigns. This means criticising another candidate’s campaign or their character. However, there will be the opportunity to respond and critique the other candidates’ policies, manifestos, and answers in the hustings.

Regarding unofficial campaigning

Anyone producing campaign material in favour of a candidate will be considered as if they are the candidate themselves, unless the candidate specifies to the Returning Officer that they’ve not been involved with the campaigning and can show evidence they’ve made reasonable efforts to discourage the campaigning. The Returning Officer will communicate with all parties involved as soon as a dispute arises. 

Regarding Endorsements

Candidates may not seek or claim the endorsement of Oxford SU employees (including current Sabbatical Trustees, Sabbatical officer-elect, external trustees, or student trustees), Student Council or any of its committees, Oxford SU Schemes, or Projects.

Campaigns and Non-Oxford SU organisations can endorse candidates provided no candidates;

a) take part in or be present at a vote which could lead to an endorsement

b) make an executive decision to make an endorsement

c) be involved in the communications of an endorsement

Campaigns must only endorse a candidate following a simple majority vote in which all Full Members can participate. Campaigns may endorse as many candidates as they like. We encourage Non-Oxford SU organisations to hold a vote on endorsements in the same manner.

We would encourage non-Oxford SU organisations to communicate their endorsement only once through any mail lists they own.

Regarding Media

Candidates are encouraged to engage with the media, particularly the student press and radio. In the interests of fairness, you should make a reasonable effort to inform other candidates for the same position of any contact that you have with the media so that they can pursue the same opportunity. 

Regarding Mailing Lists

Candidates may only use mailing list which were solely created for the purpose of their campaign. 

Any mailing lists created for the purpose of campaigning must be opt-in and deleted immediately after the election. 

Regarding Complaints

All complaints must be submitted within 24 hours of the complainant becoming aware of the incident and before midday Thursday 20th May, except.  

a)        those referring to incidents taking place after midday Thursday 20th May but before the publication of the results, and  

b)        those referring to the counting of votes,  

which must be submitted within the 24 hours following the publication of the results. 

Regarding Printed materials

The Elections Committee would like candidates to reduce the amount of printing they do during the campaigning period. Therefore, candidates must not spend more than £5 on printing and may only print A4 or A3.

Printing will be deducted from the candidate’s expenses limit at the following rate:




Black and white A4



Black and white A3



Colour A4



Colour A3