Interpretations & Rulings


The Deputy Returning Officer (DRO)

The Deputy Returning Officer  is a named person, usually a member of Students' Union Staff, responsible for ensuring that the rules and regulations of the Elections process are upheld on a day to day basis. These regulations are set out in the annual Elections Guide and in the Elections bye-law of the Students' Union's Constitution. The DRO for the 2018 Students' Union Election is the Membership Services Manger, Roger Weston. 


Any student may submit a complain to the DRO where they believe that a candidate has broken an Election regulation. The DRO shall investigate the complaint and make a decision or ruling on the alleged breach according to his/her interpretation of the Election regulations. Such a ruling might impose, for example, a financial penalty on a candidate or slate, a formal warning, or alternatively remove them from the process altogether subject to the severity of the breach. These shall be posted below.

Appeals against such decisions can be made by any candidate to the Retuning Officer, a named individual ultimately responsible for the Elections process. This person is typically external to the Students' Union and is often a representative of the National Union of Students (NUS).  The Returning Officer for the 2018 Elections is NUS

The Students' Union is independent of the University of Northampton and the Elections process independent of the University, complaints to the institution have no standing in the Elections process. For further information on complaints or appeals please look at the resources avaialble on the Candidate Resource page. 


DRO Interpretations and Rulings (for main Union Elections 2018)

26th February 2018

17. 14.43- Can candidates have a table and campain in the Restaurant?

Yes! Just put everything back as it was when you found it. 

26th February 2018

16. 14.37- Can candidates put stickers on the cardboard cut out superheroes?

No, this is defaming SU promotional property. 

26th February 2018

15. 10.29- Can current Exec Officers campaign from their Officer accounts?

No, candidates are not to use accounts/pages that they are have access to as a result of either being an elected officer or as a paid employee.

23rd February 2018

14. 13:43- Can I wear a campaign t-shirt in the restricted areas during polling?

No, this would be viewed as campaigning. All campaigning material (including t-shirts) must be concealed during the voting period in these areas.

22nd February 2018

13. 09:21- Am I restricted on music I use in any videos, and how long those videos are?

Any videos you produce and share yourself can be as long as you want. You can use whatever music you want, it is your own responsibility to ensure that you have the rights to use that music. We will upload one video of max 30 seconds in length to our own Youtube channel and on our website. This needs to be sent by 9am, Monday 26 January. Please send this to

12. 08:52- Can an incumbent officer campaign at an event they are running during the election period?

No, this could be deemed as a candidate using union resources to gain a platform.

11. 08:50- Can I speak about other members in my slate during question time?

You may refer to your slate name, but you may not refer to individual within your slate or anybody they are running against.

10. 08:48- Can my parents' company sponsor my campaign?

No. We have defined that donations can't come from grandchildren, children, yourself, parents, gradparents of great-grandpartents. Equally it is not permitted for any companies they own, work for or are otherwise linked to, to sponsor your campaign.

9. 08:46- Can I sposnor myself through my own business, or because I'm self-employed?

No, this would not be permitted.

8. 08:45- Can a charity sponsor my campaign?

If you are a beneficiary of that charity, and the donation is accompanied with an approved partnership agreement then this would be permitted

7. 08:42- Do candidates need to log their social media posts?

No, all we require is a link to any social media accounts you plan to campaign from

6. 08:40- Posting on University-owned Facebook groups

This isn't our decision to make, however the University haven't asked us to stop this. As things stand, this is permitted.

20th February 2018

5. 09:00- Manifesto amendments 

Corrections on manifestos need to be resubmitted by Thursday 22nd NOON. Anything after this point will not be accepted.

Candidates cannot begin campaigning until their manifesto is approved.

If your SMART manifesto points and areas of interest go over the 140 characters, we will delete the sentence up till the 140 cut-off point.

To make all manifesto points relatively time-bound (in accordance to SMART objectives), there has been an insertion in all manifestos stating ‘in my year in office, I will’.


15th February 2018

4. 09:00- Non-students campaigning

There is no issue with this, however the candidate will have to declare them, and take responsibility for their actions as they would do any other declared campaigner.

3. 09:00- Altering logos

It is ok to use Union logos on campaign material, but brand guidelines have to be followed. Altering logos is therefore a no.

2. 09:00- Part-time study whilst being a full time officer

This is permitted, however typically no paid member of staff would be allowed to study more than 60 credits in an academic year.

1. 09:00- Can candidates have an introduction to their manifestos?

Yes. Keep the 500 word limit. Manifestos must however contain the compulsory sections outlined in the bye-laws. Where they don’t, we will not authorise a candidate to begin campaigning until their manifesto is adjusted. These adjustments must be edited by the deadline outlined in section 5 on this page.