Elections Explainer

At Liberation Conference we elect the Vice President Liberation and Equality who sits on the NUS Officer Executive, leading the work of NUS for the next two years. We also elect key volunteer positions that allow for effective oversight and our democracy. 

This year elections at Liberation Conference are changing as part of our work on Doing Democracy Differently.  

We’ve been asked to use more digital tools to make it easier for students to engage with elections. Our elections will take place separately to our policy development and all elections will be voted for online. Voters will get more time to vote ahead of the conference and to interact with candidates. There will be an online candidate question time which voters can submit questions to and hear the views of candidates. 


Positions being elected 

The following full time officer position will be elected at Liberation Conference.  

  • Vice President Liberation and Equality 

This is a full time, two year position. 

In addition the following voluntary positions will be elected. 

  • 5 members of the Liberation Campaign Committee, to support the VP Liberation and Equality in enacting policy. One member will be elected from each of the five Liberation caucuses, these positions are for one year terms. 

  • 8 members of the Liberation Steering Committee, to oversee the running of the Liberation Conference. 5 of these members will be elected from the five caucues and three more from the conference as a whole. 


Becoming a Candidate 

In order to become a candidate for any of these positions you must nominate yourself and also be nominated by other students.

Nominations for the Vice President Liberation and Equality open Wednesday 8 April and will close 4 May 2020 12 noon. 

Nominations for voluntary positions will open Wednesday 8 April and will close 4 May 2020 12 noon. 

In order to be eligible to stand in any of these elections you must be a student, apprentice or sabbatical officer in an NUS member Students’ Union and self-define into one of the five Liberation campaigns. 


  • Vice President Liberation and Equality 

You need seven nominations. You can nominate yourself using this form.

  • Campaign Committee and Steering Committee 

You need three nominations. You can nominate yourself using this form.


Voting Online 

All delegates registered for NUS Liberation Conference 2020 will be able to vote in elections.  

All voting will take place online using Unioncloud, which requires all delegates to be registered with their individual preferred email address. Delegates will be issued their ballot via email and can login to vote on phones, tablets and laptops. Delegates must provide the correct email address to their students’ union for registration so that they can login to vote 

Elections for all positions will open on 13 May and close at:

  • 26 May 5pm for the Vice President Liberation and Equality position
  • 1 June 12 noon for all other positions


Information on candidates 

We want voters to have all the information they need to find out about the candidates and make an informed decision about the leadership of NUS UK. There will be lots of ways to find out about candidates. 

  1. Candidate information on the NUS Connect website and social media 

  1. Links to candidate social media accounts so voters can interact with candidates 

  1. Candidate question time. This will be held in the weeks preceding conference and there will be the opportunity to pre-submit questions. We’d also encourage SUs to get their delegates together to watch this and discuss the candidates. 

  1. Speeches which will be posted as videos. 


Technical Issues 

We know that glitches happen and sometimes there are issues meaning people can’t vote. However these can be resolved and the sooner they are identified the easier it is for the tech support team to assist. 

Some pointers. 

  1. We need the preferred individual email address of every delegate from an SU. We can’t send two votes to one email address and we can’t send to staff email addresses. 

  1. It is really important that delegates check they are able to vote before the close of polls. Even if you don’t plan to cast your vote until the conference itself you should check you have received your voting link or that you can log onto the website and see the voting panel. 

  1. Voting links sometimes end up in junk mail filters so always check these 

  1. If your SU swaps a delegate after the final registration deadline we cannot guarantee that the new delegate will get to vote. If the original delegate has already cast a vote we cannot accept another vote from the new delegate (or an SU would get more votes than they are entitled to). We need time to check this. 

  1. If you get in touch with us in advance of the conference it is easy for us to resolve issues and to support you to be able to cast your vote, however this takes a bit of time so is difficult to do as we approach the close of polls. We therefore ask that delegates report all technical issues 24 hours before close of polling. This is the last time we’d be able to guarantee to fix the issue. 

  1. There will be a space onsite with spare computers and staff in place to assist any delegates with technical issues. Staff will make every effort to support delegates to vote but it cannot be guaranteed, especially if it is a few minutes before close of voting! 


Rules and Complaints 

NUS is run by its members and elections have an important role in this, being used to elect our political leadership. Our rules set out how we run elections and cover what voters and candidates should expect when participating in elections. 

If a voter feels that a candidate has fallen short of the standards we expect within the rules they are able to make a complaint which will be investigated by the Returning Officer. 

The NUS UK rules and elections complaints form can be found HERE.


Announcing the Result 

Once polls close the election count will take place which will involve viewing the online count data. Candidates can send an observer to this. We will then inform candidates of the results before announcing to voters. 

For the Vice President Liberation and Equality role we aim to announce to the conference on the first day, though this may change e.g. if there are complaints that need to be ruled on before running the count. Voluntary roles will be announced after the conference. We will announce winners on our website and social media.