Advice for Candidates



We understand that standing in the elections and planning your campaign can be daunting.


That's why we've answered some frequently asked questions and written five candidate guides which you can find below.






Below are all the key dates and deadlines for the Student Elections 2020.


Please note that candidates for some positions - particularly Sabbatical Officer roles - may have additional deadlines so you should ensure you read all emails relating to the Elections carefully in order not to miss anything.


  • What?




    Candidates’ Briefing

    All candidates.

    12:30-14:00, 24/02

    Dining Room, Teviot Row House

    Candidate list published on website

    All candidates.

    17:00, 24/02

    DEADLINE: Candidate portraits

    Sabbatical Officer candidates.

    17:00, 24/02

    Elections HQ, Potterrow

    DEADLINE: Key manifesto points

    Sabbatical Officer candidates.

    23:59, 24/02

    Click here

    DEADLINE: Full manifesto

    All candidates.

    12:00, 26/02

    Click here

    Candidate and Campaign Team Photo

    All candidates.

    10:00, 04/03


    Candidate Q&A with Student Media

    All candidates.

    10:30-12:00, 04/03


    Campaigning Opens

    All candidates.

    12:00, 04/03


    DEADLINE: Students’ Association Printing

    All candidates.

    17:00, 06/03

    Click here

    Sabbatical Officer Candidate Question Time

    Sabbatical Officer candidates.

    18:00-20:00, 06/03

    Cabaret Bar, Pleasance

    Voting Opens

    All candidates.

    10:00, 09/03

    Voting Closes

    All candidates.

    17:00, 12/03

    Results Night All candidates. 18:00, 13/03 Debating Hall, Teviot Row House





These guides have been developed to give any candidate the information they need to plan an effective campaign.


Research shows that candidates who actively engage with the guidance and support offered by the Students' Association during the preparation period are far more likely to be elected, so if you'd like to meet with a relevant staff member to discuss your candidacy, please email









What do I need to do as a candidate?


How much time you dedicate to campaigning is up to you, but the key to being a successful candidate is explaining to eligible voters why they should vote for you. You can do this by completing your online candidate profile with a photo and manifesto, producing posters and flyers, and posting on social media letting people know you're standing.


You might also want to campaign in-person by making short announcements in your classes, or speaking to people around your School, or other areas on campus.


What should I put in my manifesto?


Check out our Candidate Guide on creating your manifesto for advice on what to include, and how to format it in a way that is engaging and accessible. If you would like to see manifestos from previous candidates please email


How can I upload my manifesto?


Click here and select the election you have stood in. Click on the position you have nominated yourself for, scroll down, and you should see the option to upload a manifesto. If you follow this link you will have the option to upload a photo and enter your manifesto into the text box below.


What should my posters and flyers say?


Check out our Candidate Guide on creating posters and flyers for advice on what to include on your printed campaign materials.


What should I use to make my posters and flyers?


You can create basic posters and flyers in Microsoft Word, but for more complex designs, many candidates use website like Canva which have hundreds of templates to choose from. If you want to use a programme like Photoshop, the University's Digital Skills Resource Finder has links to both online and in-person courses on using design software.


How can I get posters and flyers printed?


If you want to produce printed materials you have four options:

  1. Print them using your own printer, or a printer belonging to one of your friends: This works well for basic posters and flyers - just remember to keep any receipts for paper or ink you purchase as part of your campaign, as these can be claimed back through our candidate expenses process.
  2. Print them using Library printersIf you're only printing a small number of posters or flyers, and don't have access to a printer at home, then you can use the University Library's printing facilities. Just remember to keep a record of any print credits you purchase to print campaign materials, as these can be claimed back through our candidate expenses process.
  3. Print them through the Students' Association: If you don't want to pay for printing directly then you can order printing through your candidate profile. This will automatically be deducted from your campaigning budget. You'll be able to collect your printing from the University print shop on Infirmary Street a day or two after it's been approved.
  4. Print them through a commercial printing company: If you're looking for glossy posters and flyers then you may want to consider printing them through a commercial printing company - there are plenty in Edinburgh and online. Just remember to keep any receipts as these can be claimed back through our candidate expenses process.


Don't forget that you have a budget of up to £30 for your campaign (£90 for Sabbatical Officer candidates), and you cannot spend more than this.


Where can I display my printed campaign materials?


If you decide to print posters these can be displayed on Students' Association's noticeboards. You may also be able to put up posters and leave flyers in University buildings, but you should check with relevant staff to ensure you don't waste time putting up posters which are going to be removed.


There will also be fencing panels in key locations on campus which are solely for use by Election candidates. You will be able to find these panels outside the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre, at the Shuttle Bus stop at King's Buildings, outside the Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library at King's Buildings, outside the main entrance to the JMCC at Pollock Halls, and in the Quad at Moray House.


If you're handing out flyers, you can do this across campus, but you should avoid areas where people are eating or studying, and be respectful of people who say they don't want to be disturbed.


What if I just want to run a digital campaign?


Lots of candidates choose to run entirely digital campaigns - promoting themselves on social media, and in emails.


Check out our Candidate Guide on social media campaigning for top tips on using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to promote your campaign.


You could also ask administrative staff in your School if it is possible to send out an email to students about the elections, but if they do, the email needs to promote all candidates equally and can't simply promote your candidacy.


How can I make an election video?


If you're running a digital campaign, making a campaign video is a great idea as it gives you the opportunity to promote your campaign in a quick and accessible format. You can make a great video simply using your smartphone, but if you want something that looks more professional then you could see if any of your friends have a DSLR or video camera, or even borrow some equipment from the University


Once your video is ready you can upload it straight to your candidate profile and Facebook, or put it on YouTube so it's easier to link to on social media and in emails.


How can I campaign face-to-face?


Digital campaigning is great, but it's much easier to be persuasive when you're face-to-face with a potential voter. Check out our Candidate Guide on in-person campaigning for advice on flyering, lecture shout-outs and door-knocking. 


How can students vote?


From 10:00 on March 9th to 17:00 on March 12th, students can vote on the Students' Association website here and via MyEd.


How does the STV Voting System work?


In terms of voting, voters rank candidates in order of preference, with #1 being their first preference and so on. Voters don’t have to rank all candidates – they can cast as many or as few votes as they like – so some people may just give one candidate their first preference and then stop, while others may rank every candidate.


If at any point in the voting process a voter thinks it would be better to re-open nominations and allow new candidates to stand, rather than any of the unranked candidates being elected they can vote for Re-Open Nominations (RON). In most counts RON will be eliminated first because it will receive the lowest number of first preference votes.


When it comes to counting, in order to be elected a candidate must reach the quota. The quota is the number of total votes cast divided by the number of seats available plus one. So, for most of the positions in this Election the quota will be 50% of the votes cast. We count votes in rounds, starting with first preferences, and move on to second, third, fourth etc. preferences until one candidate reaches the quota. In some cases there will be a clear winner, with one candidate being elected on first preferences alone.


If after the first preferences have been counted no-one has reached the quota, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. All the voters who cast their votes for the now eliminated candidate will have their next preferences counted, and these votes will be redistributed across the remaining candidates. So if 10 students voted for the eliminated Candidate A, with 5 of them putting Candidate B as their next preferences, 3 of them putting Candidate C, and 2 of them putting Candidate D then those candidates would get those votes added to their existing total.


We continue to repeat this process until one candidate has received enough votes to get them over the quota.


What impact will the industrial action have on the Student Elections?


There is UCU Industrial Action planned during the Campaign and Voting Periods of the 2020 Student Elections. While this will not directly impact the Elections it may affect how you wish to campaign.


We're anticipating a lower than normal number of students being on campus during the Industrial Action, which means you need to ensure you have a strong online campaign, particularly if you are in a School which is significantly impacted by the strikes.


Whether or not to cross picket lines is a personal decision, but if you do not feel comfortable doing so then remember that you can still campaign outside of buildings and in Students' Association spaces.




Our elections are governed by the Students' Association's Election Regulations which you can read here.


If you have any questions regarding your candidacy or campaign, please email