1. When does the GS election start and finish?

The ballot opens on Monday 29 April and closes on Thursday 23 May. However, this is a postal ballot, and the pre-paid envelopes in which you are invited to post your vote are SECOND CLASS, NOT FIRST CLASS. You should post your papers no later than Monday 20 May in order to ensure that they arrive in time.

2. How do I vote?

You should receive ballot papers by post at whichever postal address you have given UCU. The papers should contain some information about the election and a 1250-word Election Address by each of the three candidates, as well as a piece of paper to record your vote(s) on. They should also include a pre-paid envelope so that you can return your vote(s) by post for free. You cannot vote online, unfortunately.

You must vote using numbers, not an ‘X’. See more just below:

3. How does ‘Single Transferable Vote’ work?

The ballot will operate on a ‘Single Transferable Vote’ (STV) basis. This means that instead of voting for a single candidate, you are invited to rank each candidate in order of preference, putting a ‘1’ next to your preferred candidate, a ‘2’ next to your second-favourite candidate, and so on. Once the ballot has closed, the counting and allocation of votes will proceed in rounds. First, the first-preference votes for each candidate will be counted, and the candidate with the lowest number will be eliminated. The second-preference votes of people who put the eliminated candidate first will then be allocated to the other two candidates. The winner is the candidate with the highest total number of first- and second-preference votes at the end of this process.

4. When will I receive my ballot papers and how can I order a replacement?

Papers are mailed on Monday 29 April and should arrive by Wednesday 1 May. If you haven’t received your paper, or if you’ve lost it, click here for the ballot replacement form.

5. What’s the latest I can order a replacement ballot in time to receive it and post it back?

UCU has told us that the latest date is Sunday 19 May – but given how long ballot papers took to arrive, this may not be sufficient. Try not to leave ordering a replacement to the last minute! Click here for more details.

6. Who is eligible to vote?

There is one category of UCU member that is not eligible to vote in this election: those who are ‘student members’. However, this category does not include all students: for example, if you are a student who is paid to teach, you should be eligible. As a rule of thumb, if you do anything that constitutes paid work in your institution rather than, or as well as training, you are eligible to vote! Many members who took advantage of the free membership offer as PhD students will be eligible, even if they weren’t when they originally joined. Click here for details.

If you have only just realised that you are eligible, you may need to change your membership status in UCU’s official database in order to receive your ballot papers. To do so, click here.

For more information about these categories, see this web page, and Section 3.1 of the UCU Rulebook. Please check your eligibility, change your details if necessary, and do so as soon as possible in order to make sure you can use your vote!

7. How can I talk to/ask questions of the candidates and/or hear them debate each other?

All of the candidates have a presence on social media as well as campaign email addresses. But there will also be a series of live hustings organised by UCU branches, regional committees, and one or two other institutions. Click here for a list.

8. Why haven’t I received any emails about the election from UCU?

UCU does not do much to publicise elections to members. You may have missed the brief and infrequent communications it has issued about the election (for example, in ‘The Friday Email’). The main source of publicity comes in the form of four emails which each candidate is entitled to send to all members of UCU during the election period.

However, there are other reasons why you may not be receiving some or all of UCU’s emails:

  • You may in the past have chosen not to receive any emails from UCU whatsoever. If you would like to change your decision, click here or email the UCU membership department.
  • You may, after receiving one email from a GS election candidate, have chosen (deliberately or by accident) not to receive any more candidate emails. If you would like to change your decision, click here or email the UCU membership department.
  • You may be registered as a ‘student member’ who is ineligible to vote in this election and therefore does not receive any candidate emails. If you are unsure of the category of membership you belong to and/or wish to change it, see the answer to question 5, above.
  • Your spam filter may be filtering out communications from UCU – this is a very common occurrence, so please check your junk folder for missing emails!