Elections Myths Answered

There are lots of myths floating around about elections so we've put together a guide to challenge the top 10 myths about running for election.

1. "It's just a popularity contest"

Knowing people that you can talk to about elections and try to persuade to vote for you can help in an election, but with over 1500 votes cast in our elections, it's unlikely that anyone will have that much exisiting sway over that many people!

People running for election do lots of different things to persuade people to vote for them; hand out flyers, put up posters, speak in lectures and seminars, send emails, use Facebook and plenty more.

There are no guarantees or certainties with elections, so just because you think someone knows lots of people it doesn't mean those people would vote for them.

There have been cases of officers putting themselves up for re-nomination (when they would presumably know more people) and not being re-elected so elections aren't just a popularity contest.

2. "I'm not the right sort of person"

There is no such thing as the 'right sort of person' to put themselves forward in or win an election. Every year different people with different views, ideas and experience win. Just because the current officer focuses on particular issues or projects, it doesn't mean you'd have to. Each role-holder makes the position their own and the Student Union provides training and support to help you.

You don't have to be into public speaking (although some public speaking might be required), running events or anything else in particular to win an election.

3. "I'm not political enough"

There aren't particular issues you have to be passionate about for people to vote for you other than being interested in making things better for students at Winchester.

Some elected officers and reps get involved in a variety of campaigns and issues, others focus on other areas of the role. People with varying political views and experience are elected at every set of elections so there is no 'right sort' of political interest or activity.

4. "I won't have time"

Different roles require different levels of commitment and amount of time. They're designed to be as flexible as possible and the Student Union can provide training and support to help you carry out your responsibilities.

Apart from the Sabbatical Officer roles (which are full-time paid positions for a year), all the roles are designed to run alongside your studies and as a rule would only need around an average of 3 hours per week to undertake.

If you're worried about the time commitment required, just let us know and we'll do our best to give you an idea of how much time might be required for each role.

5. "I don't have anyone to help my election campaign"

Having friends to help you with your campaign can be useful, whether this is just encouraging words or a team of people to hand out flyers. This is by no means essential though, and plenty of people have won elections working on their own.

Sometimes candidates running in the same set of elections end up helping each other out and it can be a great way to get to know other people so don't worry about working on your own.

6. "Nominating myself is too complicated"

Our nomination process is designed to be as straightforward as is possible. Usually you'll just need to attach/upload a photo of yourself, a short paragraph outlining why people should vote for you and fill in a few details about yourself. We'll always make it clear what information is required and will offer help to anyone wanting to be nominated.

7. "I'm not sure it's for me, I'm happy with things at Winchester"

You don't have to be angry or upset about Winchester issues or have an endless list of big changes you'd like to make. There is nothing wrong with putting together a simple manifesto with small suggestions. Sometimes it is small changes that can make the biggest difference. Why not ask your friends if they have any ideas for things they'd like to see changed or made better?

Being an officer or rep is also about giving good feedback and praising the University and the Student Union on things that work well, and sometimes campaigning to keep good things.

8. "There's no point, you'll never change anything"

Students have been instrumental in introducing big changes at Winchester over the years; the introduction of 24 hour opening in the Library, free printing credits for students, increased funding to the Union from the University, how the University's academic misconduct procedures work and more. There are also many more examples of smaller changes that improve things for students.

9. "I don't have the right experience"

You don't need any prior experience to put yourself forward in an election. It is up to students to decide who has the best suggestions and enthusiasm, it isn't like going for a job interview where someone looks over your CV. There is no prior experiences that mean you're more likely to win an election than someone else. You don't have to have been a member of a sports team, worked behind the bar or have been a Student Academic Rep (StAR) to run for an officer role. Experiences like these can provide a useful insight into how the Student Union and University function but are by no means essential.

10. "Someone else is more likely to win"

You might think that someone else has more experience, more friends or is just more likely to win but there are no guarantees with elections. There are frequently cases where people who didn't think they'd win are elected, especially as we use the Transferable Vote system. Don’t decide to not run just because there’s a possibility you might not win.


Read our elections information page for a list of FAQs, or if you have any further questions then please email us at suelection@winchester.ac.uk