November 8th, 2019
The General Election campaign has now commenced, with polling taking place on Thursday 12 December 2019. The following information is published to guide and support staff in their professional activities during the campaign period.
Student Voter Registration
The University has installed new software to enable students to register to vote quickly and simply, all they need is their National Insurance number. This service is being promoted across student communications and is available on the MyNottingham app and online at Registering to Vote.
Staff are invited to encourage students to register to vote and exercise their democratic rights, importantly, in a strictly impartial manner. You may wish to mention this in tutorials and lectures and even set aside a few minutes in your class so that students can register online using the new software.
Students are able to vote in a General Election if they are a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK, aged 18 or over and registered to vote. While students must only vote once, they can be on the Electoral Registers for both their home and term-time addresses.
The deadline to register to vote is midnight Tuesday 26 November.
Universities can play an important role during elections, helping to facilitate and inform public debates, and staff should feel confident in doing this, as long as they heed the relevant guidance.
As registered charities, universities are governed by Charity Commission guidance on elections and referendums. Universities UK has also published guidance on election and charity law issues for universities.
In summary, academic staff can continue to publish and promote academic research and provide analysis and comment in media and elsewhere on topical issues relevant to the election. Institutions can host candidate debates and hustings and invite them to attend events as well as host seminars and discussions on topical issues relevant to the election.
The essential caveat is to avoid anything which suggests support for a particular party or candidate(s) and undertake these activities in a manner which “leaves it to the electorate to make their own decisions about how to vote.”
The University fully recognises that staff may wish to be involved in party political activities in a personal individual capacity, including standing as candidates. Where this is the case, it should be declared and any potential conflicts of interest managed, for example ensuring it is clear when the individual is speaking in a personal capacity or as a representative of the University.
If in doubt, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice and support.
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