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What is an Election?


An election is the process of voting to choose someone to be your political leader or representative in government.

In a democracy (such as in the UK), the right to vote is the main way most citizens can influence the decisions about how our country is governed. As citizens, we get our chance to make this decision when the government decides to hold a general election. 

To win an election, candidates have to persuade people to support them. Each political party identifies their policies (plan of action), outlining what they would if they were elected to run the government. This plan of action is known as a platform. Voters have to decide whether they agree with the platform promises and whether or not the politicians can be trusted to keep them if they get into power.

Voters can also decide to vote tactically, whereby they may not choose their own ideal candidate, but the best option that stands a better chance of winning against a least favourable candidate. 

To vote citizens make their choice in secret by either marking a ballot paper and putting this into a locked ballot box that is not opened until after polling (the casting of votes) has closed or via a secure electronic platform. 

The UK uses a counting system called 'First Past the Post' which means that whoever gets the highest number of votes wins based on single choices made by the voters. More information is avlaible from this website on Electoral Reform

Register to Vote

Students who are resident in the UK who have UK or Irish citizenship or are from a Commonwealth Country (and either have or do not need to have permanent leave to remain in the UK) can all vote in a General Election.

Register to vote HERE

The Map shows the results of the 2017 General Election and the main political parties with politicians currently representing them in government in the UK are:

Conservative and Unionist Party (Centre-right)

Labour (Centre-left)UK general election map 2017

Scottish National Party (Centre-left/Big Tent)

Liberal Democrats (Centre to Centre-left)

Democratic Unionist Party (Centre-right to right-wing)

Sinn Féin (Centre left to left-wing)

The Independent Group for Change (Centre)

Plaid Cymru (Centre left to left-wing)

Green Party of England and Wales (Left-wing)

Interested in seeing who you may wish to vote for, take any of these short quizzes to get an idea:

Who should you vote for website logo



I side with website logo



Or on a more general scale: 

The Political Compass website logo



Students' Union Elections 

Our elections run in more or less the same way as those for the UK's General Election, where our members (current students) vote on the officers they would like to represent them. Students put themselves forward as candidates (nominate themselves) and their application is suported by their fellow students.

Students then vote on which candidate they would best like to represent them based on their manifestos (plan of action) should they get voted in. 

Students vote online for the person they would like to be elected by ranking the candidates in order of preference. 

We use the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system to calculate the winner.

How to vote or nominate yourself

Log in using the link at the top right of your screen.

Select the election(s) you wish to take part in and the role(s) you wish to nominate yourself or vote for. When you're voting you can rank the candidates in order of preference.

If you have any problems nominating yourself or voting please email support@sussexstudent.com as soon as possible so we can resolve these for you.

Before nominating yourself, please read our Rules & Guidelines about standing in elections. All candidates are expected to have read the handbook. 

If you're considering nominating yourself we've provided some information and inspiration for potential candidates as well as some helpful hints and tips from current elected officers on writing your manifesto.

You could be elected

Any student can nominate themselves in our elections. We provide training and support to help with elections and once you're elected.

You don't have to be 'the right sort of person', know everyone on campus, be 'political' or have relevant experience. You just need ideas of how to make things better.

Information for potential candidates »

Subscribe to election email updates »

If you have any complaints about the conduct of candidates or the elections process, you can contact the Returning Officer at returning@sussexstudent.com. Complaints about candidates must be raised no later than one hour after the close of voting, and complaints about the elections process must be raised no later than one week after voting closes. You can find out more about complaints under section 4.17 of the Rules.

 View Live Voting Statistics »

More about the roles


NUS Delegates Election No elections are currently running

Exec and Trustee Election No elections are currently running


Election news

Students' Union Election results 2019

Fri 08 Mar 2019

Elections 2019 results are in. We are thrilled to announce our new Full-Time Officers, Part-Time Officers, Student Trustees and NUS conference delegates, and would like to congratulate absolutely everyone who took part, including all you fantastic students who voted.

What should change here? Nominate yourself and make change happen

Tue 04 Sep 2018

Be one of the hundreds of students and researchers elected to improve things for students here. Nominate yourself now.

Students' Union election results 2018

Fri 23 Mar 2018

Thousands of students voted this week for next year's Full-time Officers, Part-time Officers and Student Trustees.

NUS delegate election results 2018

Fri 23 Feb 2018

Hundreds of students voted this week for students to represent them at the National Union of Student (NUS) conferences.



Key election dates