A total of 13 positions, including eight full-time sabbatical roles, will be voted on at the beginning of MarchLouis Ashworth

This year, the Cambridge Student Union (SU) elections, for which nominations opened on Monday (15/02), will be taking place entirely online for the first time.

Torkel Loman, the Cambridge SU Returning Officer, told Varsity that the hustings will be live-streamed as a Zoom webinar.

The rules for the election clearly state that in-person campaigning is not permitted, nor are any physical or printed campaign materials to be created: consequently, candidates will rely even more heavily on the use of social media than in previous years. 

The SU’s ‘Tips for Campaigning’ emphasise that the “first fully online elections ever will come with new opportunities to reach potential voters in new ways.”

Loman also told Varsity: “We're confident this year's Lent elections will be fair, open and accessible to all despite the pandemic requiring us to go online-only.

“We're supporting election candidates in these challenging times with a buddy system for welfare support and a programme of events including Q&As, rules briefings and an online campaigning tips session. 

“We want everyone to feel like they can participate in the elections to enable both candidates and voters to focus on what really matters: a vibrant public conversation about the future of the SU and the issues that are important to Cambridge students.”

Voting will take place on the online through the SU website, as in previous years, using Single Transferable Vote, a ranked voting system. Voters will rank their preference on the ballot, deciding between the candidates, with an option to reopen nominations (RON). Meanwhile, candidates will need to achieve a set number, or ‘quota’, of votes in order to be elected.

Roles on offer: Students will vote on a total of eight full-time sabbatical roles in the upcoming elections:

1. Undergraduate and Postgraduate Presidents

2. Undergraduate and Postgraduate Access, Education and Participation Officers

3. Welfare & Community Officer

4. BME Officer

5. Women's Officer

6. Disabled Students' Officer

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Alongside the eight full time sabbatical roles, there are four portfolio officer roles, which students can take up whilst studying for their degree. The thirteenth role, the University Councillor, is not part of the SU, but the SU oversees their election. 

The SU’s Democracy Committee, consisting of volunteer students elected by the SU’s Student Council, will oversee the elections, and includes the current SU Undergraduate President, Ben Margolis.

Once nominations have closed at midnight on Tuesday (23/02), candidates will attend a briefing on Wednesday (24/02) afternoon before the list of candidates is made public on Friday morning (26/02), the same night at the election hustings. Voting will take place between Monday 1st and Thursday 4th of March, with the results being announced on the evening of the 4th. 

The current team of SU sabbatical officers will continue in their rules until mid-July 2021, when responsibilities will be handed over to the newly elected team.

You can read Varsity's coverage of last year's elections here.