Youth Congress Candidate Information
Thank you for choosing to apply to be a member of the Northern Ireland Youth Congress. In order to give young people in Northern Ireland a strong voice to influence the issues they care about in their community the 54 places available on the Youth Congress will be elected.
Elections are a vital aspect of democratic life as they are the visible sign to both the members of the public and the NI Assembly authorities that the Youth Congress is democratic. The election must be fair and be seen as fair to everyone.
As candidates it is your responsibility to make sure you and your supporters uphold the very highest standards. The reputation of the Youth Congress (and the Northern Ireland Youth who run the Youth Congress) is in your hands.
Election timetable and candidate deadlines
- Closing Date for constituency forms: 2/9/2013 3pm
- Election support and information Day: 7/9/2013 12pm-3pm
- Voting opens online: 1/10/2013 9am
- Voting closes: 14/10/2013 5pm
- Election announcement: 16/10/2013
You will soon receive 2 forms to be completed (both can be downloaded at the bottom of this post):
1) Constituency and Elections conformation form (including permission for under 18’s)
THIS MUST BE RETURNED TO email@example.com by 2nd September 2013
THIS MUST BE RETURNED TO firstname.lastname@example.org by 11th September 2013
Failure to return these forms in time may result in you being removed from the elections.
It is essential that you check your emails daily during the election period as we will be communicating a lot of information to you.
We have also set up a special Facebook group for election candidates for us to post essential information on. You will soon be invited to join this. We would encourage you to avail of this opportunity to ask questions that may benefit all candidates.
How do young people vote?
Voting will be online via Mi-vote. People will be asked for a series of information in order in order to make sure they are not casting numerous votes.
Before the elections you will asked to complete a 3 point Manifesto outlining the issues you are most passionate about making a difference too if you are elected.
For many of you this may be your first experience of being involved in elections. Advice and guidance is available for you from the Returning Officers. The Returning Officers are responsible for ensuring the election is run fairly and as smoothly as possible, in accordance with these election regulations. They are also responsible for ruling on any disputes that may arise. The ruling of the Returning Office is final.
Returning Officer: Claire King – NI Youth Forum – email@example.com
Deputy Returning Officer:– Heather McCrory – NI Youth Forum – firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be holding a support and information day on 6th September 12-3pm in Grosvenor House, Belfast (beside Great Victoria Street Bus and Train Station). All public transport costs can be reimbursed so please retain your ticket.
This is an opportunity to get ideas on how to campaign and also to answer any questions you may have about the process. It will also support you in the development of your manifestos.
Rules and Regulations
- 1. As candidates, you are also responsible for the conduct of anyone who may be campaigning on your behalf. You will be held accountable if anyone breaks any election rules while campaigning on your behalf.
- 2. The NI Youth Forum and all its programmes are none party political because of its charity status – therefore no political party campaigning is allowed.
- 3. All these rules apply equally to anything which may be produced as part of your campaign – verbal or written. This includes any online material.
- 4. Do not do anything other candidates do not have the same opportunity to do.
- 5. If in doubt, ask.
- 1. Do not intimidate or harass any young people, staff or other candidates. You can canvass the support of young people, however you must be respectful to people and leave them alone if they ask you to, particularly in social spaces.
- 2. If you wish to make a short speech to yours or another class, this will be permitted at the discretion of the teaching staff that is taking the class. They reserve the right to refuse permission.
- 1. Only put you election posters on existing notice boards. You must not cover up or take down existing notices or other candidate’s literature. If you put your poster in other places they may be taken down. You have been warned. When putting you posters up please use common sense and do not fly post indiscriminately.
Respect for others:
- • Treat other candidates how you wish to be treated.
- • Personal attacks on other candidates are strictly forbidden. Any offensive or discriminatory behaviour that breach the following statement are not allowed:
‘The NI Youth Forum is committed to the implementation of Equal Opportunities throughout its work. In its meetings, activities, services and as an employer, no person shall be discriminated against. This shall be regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, physical, sensory or learning disability, political or religious beliefs, responsibilities for dependants, marital status, socio-economic background, HIV status, trade union activity or on any other grounds that cannot be justified through the policy of the council’
Any complaints must be emailed to Claire King – Returning Officer at Claire@niyf.org. The Returning Officer will consider them and a ruling made. Please think carefully before you make a complaint, only do so if you feel it is absolutely necessary. You must not use these rules or the complaints procedure as a tactic to attack others. It is easy to see if this is the case and will not be tolerated. Abuse of the complaints procedure is its self a serious offence and could endanger your place in the election.
Any complaints must be received before close of voting.
Help and Assistance
Please feel free to contact Claire or Heather if you have any questions. If you have campaigning ideas, which you are not sure are permitted, please ask.
We welcome creative campaigning but please check if you have ideas which are a bit different.
Disqualification of candidates
If any candidate breaks the election rules or regulations they risk being disqualified from the election without warning. Please bear this in mind. The Returning Officer’s decision is final.
This is the beginning of an exciting process which will result in a structure that has a mandate to represent young people on a regional level. We hope you enjoy the election experience and get the most out of meeting other young activists. Good luck to all the candidates and we look forward to meeting you all in the coming weeks!