Elections, referenda & student voice

Illustration of three students working together around a laptop on a table

MSL Elections, Referenda & Student Voice

Run engaging, accessible, secure and robust online elections whichever voting system you use and type of vote you need to run including:

  • Student Council
  • Senate
  • Academic board/committee
  • Course reps
  • Decision making and preferences.

Your elections can be a completely online experience from nominations to the count but in-person voting is catered for with the MSL Polling Booth which is great for visibility on your campus.

Read more about these topics:

Nominations & Self-Definition Voting & Real-Time Stats Count & Safeguarding Course & Academic Reps

The service provided by MSL for the 2021 Students' Union Elections was fantastic. It made voting simple and accessible to many students who otherwise would not have cast a vote. A digital tool like this has great potential for increasing participation in democratic processes, something which is central to us here in UCC Students' Union and is clearly reflected in the significant increase in voter turnout we saw in this year's elections compared to previous years.

University College Cork Students' Union



Nominations & Self-Definition

Where candidates need to self-define in order to stand for a post that happens at the nomination stage. If the situation arises where a candidate has to be withdrawn or disqualified this can be done at any point, even after voting has started. We help you avoid those situations by providing a prominent area in the election profile to display any self-definition or other requirements.

We've also built-in automated notifications to reduce manual tasks for your staff so candidates know when their submission has been confirmed, accepted or any changes are made. 



Voting & Real-time Stats


Campaigning has concluded and now the voting opens. You can offer voters a number of options with MSL Elections & Referenda and each time a vote is cast through their account they will receive a notification to help tackle electoral fraud:

  • Online - create a dedicated area on your website and give voters the ability to cast their vote from any web-enabled device. To support security and validity of those votes, MSL Elections & Referenda checks and validates voter ID and ensures multiple votes cannot be cast.
  • StudentLink+® app - your own branded app includes voting so you're sure of reaching voters on their favourite devices wherever they are based.
  • Polling booth - touchscreen voting gives voters a quick, convenient and secure method of participating around your campuses.
An online ballot paper for officer elections

Real-Time Stats

Customisable live voting dashboards for your website are a great way for you to maintain voter engagement and encourage non-voter participation. 

Choose the stats you want to show - by campus, nationality, course, year or any demographic available in your student data - and let the competition for most engaged students boost turnout.

An example of real time voting stats showing total votes and voters in bar charts



The Count & Safeguarding

The Count

Conduct your count in private, in public, live stream it or have one of the MSL election experts run the count for you. Whichever you choose, the MSL counting procedure offers transparency at all stages. It deals with multiple RON candidates, adding/withdrawing candidates and, under STV, transferring surplus votes.

Once the count is complete the results can be published directly on your website and voting data exported for your records.

Election count results for a president role showing total votes and votes per candidate in a bar chart


We take safeguarding very seriously and these features are all included to help you protect against electoral fraud:

  • Vote acknowledgement notification - each time a vote is cast through their account, the voter receives a notification
  • Polling Booth invigilation – staff check the voter ID matches the individual who wishes to vote before they do so
  • Check user access – ensure unauthorised users cannot access voter IDs and accounts
  • Password re-sets - for election admins to ensure no other users have access to administration areas
  • Secure admin permissions – the ability to lockdown rights to an election for specific users



Course & Academic Reps

Whether or not your hold elections for your course and academic representation, your reps have lots of tools available to support them:

  • Find my rep pages for students to quickly access course rep and contact details
  • Forums for course, school or faculty members to connect and support each other
  • Messaging and polling tools for reps to reach the students they represent

Candidates easily upload their details, photo, manifesto and proposers but nothing is published until your election administrator approves their submission.

Infographic of the MSL online elections journey from nominations to the count

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