Senate Election Rules for the Student Electorate
Last Updated October 19, 2015
- Short Title; Purpose
1.1 Short Title. These Rules will be referred to as the Senate Election Rules for the Student Electorate.
1.2 Purpose. The purpose of these Election Rules is to establish orderly procedures and rules for the election of senators from the student electorate to the Senate of the Urbana-Champaign campus.
- College Committees
2.1 Creation. College elections and credentials committees are created pursuant to paragraph 2, Part C, of the Senate Bylaws. Under the Bylaws, these committees may perform whatever duties are delegated to them by the Senate Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures (USSP).
2.2 Delegation of Power. The USSP will delegate various duties to the college committees by way of rules and guidelines it adopts and publishes. These Rules and Guidelines may be added to, amended, or repealed at any time by the USSP.
2.3 Specific Powers. The USSP hereby delegates to the college committees the following duties, subject to any limitations set forth in rules and guidelines of the USSP.
(a.) Apportionment Plan. In colleges entitled to more than one student senator, the college committee will prepare an apportionment plan for submission to the USSP, which in cooperation with the Clerk of the Senate, will establish voting units from which student representatives will be elected.
(b.) Conducting Elections. In the Colleges of Law, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, the college committee will conduct nomination and election procedures under the supervision of the Clerk of the Senate. In all other colleges, the college committee will conduct nomination and election procedures under the supervision of the Clerk of the Senate unless the Senate has authorized the Campus Student Elections Commission (CSEC) established by the Illinois Student Senate Constitution to conduct student Senate elections. (See also Rule 4.2.)
(c.) Priority of Existing Plan; Amendment. Where an apportionment plan establishing student election units previously has been put into effect, that plan shall remain in effect until otherwise determined by the USSP in cooperation with the Clerk of the Senate. The procedures for amending an apportionment plan shall be the same as those employed in adopting a new plan.
2.4 Restriction of Power. All activities of the USSP and of the college committees shall conform to the relevant provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws adopted by the Senate.
2.5 Resolution of Conflicts. Any conflicts concerning election rules and procedures which may arise whenever the CSEC is authorized to conduct student Senate elections shall be resolved by joint consultation between the CSEC and the USSP no later than November 30 preceding the elections.
- Election Units; Apportionment
3.1 Data. All student apportionment plans and amendments thereto shall be based upon and derived from student data supplied to each college committee by USSP.
3.2 Student Evaluation of Plans. No college student apportionment plan or amendments thereto should be submitted until it has been considered by an organization or organizations recognized by the college as representative of the student body. Ordinarily, this should include the Illinois Student Senate.
3.3 Open Hearings. No student apportionment plan or amendments thereto should be submitted until the college committee has held open hearings where students may express their views.
3.4 Report of Alternative Plan. Each apportionment plan or amendments thereto should be accompanied by a report of the college committee explaining how and why the plan or amendments were adopted, and what alternatives were rejected. The report should include copies of any substantial objections to the plan or amendments that were received by the committee.
3.5 Copies to Senate Clerk. The report and plan or amendments must be sent to the Senate Clerk for submission to USSP.
3.6 Senators per College. The USSP will determine the number of student senators to be apportioned to each college based on the total number of student senators (as near fifty as practicable).
3.7 Voting Units. Student voting units shall be determined in the following manner:
(a.) Unit Structure. In each college entitled to more than one student representative, the student body should be divided into as many voting units as there are student representatives to be elected. One senator will then be elected from each voting unit. If it is impossible to use single-representative units and at the same time meet other requirements set forth in these Rules in Sections 3.7 (b,c,d,e), a college may be divided into voting units which elect more than one senator, or all senators may be elected from the college at large.
(b.) Size Limitation. Not more than five senators may be elected from one voting unit unless that unit is comprised of students from one college which elects all its senators at-large. If a plan or amendment for multi-representative units or at-large election is submitted by any college committee, the committee must also submit the best possible single-representative unit plan and explain why it was rejected.
(c.) Departments Remain Intact. Each voting unit must be made up of one or more full departments. Departments may not be split.
(d.) Related Subject-Matter Guideline. Each voting unit should consist of departments in areas of related subject matter.
(e.) Equal Size College Units. Each single-representative unit within a college should have a student population substantially equal to other single-representative units. Where multi-representatives are used, the ratio of population to representatives should be substantially equal for all units. Departure from equality of voting power for each student should be avoided.
3.8 Tenth-Day Figures. Student senator apportionment will be based on the most recent tenth-day enrollment figures of college membership.
3.9 Absentees Counted. Members of the student electorate absent from campus will be included in the statistics used to apportion seats.
- Time and Duration of Elections
4.1 Duration of Elections. The elections shall be held on two consecutive weekdays.
4.2 Time of Elections. Elections for the Colleges of Law, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine shall be conducted by those colleges at such times as shall be specified by the USSP. The election of all other student senators shall be held at such times as shall be specified by the USSP unless the Senate authorizes the Campus Student Elections Commission (CSEC) established by the Illinois Student Senate Constitution to conduct the election of student senators concurrently with the other student elections the CSEC conducts. Such authorization, which does not extend to the Colleges of Law, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, must be given by the Senate no later than the last regularly scheduled meeting of the spring semester for the following year's elections. Once given, this authorization will remain in force unless it is rescinded by Senate; such action must take place no later than the last regularly scheduled meeting of the spring semester to be effective for the following year's elections. If the CSEC is authorized to conduct student Senate elections and agrees to do so, the election shall be held in the week containing the first Monday in March. If this week contains a general campus holiday, the election shall be held in the preceding week. If the preceding week also contains a general UIUC holiday, the election shall be held in the week containing the second Monday in March.
4.3 Senate Approval of Changes in CSEC Election Calendar. If for any reason CSEC-conducted Senate elections Cannot be held in accordance with the above schedule, the CSEC will notify the Senate no later than September 30 prior to the scheduled election, at which time the Senate shall determine whether to authorize the CSEC to proceed with the conduct of said election or to delegate the responsibility to the college elections committees.
- Electorate Qualifications
5.1 General Qualifications. The Constitution, Article IV, Section 1, provides: The student electorate shall consist of all persons actively pursuing a degree on this campus who meet the eligibility requirements for voting and who are not members of the faculty electorate. Eligibility for voting shall require that the student be:
a. In residence,
b. A candidate for a degree.
In addition, members of the student electorate eligible for nomination and election to the Senate shall be:
c. Undergraduate students, taking a minimum of 12 hours for credit; or
d. Professional students, taking a minimum of 8 hours for credit; or
e. Graduate students, taking a minimum of 8 hours for credit, or be registered for thesis credit, or taking fewer than 8 hours but more than 0 hours for credit and having at least a one-half time appointment to the campus academic staff.
5.2 Professional Students. Graduate students in Law and Veterinary Medicine will vote with the electorate in the Graduate College system, rather than with their affiliated colleges. All other eligible professional students in Law and Veterinary Medicine vote within their affiliated colleges.
5.3 Undergraduate and Graduate Students. Undergraduate students who are eligible to vote, as defined in Section 5.1, may vote for candidates in all Senate student elections within their respective colleges. Graduate students, including graduate professional students, may vote only for graduate student candidates.
5.4 College of Medicine Student Electorate. The student electorate of the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign shall be entitled to elect voting members of the Senate. The provisions of these Rules shall apply to these members.
- Candidate Qualifications
6.1 General Qualifications. A student candidate must satisfy the requirements of membership in the student electorate and intend to remain a student in residence during their expected term of office.
6.2 Satisfactory Progress. At the time of nomination and election a student candidate must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree as certified by their academic dean. "Satisfactory progress" means that the candidate is not on academic probation or drop status, and is fulfilling the requirements of a degree program within the voting unit. No additional or different standard may be employed.
6.3 Correction of Certification. A college committee can correct mistakes made by a dean in the certification process.
6.4 Current Membership in Unit. A student candidate must be a member of the unit in which the student is running for election and making satisfactory progress toward a degree at the time of the election. An undergraduate student who is a member of more than one unit may choose the unit in which the student will run for election provided the student fulfills the requirements defined under Section 5.3 and 6.2..
6.5 Single-Seat Limitation. No person can be a candidate for more than one Senate seat. This rule specifically prohibits a candidate from running simultaneously for a district seat and an at-large seat.
6.6 Terms. The terms of student senators shall be one year, with a maximum of six consecutive terms. Student terms begin on the first day of classes of the fall semester following their election. The election of a student senator in a regular election constitutes a full term regardless of whether or not the student senator resigns. A replacement senator elected prior to January 1 shall be considered to have served a full term.
- Notice of Election; Publicity
7.1 Election notice Each college's elections and credentials committee, or the CSEC if authorized to conduct student elections, shall distribute information concerning the nomination of students for student elections and information regarding the dates of election.
7.2 Method of Notice. The recommended method of informing persons about the elections is a mailing via hard copy or electronic means to all constituent members of the respective voting units within the college.
7.3 Announcements. Announcements may not be made in college classes.
7.4 Campaign Display Materials. Campaign signs may be displayed only on university- or college-approved bulletin boards or Illiosks with correct authorization, and in private establishments with consent of the owner. All campaign material within 50 feet of a public access University-owned computer on an election day must be removed when the polling begins. Distribution and display of campaign materials must be in accordance with rules and policies specified by the CSEC in their General Elections Packet, subject to review by USSP.
7.5 Methods of Voting. The Notice of Election (Section 7), Publicity (Section 7), Nomination Procedures (Section 8) and Election Procedures (Section 9-14) are detailed as indicated. These activities can be carried out either via hardcopy (requiring mail or hand delivery to the polling place as described below) or via electronic means. Whichever method is used, there must be: a) a reasonable time frame observed for the vote to occur, b) a confidentiality about voting and authentication, c) a stated process by which ties are resolved, and d) a reasonable retention period for the relevant records.
- Nomination Procedures
8.1 Written Nomination Statement. A student wishing to be a candidate must submit a written nomination statement. The nomination statement form will be provided by the college elections and credentials committee, or the CSEC if authorized to conduct student elections. For any election that is conducted by the college elections and credentials committees, the form will be available to students at their college offices and students are to return the completed form to the Dean for certification of eligibility. If the CSEC is conducting the election, the student nomination form for undergraduate and graduate students will be included in the CSEC General Elections Packet and the completed form is to be turned in according to instructions included in the packet.
8.2 Intent to Remain a Student. When submitting a nomination statement to the college elections committee, the student must affirm in writing that the student expects to remain a student in residence during the term of office for which election is sought.
8.3 Dean's Certificate of Progress. In order to comply with Section 6.2 of these Rules, a nomination statement must include certification by the dean that the candidate is making satisfactory progress toward the degree. The Dean must also verify and indicate on the nominating form the voting unit to which the candidate belongs.
8.4 Determination of Eligibility. The elections committee of each college shall determine whether its student candidates are eligible for election.
8.5 Notice. For any election that is conducted by a college elections and credentials committee, the college elections committee shall notify its student nominees of their eligibility, and shall also forward a copy of each qualified student's nominating statement to the Senate Clerk. If the CSEC has been authorized to conduct student Senate elections, it shall forward each undergraduate and graduate candidate's petition to the appropriate dean for certification of eligibility. Upon confirmation of each candidate's eligibility, the CSEC shall also forward a copy of the certified candidate petitions to the Senate Office. Regardless of who conducts the elections, the Senate Office and college offices must keep a copy of each eligible candidate's petition until election results are officially certified.
9.1 Responsibility for Preparation. Each college elections committee is responsible for preparing ballots for its own student voting units unless it has been notified in writing by the Clerk of the Senate that the Senate has delegated authority to the CSEC to conduct student Senate elections.
9.2 Model Ballot. If elections are to be conducted by the college elections committees, the ballots shall conform as nearly as possible to the model ballot prepared by the USSP.
9.3 Contents. The ballot shall contain the following:
(a.) name of the college;
(b.) designation of the election unit and number of senators to be elected;
(c.) the names of the nominees by unit; and
(d.) directions on proper voting procedures.
In the designation of a candidate's name on the ballot, the candidate's surname shall be used. In addition, any combination of the following designations may be used at the discretion of the candidate as space dictates: the candidate's full or shortened given name, and/or the candidate's initial(s). Nicknames may be used if the candidate can demonstrate prior usage upon request. No designation may be used in addition to the candidate's surname which suggests or implies possession of a degree or title, nor may a candidate's nickname be designed to intentionally mislead voters.
9.4 Random Order of Names. The ballot order of names for each Senate position within each unit shall be random.
9.5 Proofing the Election Ballot. Candidates shall have the opportunity to proof the election ballot, or a facsimile thereof, on which their names appear, at least 48 hours before the election.
- Conducting the Voting
10.1 Voter Identification. Each voter will be required to provide identification deemed appropriate by the body conducting the elections. Voting may be conducted by secure electronic ballot.
10.2 Voter's Signature. If the election is being conducted by written ballot, each voter will sign their name on a numbered line on a signature sheet. The election judge will enter that number opposite the voter's name on the list of eligible voters. If the election is being conducted using an electronic voting system, the college elections committee, or the CSEC if conducting the election, shall have a way to ensure only those eligible to vote can participate and that those eligible to vote can vote only vote once. Confidentiality of all votes must be ensured at all times. If the voting procedure links any identification with votes cast, this information must not be referenced during the tallying or reporting of the votes nor saved with the election results.
10.3 Initialing of Ballot. If the election is being conducted by written ballot, each ballot shall be initialed on the back in the upper left-hand corner by an election official immediately before the ballot is given to a voter.
10.4 Campaigning at the Polls. No campaigning (solicitation of voters, posters, etc.) is allowed within fifty feet of a public access University-owned computer during the hours of voting. College committees may adopt additional reasonable restrictions on campaigning in the vicinity of public access University-owned computers if they are conducting the elections. If the CSEC is conducting the elections, campaigning is expressly prohibited at the following locations on election days: (a.) on the first floor of the Illini Union, in the Southwest and Southeast foyers of the Illini Union, or in Illini Union elevators; (b.) inside the University undergraduate library tunnel, on its stairways or entrances or within fifty (50) feet of them; and (c.) on any public access University-owned computer or within fifty (50) feet of them.
- Polling Places
11.1 Responsibility. Each college elections committee is responsible for establishing and operating the number of polling places it deems necessary for its electorate unless the CSEC is conducting the elections. Polling sites for student Senate elections which are conducted by the CSEC shall be determined by the CSEC. If hardcopy methods are used, then Sections 11.2-11.4 shall be followed.
11.2 Hours. Each polling place must be open and operating between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on election days if the college elections committees are conducting the elections. Poll hours for student Senate elections which are conducted by the SEC shall be established by the CSEC.
11.3 Notice of Location. During the election period the location of polls and their hours must be posted by the committee in the office of the college.
11.4 Equipment. Ballot boxes, and other supplies (such as tables and chairs) for elections conducted by the college elections committees may be obtained from the campus facilities and services. For any Senate student election to be conducted by the CSEC, the CSEC shall be responsible for obtaining equipment it needs to conduct elections in a timely and efficient manner.
11.5 Electronic voting. If the election is being conducted using an electronic voting system, the polling locations shall include any public access University-owned computer for the purposes of Section 10.4. Members of the campus community shall not operate ad hoc polling locations. The college elections committee, or the CSEC if conducting elections, may enforce further restrictions for non-University owned computers operating as ad hoc polling locations.
- Election Expenses
12.1 Signed Statement.
(a.) For elections conducted by college elections committees. On or before the last day of the election, each student candidate shall file a signed statement of election expenses with the elections committee of their college. The statement shall include all expenditures known to have been made by any person for or on behalf of the student's candidacy. The college has no obligation to reimburse students for their election expenses; the purpose of requiring filed statements is solely to monitor any limitation (see Section 12.2) set by the college committee.
(b.) For elections conducted by the CSEC. All candidates for Senate student positions shall adhere to the provisions of the CSEC General Elections Packet.
12.2 Limitation. Each college elections committee may establish limits on the amount expended by or on behalf of any student candidate under its jurisdiction if it is conducting the election.
- Requirements for Election
13.1 Automatic Election. If for elections conducted by college elections and credentials committees the number of students nominated and willing to serve is exactly equal to the number of senators to be elected, no election need be held; those nominated and willing to serve may be declared elected automatically.
13.2 Plurality Election. Seats available in each voting unit will be filled as follows: the candidate receiving the highest number of votes will be elected first, the candidate receiving the second highest number elected second, and so on, until all available seats are filled.
13.3 Ties in Election. If a tie exists among the candidates eligible for the last seat(s) open in a voting unit, the body conducting the election shall determine the winner by drawing lots.
- Returns; Counting; Certification
14.1 Removal of Ballots. If hardcopy methods are used, ballots shall be removed only by designated officials. These officials are responsible for protecting the ballots from loss or tampering until the election results are officially certified. If electronic means are used, the report of the election shall be obtained at the end of the voting period and the file stored in a safe place.
14.2 Counting. The body conducting the election shall provide for counting the ballots immediately after the polls close. No candidate shall participate in the counting process. Any member of the electorate may be present during the counting process, within reasonable limits of space. If ballots are counted manually, the results of the count shall be entered on a tally sheet signed by those who counted the ballots. If electronic means are used, there shall be a process by which the results can be certified if challenged.
14.3 Write-in Ballots. No write-in ballots submitted in an election conducted by the CSEC are to be counted unless the candidate(s) in question have fully complied with provisions of the CSEC General Elections Packet for write-in candidates.
14.4 Doubtful Ballots. Intention of the voter should be the only standard for interpreting doubtful ballots. If the intention can be determined, the ballot should be counted in accordance with the intent. If the intention cannot be determined (e.g., three candidates marked for only two seats), then the ballot shall not be counted.
14.5 Certification by College Committee. If the elections have been conducted by the college elections committees using hardcopy methods, the tally sheet and all ballots shall be delivered or made available immediately to the appropriate college committee. If using electronic methods, the results sheet shall be delivered to the appropriate college committee by an appropriate method, including electronic means. The college committee, after satisfying itself that the vote shown on the tally sheet is correct, shall so certify on forms provided by the Senate Office and deliver said certification immediately to the Senate Office. The college committee shall arrange for the preservation of all ballots, tally sheets, or electronic files for that academic year.
14.6 Certification by the CSEC. If the elections have been conducted by the CSEC, the CSEC shall certify, on forms provided by the Senate Office, the results of each election as soon as those results are certified as official. The CSEC shall deliver the completed forms to the Senate Office at or before the time results are made public. The CSEC shall arrange for the preservation of all ballots, tally sheets, or electronic files for that academic year.
14.7 Certification by Senate Committee. The USSP shall certify election results to the Senate at the organizational meeting of the newly elected Senate. These results shall be entered in the minutes of that meeting. The USSP may delay certification of candidates whose elections are in doubt or may certify the election of such candidates upon appropriate conditions. The USSP shall not certify write-in candidates as elected if they do not conform to the appropriate provisions outlined in the Illinois Student Senate’s bylaws; certification of vacancies in these instances is allowable.
14.8 Formal Reports. All formal reports to the USSP should be addressed to the Senate Clerk.
- Grievances and Appeals
15.1 College Committee Jurisdiction. The college election committees shall have original jurisdiction over the following unless further delegated to the CSEC if it is authorized to conduct student elections:
(a.) adding names of qualified voters to the voting lists;
(b.) determination of a student's satisfactory progress toward a degree;
(c.) determination of college membership for electoral purposes;
(d.) certification of successful election of candidates; and
(e.) any other matters arising within their colleges.
15.2 Appeal to University Statutes and Senate Procedures Committee (USSP) Any aggrieved person may appeal to the USSP a decision of a college committee; actions and decisions of the USSP may be appealed to the Senate by any senator.
15.3 Procedure for Unlisted Persons Claiming Electorate Status. If a student whose name does not appear on the official listing desires to vote and claims the right to do so, the validity of that claim shall be decided by the chair (or designee) of the appropriate college committee before the end of the voting period. If the claim cannot be so decided, the student shall be provided a ballot after signing a statement that the student is a qualified member of the electorate in the particular voting unit involved. The signed statement and vote shall be kept separate and shall not be counted with the other votes; both shall be delivered to the appropriate college committee along with the other ballots and tally sheets. The college committee will decide whether the person is or is not entitled to vote. If the voter is so entitled, the chair of the committee will add that vote to the tally sheet.
15.4 Grievances with the CSEC. For any election conducted by the CSEC, students may file complaints in accordance with procedures specified in the CSEC General Elections Packet.
- Resignations and Vacancies
16.1 No Nominations. If no one is elected to a Senate seat from a voting unit during the general election, then the college in which that voting unit resides shall have the option of electing an eligible member of the student electorate to that seat in the fall. Election procedures shall be developed by each college elections and credentials committee and shall be subject to approval by the USSP.
16.2 Disqualification from Electorate. If a senator fails to satisfy the requirements for membership in the electorate during their term of office, the Senate shall determine whether the senator may remain seated.
16.3 Vacancies. A vacant student Senate seat may be filled by appointment by the Illinois Student Senate. In selecting the replacment for a student senator, priority should be given, in descending order, to:
(i) The first runner-up (if any) in the appropriate election unit;
(ii) The successive runners-up (if any) in the appropriate election unit; and
(iii) candidate(s) selected in a search conducted by the Illinois Student Senate’s Standing Committee on Internal Affairs in consultation with the Clerk of the Senate. In the case of graduate student vacancies, the Committee on Internal Affairs must seek the advice and consent of the Subcommittee on Graduate and Professional Student Affairs or of the USSP, when the former has not been constituted.
16.4 Change of Unit. If a senator changes voting units after the election, the senator will continue to represent the original unit.
16.5 Recall of a Senator. A student senator can be recalled by a vote of two-thirds of those voting in the recall election.