Because computerized voting is the primary voting method used, the computerized procedures in this Election Code are the primary procedures. If electronic complications arise the election or elections shall be rescheduled for the following week. If electronic elections are not available for some time or if they are not the preferred method the Student Senate with a 2/3rd vote can order Title XV to be implemented.
APPLICATIONS FOR OFFICES
SECTION 1. Notice that applications are available for Senate and Student Government offices shall be publicized no less than ten (10) days prior to the deadlines for accepting these applications. Publicity shall continue up to and including the deadline date.
SECTION 2. Application forms shall be available in the Student Government office. Completed applications must be received in the Student Government office by 4:00 p.m. CT (central time) on the deadline date set by the Student Government officers. In order that a person’s name appears on the ballot, this deadline must be met. The candidates must also attend the mandatory pre-election meeting at 5:00 p.m. CT on the same day of the applications due date, unless otherwise scheduled by the chief justice or the Student Government secretary. If a candidate is not able to attend the mandatory meeting, said candidate must meet with the Chief Justice before 5:00 p.m. five days previous to polls opening.
NOTICE OF UPCOMING ELECTIONS
SECTION 1. Notice of an upcoming election shall be publicized by the Student Government no less than ten (10) days prior to the election date and continued until the election, including a run-off election, is over.
SECTION 2. Specific dates, places and times for voting, that are not addressed in this Election Code, shall be set by the Student Government officers.
SECTION 3. Election information shall be publicized in conspicuous places on campus that will provide the most exposure to the most students.
SECTION 1. Authority over all elections shall be vested in the Chief Justice of the Student Judicial Board (SJB). In the case of a paper ballot election, authority over the election shall be vested in the chief justice of the SJB and the Special Election Committee, as appointed by the Senate president.
SECTION 2. If the chief justice is running for an elective office, honorary position, or is otherwise unable to fulfill these duties, his/her duties and responsibilities over the election, shall be passed to the chief justice pro-tem. In the event that the chief justice and the chief justice pro-tem are both running for an elective office, honorary position, or are otherwise unable to fulfill these duties, the remaining justices shall elect one of their members to assume the duties and responsibilities over the election.
SECTION 3. These responsible parties cannot alter in any way the rules as set forth in this Code and the Code of Student Life. They have supervisory power only. However, the power of interpretation of this Code lies with the chief justice, and his/her decision stands unless it is overruled by the SJB. In the event that the chief justice’s interpretation of this Code is disputed, the disputing party has two (2) class days to turn in a written notice of the complaint to the chief justice. Upon the written notice of the complaint, the chief justice shall submit a written explanation of his/her interpretation of the Election Code within two (2) class days. The SJB shall meet within three (3) class days after receiving the written notice of the complaint and the written explanation of the chief justice’s interpretation of the Election Code. The chief justice pro-tem shall lead this meeting. At this meeting, the written notice of complaint and the written explanation of the chief justice’s interpretation of the Election Code shall be reviewed with the chief justice and the complainant being available at the location of the meeting place in the event that their presence is requested in the meeting. The chief justice shall not have a vote in the decision. The SJB shall have two (2) class days after their meeting to return a written decision to the disputing party. This decision will be final.
SECTION 1. All elections shall be a two (2) day voting period. Voting shall run continuously from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday through Wednesday. Final results shall be printed on the morning following the close of elections. Run-off elections, if needed, shall be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT on the following Tuesday and Wednesday. Final run-off results shall be printed on the morning following the close of the run-off election. Absolutely no voting shall take place before or after the scheduled times.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR BALLOTS
SECTION 1. Responsibility for the computerized ballot shall be vested in the chief justice and the Student Government secretary.
SECTION 2. Ballots shall be posted in a complete and final form, at least five (5) days before the actual voting is to take place. If the computerized ballot is not posted five (5) days before voting is to start, then the election shall be postponed till the computerized ballot is posted and the five (5) days requirement is met.
SECTION 3. After the final tabulation of ballots by the computerized voting system, the election shall be saved to the hard drive of a Student Government computer. The election shall remain in the computerized voting system and on the hard drive for a period of two years. If, at the end of this period, the election has not been contested the chief justice and the Student Government secretary shall delete the election from the computerized voting system and from the Student Government computer. The chief justice shall also destroy all printouts from the election. If the election is contested, the election shall not be deleted from the computerized voting system or the hard drive of the Student Government computer until the issue has been resolved.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHECKING THE POLLS
SECTION 1. Responsibility for checking the campus for campaign material shall be divided among members of the Student Government. The staffers shall be coordinated by the Student Government officers and the Student Government secretary.
SECTION 2. Any person, with opposition, running for an elective office or honorary position may not be in charge of any election responsibility.
BALLOTS AND VOTING INSTRUCTIONS
SECTION 1. The candidates’ names, biographical information, and a photo shall be grouped together according to the position for which they are running and shall appear in alphabetical order by last name. Spaces at the bottom of the list of candidates will be provided for write-in votes for each seat/position available. On the upper part of the ballot shall appear the title for the ballot (e.g. “Official Ballot for __________.). The blank should be filled in according to the election for which it will be used. (Example: “Official Ballot for the Spring General Election.”) Below this title shall appear the following instructions for voting:
Read ballot carefully.
Select the dot closest to the candidate(s) of your choice or place the name(s) of (a) write-in candidate(s) in the space(s) provided. (If you write-in a candidate, you must click the dot beside the space provided.)
Click the VOTE button at the bottom of the ballot to cast your vote.
SECTION 2. The proposed amendment(s) shall appear in the order that they were presented to the Student Senate and in the form that they were presented to Student Senate. All proposed constitutional amendments shall include a separate statement on the ballot in clear language stating precisely the intention and effect of the proposed amendment. The chief justice and the author of the bill shall make a final determination of the substance of this statement.
SECTION 3. A computerized constitutional amendment ballot shall appear in the form of a candidate ballot with the exception of number two instructions which shall read: “Click the dot in front of your desired response to the proposed amendment.”
SECTION 4. Persons shall only vote for the candidate for which they are qualified to vote according to their major and/or classification status.
SECTION 5. Any person who is currently enrolled and has a current Buffalo Gold Card is eligible to vote.
TABULATION OF ELECTION RESULTS
SECTION 1. Tabulation of the votes shall be done by the computerized voting system and will be supervised by the chief justice and the Student Government secretary.
SECTION 2. A print-off of the final results from the computerized voting system shall be made on the morning of the first class day following the close of the election. This shall be done by the chief justice and the Student Government secretary.
SECTION 3. If the finalists or winners are needed by a specific event date and there is prolonged technical difficulty after the start of an honorary election, the last available vote tally shall be considered the final vote tally.
SECTION 4. If a candidate withdraws or is withdrawn from the election after the ballot(s) have been prepared, his/her name shall remain on the ballots. If this candidate receives a plurality of the votes cast, the candidate with the second highest number of votes received shall be the winner. If a candidate received a plurality of the votes cast, and declines his/her position before being sworn in, the candidate with the next highest number of votes received will assume the position.
POSTING OF ELECTION RESULTS
SECTION 1. Election results containing the official tabulation shall be stamped by the chief justice with the official SJB seal and signed by both the chief justice and the Vice President for Student Affairs. These results shall be posted on the window of the Student Affairs office by the chief justice and shall contain all candidates’ names and the number of votes received by each. Honorary election results shall not be posted.
SECTION 2. The results of the election shall be posted immediately after the final results from the computerized voting system have been printed off.
SECTION 3. A notice of a run-off election, if needed, will be posted with these results containing the names of the parties involved in the run-off election and times, dates, and places for voting.
SECTION 1. A simple majority is required to win president and vice president. If not received, a run-off election will result. Senate elections require a plurality. Honorary elections require a plurality to win. There shall be no run-off elections for honorary elections.
SECTION 2. Specific times and places for voting in the run-off election, that are not addressed in this Election Code, shall be set by the Student Government officers as soon as notification of the need for a run-off is received. This information should be publicized as soon as possible.
SECTION 3. In the case of run-off elections, candidates’ campaign expenses will not exceed:
Vice President: $75.00
SECTION 4. All rules in this Code and the Code of Student Life shall be followed in a run-off election whenever applicable.
SECTION 1. Special Elections may be called by the president of the Student Government in the manner described in Article IV, Section 4 (E) of the Constitution of West Texas A&M University Student Government.
SECTION 2. These elections will be held on dates, times, and at places set by the president of the Student Government with the recommendations of the vice president and the chief justice. The election shall be held no sooner than five (5) class days after the first day of publicity.
HONORARY HOMECOMING AND FORMAL ELECTIONS
SECTION 1. Honorary elections will be defined as, but not limited to, Homecoming and Formal elections.
SECTION 2. Honorary elections shall be overseen by the chief justice with the assistance of the Student Government secretary and governed according to the rules provided for in this Code and the Code of Student Life.
SECTION 1. A candidate’s campaigning expenses will be as follows:
Vice President: $200.00
SECTION 2. A detailed expense report, which is obtainable from the chief justice or the Student Government secretary, will be completed by all candidates, regardless of the amount spent (i.e. $0.00 - 150.00) including donations and personal items estimated at fair market value and submitted to the chief justice in the Student Government office within two (2) class days after the close of the election. Receipts should accompany the expense report for each item. Campaign material such as flyers and paper handouts will be judged by the current prices of the Hastings Electronic Learning Center on their campaign expense report.
SECTION 3. Campaigning shall not begin until the campaigning rules have been received by the candidate and the pre-election mandatory meeting has been held. Websites and links to them created for the purpose of campaigning may not be accessible to anyone other than campaign staff prior to the campaigning period. This includes (personal websites, Facebok groups, Facebook messages, My Space blogs, Xanga entries, as well as endorsements on other websites, and similar sites as determined by the Chief Justice).
SECTION 4. It is the candidate’s responsibility to make sure any person(s) helping with campaigning on his/her behalf know the rules as stated in this Code and the Code of Student Life. Sanctions will be applied to the candidate for any person helping him/her campaign who violates any rule in this Code or the Code of Student Life.
SECTION 5. Campaigning shall cease immediately upon notice of a candidate’s ineligibility for office as determined by the chief justice and/or the Student Government office. The candidate shall be responsible for removal of all displayed campaign material.
SECTION 6. Campaigning shall be of a constructive nature. No defaming of candidates, of campus organizations, or of campus officials.
SECTION 7. Candidates may not use the official labels or seals of Student Government, Student Senate, or of West Texas A&M University on their campaigning material to promote themselves.
SECTION 8. All campaign material must be reviewed by the chief justice and/or the Student Government secretary prior to posting or distribution. All campaign material must be stamped, on the front side of the material, by the chief justice or the Student Government secretary and two (2) copies provided by the candidate must be on file in the chief justice’s office. Additionally any video produced by or for the candidate must be reviewed by the Chief Justice or the Student Government secretary before being distributed, posted or linked. The candidate's videos must adhere to the copyright policies as mapped out by the University. Any video that violates this policy will not be approved. A digital file provided by the candidate of the video must also be submitted to keep on file in the Chief Justice's office. In the description of every video the following statemtn will be included without exception "This message has been approved for posting by the Student Government Office. If you believe this message is not in compliance with the Election Code, please contact the Chief Justice at (806)651-2388."
SECTION 9. Each building on both Canyon and Amarillo campuses has posting policies. Please distribute campaign materials according to these policies. No campaign materials may be placed on the painted walls, doors, or windows in any classroom buildings. In such buildings, said campaign materials will be limited to the bulletin boards only. In addition, no campaigning material may be placed under any doors on either the Canyon or Amarillo campuses or on windshields of vehicles parked on either the Canyon or Amarillo campuses. Cars may not be car polished, and sidewalk chalk is prohibited on campus.
SECTION 10. Any damages created as a result of a candidate’s campaigning shall be paid for by the candidate responsible.
SECTION 11. Student Government officers and Student Government designated poll watches reserves the right to temporarily or permanently remove campaigning material that has not been approved and stamped with the Student Government stamp and is not in the chief justice file, not posted according to campus posting policies, or which a complaint has been presented until the situation has been resolved.
SECTION 12. Candidates and/or persons helping that candidate can not remove, cover up/conceal (by any means), destroy, or vandalize another candidate’s materials.
- No active campaigning shall be allowed during the days of voting within the proximity of a voting kiosk. Active campaigning shall be under the purview of the Chief Justice. No active campaigning is allowed at anytime in the Hastings Electronic Learning Center or Cornette Library. Each Spring semester one month before the Spring general elections, the Joint Election Code committee must meet. This committee will be chaired by the Chief Justice and the Chair of the Rules and Appropriations committee. The membership will include three (3) members of the Student Senate and three (3) members of the Judicial Board. This committee will recommend changes to the election code to be ratified by the Student Senate.
- Other forms of the internet/web use (including Facebook, Xanga, My Space, personal web sites, e-mail, and similar sites as determined by the Chief Justice) are allowed given they follow the WTAMU Election Code. Candidates are required to monitor their web pages and remove any violations of the Election Code within 8 hours of its posting. Web violations must be reported to the Chief Justice or Student Government Secretary immediately.
- All types of messages (including Facebook, My Space, e-mail, AIM, Yahoo!, Messenger, and other types as determined by the Chief Justice) must contain the following disclaimer “Please reply to sender if you do not wish to receive further messages from this candidate. If you still receive messages from this candidate please contact the Chief Justice at (806) 651-2388.” The candidate or the candidate’s staff will not send messages to the recipient until the election has concluded. Any violation of this rule will subject the candidate to disciplinary action by the Chief Justice.
- Candidates for Student Body President and Vice President will be allowed one minute Public Service Announcement, in which they are allowed to campaign as he/she wishes. The PSA’s will also be posted on the Student Government webpage within 48 hours of the election.
SECTION 14. It shall be the responsibility of all candidates to remove and/or clean up all of their own campaign material seventy-two (72) hours after the close of the election (this includes run-offs).
SECTION 15. Any person holding an elected or appointed office shall be eligible to apply for another office with the understanding that he/she will relinquish their current office if appointed or elected to the position applied for.
SECTION 16. The procedure for write-in candidates will be as follows:
Write-ins will only be contacted if a position has not been filled or the write-in receives the number of votes required to be considered for a position. When the write-in is contacted regarding the position, if he/she does not want to be considered, no further action will be taken.
When the write-in is contacted regarding the position, if he/she does want to be considered, the procedure will be as follows:
He/she must file by filling out a write-in application and an expense report. The write-in must pick up the application and the expense report by 5:00 p.m. CT on the first class day after he/she is contacted after the close of elections and return the application and the expense report by 4:00 p.m. CT on the following day. If the application and/or the expense report is not returned within the time required, the write-in will no longer be considered for the position unless the write-in gets prior approval from the chief justice.
If the write-in has filed, met all of the eligibility requirements, and did not violate any rules in this Election Code, the write-in will automatically be accepted into the position if there is no need for a run-off election. If a run-off election is needed, and if a write-in has filed, met all of the eligibility requirements, and did not violate any rules in this Election Code, his/her name will be placed on the run-off ballot.
Regarding Senate seats, if more than one write-in candidate receives the same number of votes in an election, the procedure will be as follows:
He/she must complete a write-in application and an expense report. The write-in must pick up the application and the expense report by 5:00 p.m. CT on the first class day after he/she is contacted after the close of elections and return the application and the expense report by 4:00 p.m. CT on the following day. If the application and/or the expense report is not returned within the time required, the write-in will no longer be considered for the position unless the write-in gets prior approval from the chief justice.
If the write-in has completed the required paperwork, met all of the eligibility requirements, and did not violate any rules in this Election Code, the write-in will be presented to Senate at the next Senate meeting. The names of the write-ins will be placed on a ballot by the chief justice who will inform Senate of the number of candidates and the number of seats available. The write-in candidate must be present at Senate in order to be considered.
SECTION 17. Failure to comply with the rules for elections as set forth in this Code and the Code of Student Life, shall be punishable by campus work hours of a time no less than two (2) hours and no more than twenty (20) hours and/or disqualification as set by the West Texas A&M University Student Judicial Board (SJB). Should the student choose, he/she may pay a fine equivalent to the current “Federal Minimum Wage Rate” for number of work hours issued in place of working the assigned hours. Fines in place of work hours should be paid at the Student Affairs office.
SECTION 18. FINE ASSESSMENT: The Student Judicial Board shall assess fines to the candidates who have violated the election code according to the precedence. Tier 1 violations may consist of improper placement of campaign materials, over expense within $25, etc. Tier 2 violations may consist of copyright violations, Code of Student Life violations, etc. Tier 3 violations may consist of defamation of candidates, sabotage, etc.
- Tier 1 - Two (2) hours or less. Three (3) Tier 1 violations will result in a Tier 2 violation.
- Tier 2 - Two (2) hours to 20 hours. Three (3) Tier 2 violations will result in a Tier 3 violation.
- Tier 3 - Automatic disqualification.
SECTION 1. ELECTION AUTHORITY
SUB-SECTION 1. A Special Election Committee will be formed before each paper ballot election. This committee shall be a temporary Student Government Committee consisting of six (6) Student Senate members, all of which shall be appointed by the Senate president, the chief justice, Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Student Government secretary or University Judicial Officer. This committee will be supervised by the chief justice and Vice President forStudent Affairs or UniversityJudicialOfficer. This committee shall carry out the actual tabulation of the ballots. The tenure of the Special Election Committee shall begin no less than the four (4) days before the election and continue for twenty-four (24) hours after the polls close on the last day of voting. If a run-off election is necessary, this committee shall continue to serve until twenty-four (24) hours after the polls close for the run-off election.
SECTION 2. ELECTION DATES
SUB-SECTION 1. The fall general election shall be held on the Tuesday and Wednesdayfollowing the second week after the start of classes. The spring general election shall be held on two (2) consecutive class days during March. Each election shall consist of one (1) day of absentee voting followed by one (1) day of regular voting.Should either of these times fall within one (1) day afterschool holiday, the Student Government officers shall set new dates for the election. Absentee voting will take place in the Student Affairs office one (1) class day prior to the regularly scheduled election date. Absolutely no voting shall take place at the polls before or after the scheduled times. Run-off elections shall be the Tuesdayand Wednesday after the election results have been posted.
SECTION 3. RESPONSIBILITY FOR BALLOTS AND BALLOT BOXES
SUB-SECTION 1. Responsibility for the care, sealing, and safeguarding of the ballots and ballot boxes shall be vested in the chief justice and the Student Government secretary.
SUB-SECTION 2. The designated position for ballot boxes during all paper ballot elections and run-offs will be located in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center, except for absentee voting which shall be in the Student Affairs office.
SUB-SECTION 3. The chief justice and/ a SJB member are in charge of the ballots and ballot boxes before the polls open and after they close. During the times the polls are open for voting, the people in charge of the polls are responsible for the ballots and ballot boxes. The chief justice or aSJB member shall return before the polls close for the day to take charge of the ballots and ballot boxes. These shall be locked inside of the chief justice’s office between polling days.
SUB-SECTION 4. Ballot boxes shall be sealed the day before the election by affixing a typed statement of seal on the boxes. Masking tape will be placed on the ballot boxes in such a manner as to seal the top and bottom parts of the box. Locks are to be put on the boxes and the key shall be in the possession of the chief justice.
SUB-SECTION 5. If different ballots are to be used and it shall be necessary to keep them separate during balloting, the ballot boxes shall be marked accordingly.
SUB-SECTION 6. Ballots, ballot boxes, and all other material needed for running the polls shall be at the polls in ample time for voting to begin on schedule.
SUB-SECTION 7. After the final tabulation of ballots, all ballots shall be again locked inside the ballot boxes and these boxes locked inside the chief justice’s office. They shall remain there for a period of five (5) class days. If, at the end of this period, the election has not been contested the chief justice or the SJB shall destroy all of the ballots and tabulation sheets. If the election is contested, all ballots and tabulation sheets shall remain locked in the chief justice’s office until the issue has been resolved.
SECTION 4. CHECKING THE POLLS
The duties and responsibilities of those running the polls are as follows:
- Be knowledgeable of all the rules for running the kiosks and following/enforcing them.
- Check the qualifications of the voter
- A valid WTAMU Buffalo Gold Card
- Swipe the card through the machine.
- Wait and see that the reader states “Transaction Valid” or “Transaction Invalid”
- If the reader states “Transaction Valid”: hand the ballot to the voter. Do not allow the voter to get the ballot. If the reader states “Transaction Invalid”: he/she is not eligible to vote.
- If thetransaction is valid,have the voter sign the official voter sign-in sheet.
SECTION 5. BALLOTS AND VOTING INSTRUCTIONS
SUB-SECTION 1. The ballots for Spring General Election shall be copied on colored paper: Eachcollege shall have a different colored ballot. The ballots for all other elections shall be copied on white paper. The candidates’ names shall be grouped together according to the seat/position for which they are running and shall appear in alphabetical order by last name. Spaces at the bottom of the list of candidates will be provided for write-in votes for each seat/position available. On the upper part of the ballot shall appear the title for the ballot (e.g. “Official Ballot for _________.). The blank should be filled in according to the election for which it will be used. (Example: “Official Ballot for the Spring General Election.”) Below this title shall appear the following instructions for voting:
- Read ballot carefully.
- Mark the blank in front of your choice of candidate(s) or place name(s) of write-in candidate in appropriate space(s).
- Fold the ballot and place it in the appropriate box.
SUB-SECTION 2. A paper ballot constitutional amendment shall appear in the form of a candidate paper ballot with the exception of number two instructions which shall read: “Mark the blank in front of your desired response to the proposed amendment.”
SECTION 6. TABULATION OF ELECTION RESULTS
SUB-SECTION 1. Tabulation of the votes shall be made by the Special Election Committee,on a typed tabulation sheet completely separate from any and all ballots.
SUB-SECTION 2. The Special Election Committee has the power to determine the validity of a ballot. If the intent of the voter cannot be construed by the combined judgments of the committee, the vote shall not be counted. Each individual section of a ballot shall be counted as a separate vote. The invalidation of one section does not invalidate the entire ballot
SUB-SECTION 3. Ballots shall be counted immediately after the polls close on the final day of voting. This shall be done in the Student Government Office. The office doors shall be locked and only the members of the Special Election Committee shall be present.
SUB-SECTION 4. If the discrepancy between votes cast and voters’signatures is greater than the margin between the winner and the next highest candidate, the election is void.
SECTION 7. POSTING OF ELECTION RESULTS
SUB-SECTION 1. The results of the election shall be posted immediately after the ballots and tabulation sheets have been locked in the chief justice’s office.
SECTION 8. CAMPAIGNING RULES
SUB-SECTION 1 . No campaigning of any nature shall be allowed within the restricted campaigning area as noted on the maps at the end of this Code, except for one campaign flyer, no larger than 8-1/2” x 11”, per candidate, which shall be posted behind the polling area by the chief justice or the SJB members
SECTION 1. An election may be contested if an alleged action caused the vote to show a result different from the one that would have resulted.
SECTION 2. The burden is upon the complainant to prove that the alleged action did cause a result different from the one that would have resulted.
SECTION 3. The procedures for contested election hearings shall be as follows:
A written petition to contest must be filed with the chief justice of the SJB within five (5) class days after the close of the elections including run-offs.
At that time, the SJB shall meet within three (3) class days after receiving the written petition to contest, and the chief justice shall lead this meeting with the chief justice pro-tem as alternate. This meeting shall be a mediation effort with all involved parties present.
The SJB shall have two (2) class days after this meeting to return a written decision to the disputing party. This decision will be final, including whether a replacement election is necessary.
SECTION 4. If an election is contested and voided by the SJB, the Student Government officers shall set new dates for the replacement election.
SECTION 5. If a contested election leads to a replacement election, that election shall be run by the rules set forth in this Code and the Code of Student Life whenever applicable.
AMENDING THE ELECTION CODE
SECTION 1. This Election Code shall be amended upon a 2/3 vote of the West Texas A&M University Student Senate.
Amendments of SB 10808 dated 11/10/08,
incorporated into body of document
Subject to Correction of Clerical Errors