By-Laws for the Regulation of Elections and Referenda
I. Election Officials – Chief Returning Officer Hiring Procedure
a. A hiring committee shall be struck consisting of:
i. The Executive Committee.
ii. Members of Council
b. The President shall chair the meetings
c. The C.R.O. shall be selected by application
II. Chief Returning Officer’s Role and Responsibilities
a. All elections and referenda shall be conducted by a Chief Returning Officer (C.R.O.).
b. The C.R.O. shall have final authority on all decisions pertaining to elections and referenda.
c. The appointment of Deputy Returning Officer(s) (D.R.O.):
i. In the case of General Elections a minimum of two (2) D.R.O. will be hired.
ii. In the case of referenda a minimum of one D.R.O. will be hired.
d. The instruction and supervision of D.R.O.
e. The instruction and supervision of other employees as required.
f. Requesting official list of electors from Concordia University.
g. Acceptance and verification of nomination papers from candidates.
h. Ensuring staff has appropriate resources during election/referenda voting period.
i. The official tabulation of votes.
j. The presentation of a written, detailed report to the Council within seven (7) days of announcing the final winning candidates.
III. Elections Judicial Committee
a. An Elections Judicial Committee pool shall be appointed by Council prior to the hiring of the C.R.O..
b. The Elections Judicial Committee shall be the highest and final adjudicating authority for any and all issues concerning the elections.
c. This Committee pool shall be composed of:
i. Members of the Executive Committee who are not candidates in the election.
ii. Four (4) Council members who are not candidates in the election.
iii. At no point in time shall this Committee have less than five (5) or more than nine (9) members.
iv. Quorum for a meeting shall be five (5) members.
v. In the event all members of the Council and/or the Executive are running for re-election, the Council shall advertise among the membership to fill this committee.
vi. The President shall chair these meetings in an ex-officio capacity save in matters of a hung committee in which case he/she shall cast the deciding vote.
d. The Committee’s role shall be to adjudicate in matters:
i. Where the C.R.O. specifically requests their aid in resolving an issue.
ii. Where a candidate wishes to appeal a decision made by the C.R.O..
e. The committee shall convene within forty-eight (48) hours of a written request being sent to the President, except in the last three days of the campaign period when they shall convene within twenty-four (24) hours.
f. The C.R.O. and/or the candidate have the right to present to the Committee for a period not exceeding twenty (20) minutes each.
g. The committee shall then assess the evidence and render a decision along with appropriate sanctions.
h. The C.R.O. is bound to enact all decisions of the Elections Judicial Committee.
i. All candidates shall agree to abide by all sanctions imposed by the Elections Judicial Committee to disregard sanctions is cause for disqualification.
IV. Chief Returning Officer Remuneration
a. The C.R.O. and other election officials shall be remunerated in accordance with a contract between the C.R.O. and the G.S.A. as represented by the President.
b. Failure to complete the tasks outlined in this document shall be considered grounds for dismissal. In the case of early dismissal the C.R.O. shall only be paid for time worked, as per the stipulations of the contract.
c. The Executive Committee can recommend dismissal, which Council must ratify. The C.R.O. will be considered suspended without pay during this period.
d. Council and the Executive Committee shall agree upon remuneration prior to the hiring of the C.R.O., aforementioned contract shall be offered immediately upon selection of C.R.O..
V. Notice for Nominations
a. The nomination period shall run for no less than five (5) business days prior to the verification and acceptance period.
b. The nomination period shall be advertised as follows:
i. E-mail to all members using the most current address on file with Concordia University.
ii. Any other method the C.R.O. deems necessary
c. The notification of nominating period shall include the following information:
i. The closing date for nominations.
ii. Availability of nomination forms.
iii. Nomination requirements as outlined in General By-Laws.
iv. Any other information the C.R.O. deems necessary.
d. All other issues concerning nominations shall be governed by the General By-Laws
e. If the situation is not addressed and is not resolvable by the C.R.O. she/he shall address the matter with the Elections Committee as outlined in Section III.
VI. Certification of Nominations
a. All nominations deposited that meet the stipulations set forth in the General By-Laws shall be reviewed by the C.R.O. as follows:
i. The nominee meets candidacy criteria as set forth in the General By-Laws.
ii. That members supporting a candidate’s nomination also meet eligibility requirements.
iii. Each Director’s candidate nomination form shall be signed by a minimum of seven (7) G.S.A. members in good standing.
iv. Each Executive candidate’s nomination form shall be signed by ten (10) G.S.A. members in good standing of which at least two (2) Faculties (Engineering, John Molson School of Business, Fine Arts, Independent, SIP, and/or Arts and Science) must be represented.
VII. Test of Eligibility
a. All candidates will sign a waiver form allowing the C.R.O. to inquire as to their current student status through the Dean of Students or other relevant Concordia University officials. Only information relevant to the candidate’s nomination shall be requested and all information shall be treated as confidential.
VIII. Disqualification – Nomination Period
a. All candidates who fail to meet Nomination criteria as outlined in Article VI or in the General By-Laws shall be subject to disqualification.
b. The C.R.O. shall notify the candidate by the e-mail address and telephone number given on nomination form of the reason for failing the test of eligibility.
c. The candidate will have forty-eight (48) hours from the time of the notification being sent to rectify the situation. Failure to do so will result in the disqualification of the candidate.
d. The C.R.O. shall post a complete list of all names, including those who have not met the criteria who shall be noted as “pending certification” appended to their candidacy, on the G.S.A. website at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the beginning of the campaign period.
e. All challenges to the list from the membership must be received within this forty-eight (48) hour period in writing or via e-mail with a clear statement of reason(s) for the eligibility challenge.
IX. Notice of Elections
a. Notice of Election period shall be sent as follows:
i. On the close of nomination period to candidates.
ii. On the opening day of the election period to all members via e-mail and posters to be placed in the G.S.A. place of business and the front halls of the libraries on both campuses at minimum, as well as any other local Council deems necessary. This e-mail and poster will include:
1. Candidate’s names, Faculty and department, and positions they are contesting.
2. Those candidates who have won by acclamation and their position.
3. The date polling stations will open and close and hours of operation.
4. The location of polling stations.
5. The eligibility requirements and identification required to vote.
6. A direct contact for the C.R.O. should there be any inquiries.
X. Campaigning Period
a. Campaigning by and for candidates shall be permitted during the campaign period, including the days the polling stations are open for voting.
b. Candidates are strictly prohibited from campaigning on the floor of the Polling Stations.
XI. Campaign Expenses and Reimbursement
a. Each candidate shall be limited to a total reimbursable expenditure of $75 (Cdn.).
b. All campaigns shall be self-financed. No external organization or individual non-member shall contribute to the financing, directly or indirectly, of any portion of a candidate’s campaign costs. This also includes any costs associated with post-election appeals.
c. The total expenditure for all campaign costs per candidate shall not exceed $250 (Cdn.).
i. Three days prior to the opening of poll stations all candidates shall provide an itemized budget with receipts to the C.R.O..
d. Each candidate shall be reimbursed for this amount, subject to the verification of receipts provided to the current Council of Directors.
XII. Campaign Materials
a. All campaign materials prior to distribution shall be approved by the C.R.O. This includes any and all:
i. Printed materials
ii. Electronic communications, including e-mail, personal websites and other external websites.
iii. Any other form of communication not outlined within.
b. All candidates are responsible personally for:
i. The form and content of all written material pertaining to their campaign.
ii. Any and all electronic communications sent on their behalf.
c. Materials and/or methods of communications utilized by candidates or their agents shall not be employed in such a manner as to deprive other candidates equal opportunity to conduct their campaigns.
XIII. Candidate Campaigning Rules
a. Candidates for all positions have the right to run individually or in concert with other candidates (slate).
b. Slates may pool financial resources.
c. All candidates must clearly state in writing that they are part of a slate/group prior to the close of the nomination period.
i. Any additions/deletions to slates must be provided in writing and electronically to the C.R.O. during the campaign period.
ii. No additions or deletions will be allowed in the last five (5) days of the campaign period.
iii. No individual can be supported by any other individual or slate without providing their express written consent to the C.R.O.
XIV. Candidate Disqualification
a. Candidates shall be disqualified for the following reasons:
i. Not adhering to all regulations stipulated in both the Election and the General By-Laws.
ii. Not adhering to the sanctions prescribed by the Elections Judicial Committee.
iii. Any personal conduct towards an election official or any G.S.A. member that breaches Concordia University’s code of rights and responsibilities.
XV. Ballots and Ballot Boxes
a. All ballots and ballot boxes shall be of a style and manufacture approved by the C.R.O.
b. The number of ballots prepared shall be equal to 100% of the total number of graduate students who voted at Concordia University or 10% of each faculty’s gross total as determined by the Dean of Students office.
c. Ballots shall be numbered from one (1) upwards and the total number of ballots so numbered shall be recorded and sent to the current members of Council and the Executive Committee.
d. Ballots as part of a mail-in ballot campaign to be conducted if the election period falls after the last day of classes in the Winter session shall be addressed directly to the C.R.O. and have clearly written the name, student identification number, and Faculty of the voter.
e. A new ballot box shall be used at each station daily if deemed necessary. At the close of each polling day the box shall be collected by the C.R.O. or his designated representative to be stored in a locked facility on-campus. The ballot boxes shall only be accessed by election officials or a member of Concordia Security.
f. Each day the ballot box will be clearly marked as follows:
i. The polling station number.
ii. The date.
iii. The signatures of the employees working at the Polling Station
iv. The signature of the C.R.O. or their designated representative.
g. If a candidate is directly affiliated with a slate the slate’s name shall appear after the candidate’s name on all ballots as per the provisions of Article XIII.
XVI. Voting Procedures
a. Only members of the Concordia Graduate Students Association shall be eligible to vote.
b. In order to prove eligibility the voter must:
i. Have their name appear on the eligible voter list.
ii. Provide a valid Concordia graduate student identification card with photo.
c. If the voter’s name does not appear on the voter list they may contact the C.R.O. directly who will verify their status.
i. If the voter in question is eligible the C.R.O. will instruct them to return to a polling station whereby they will cast their vote.
d. The procedure for voting in person after verification of eligibility shall be as follows:
i. The election official will run a clear line through the voter’s name on the eligible voter’s list.
ii. The voter will then be provided with one ballot and make their selections for Executive positions and their Faculty representative.
iii. The completed ballot will be deposited in the ballot box by the voter.
e. The procedure for a mail-in ballot campaign, which shall be conducted if the election period falls after the last day of classes in the winter term, shall be as follows:
i. The C.R.O. shall request a list of all full-time Graduate students which will include the following information:
1. The given and family name of the member
2. Their complete local address if provided or complete permanent home address if this is not available.
3. Their student identification number.
4. Their Faculty and program of study.
ii. The ballot shall have a portion where the student can clearly indicate their student identification number, full name they used at registration, and their Faculty.
iii. The letter shall clearly indicate what Director they are eligible to vote for.
iv. The voter shall return the ballot in a postage-paid envelope provided by the G.S.A..
v. The postage-paid envelope shall be clearly addressed to the C.R.O..
vi. The C.R.O. and one other election official shall collect the mail-in ballots on a daily basis (business days only) from the Concordia mail house and place them in a secure ballot box clearly marked Mail-In Ballots to be kept in a secure location on-campus but not in the G.S.A. house.
vii. At the close of election period these ballots will be opened and counted with ballots cast in person. It is assumed that if the member in question appeared on the initial list provided by the Dean of Students they will have met all eligibility requirements.
f. Election Officials, C.R.O. and D.R.O. will not be eligible to vote in the election.
g. All eligible voters may only vote once.
XVII. Polling Station Regulations
a. The C.R.O. shall cause to be established as many Polling Stations as deemed required with the following as suggested requirements unless requested to change by current Executive Committee or at the determination of the C.R.O.:
i. Four Polling stations on the Sir George Williams Campus
1. The entrance of the Webster Library.
2. The main entrance of the Hall Building.
3. The main entrance of the John Molson School of Business (upon its opening for general use)
4. The main entrance of the Engineering and Visual Arts Building (EV).
ii. Three Polling stations on the Loyola Campus
1. The entrance of the Vanier Library.
2. The main entrance of the Administration Building (AD)
3. The main entrance of the Richard Renaud Science Building.
b. The Polling Stations shall be equipped and staffed as follows:
i. Two election officials.
ii. The ballot box as outlined in Section XI.
iii. Sufficient supplies for officials to perform their duties.
iv. A copy of the eligible voter list.
v. Voting Booths
c. No other materials shall be permitted whatsoever in the polling station except as follows:
i. Non-Partisan signs identifying the station
ii. The personal effects of the election officials
iii. Other items as deemed necessary by the C.R.O..
d. The Polling Stations shall be open for a period of at least of two (2) consecutive days, excluding Saturday and Sunday from 9am-9pm or if over three days at the discretion of the C.R.O.
XVIII. Determination of Results
a. Candidates who have no competition for a position shall be acclaimed to the position at the close of the nomination period. Their names shall not appear on ballots.
b. At the close of the final day of voting, all ballot boxes shall be sealed and placed in a secure location as determined by the C.R.O..
c. Counting of ballots shall occur within seventy-two (72) hours of the close of polling stations.
d. Unused ballots shall be placed in a secure location for destruction prior to the results being tallied.
e. The Recording Board to count ballots shall be comprised of the following:
i. The C.R.O.
ii. Any D.R.O. hired.
iii. Two election officials who have worked a minimum of one day at a Polling Station. All members of the Recording Board must remain present for the entire procedure.
g. Candidates are allowed to be present during counting of votes but cannot in any manner interfere with the process.
h. The C.R.O. or any member of the Recording board shall have the right to ask a candidate to leave if their actions are deemed to interfere with the process. If the candidate does not leave immediately this action shall constitute grounds for disqualification.
i. Candidate(s) for the Executive positions who receive the highest number of votes in each instance shall be declared the winner.
j. Candidates for Director positions will be declared the winner on the basis of number of votes received in descending order until all positions are filled.
k. Ballots shall be considered spoiled if:
i. It is lacking either the voter’s name or student identification number.
ii. The voter has defaced the ballot to the point it is illegible.
iii. The voter has voted for a Director outside of their faculty.
iv. The voter has not voted for any candidate.
l. The voter is not required to vote for all positions and may choose to only vote for a partial number of positions.
m. Spoiled ballots shall be placed aside. If they constitute more than five percent (5%) of the total ballots cast, the Recording Board shall reconsider each ballot again for eligibility. Those who remain spoiled shall be removed from the counting and placed in a sealed ballot box and treated in the same fashion as non-spoiled ballots.
n. In the event of a tie vote, all votes shall be recounted by different members of the Recording Board.
i. If the result is still a tie a third count will be performed by the C.R.O.
ii. If the result after the third counting remains tied, the C.R.O. shall determine the winner by flipping a coin in the presence of all members of the Recording Board and the candidates in question within seventy-two (72) hours of the last count. A candidate may waive their right to be present or nominate one (1) proxy, however their absence does not constitute a right to appeal the result.
o. After the final count, all ballots shall be locked in one ballot box and kept in the Dean of Students Office, or other secure facility, for a period of forty-five (45) calendar days at which point they shall be destroyed unless a recount/contestation has been filed.
p. All results will be made public within seventy-two (72) hours after the count has been finished by the Recording Board.
XIX. Contestation of Election Results
a. Election results may only be contested in the 72-hour period following the posting of results.
b. Only the following grounds may be used as a basis for contestation:
i. Documented proof members of the Recording Board acted in a manner that benefitted one candidate over another.
ii. Documented proof of direct, personal coercion of members during the voting process.
iii. Documented proof of a minimum of ten (10), or 2% of the total number of valid votes cast, cases of voter ineligibility.
iv. Documented proof of the ineligibility of one, or more, of the successful candidates.
c. In the case of all contestation the C.R.O. will convene a session of the Elections Judicial Board to assess the case and render decision.
i. Their decision shall be to uphold or reject the contestation.
ii. Their decision will be final and binding.