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Elections Procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 5 August 2014 and incorporates all amendments to 30 June 2017.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Regulation 7.1(1) - Elections and has the following schedule:

  1. Schedule A: Counting of Votes.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure sets out the steps to conduct elections with fairness and integrity in accordance with Regulation 7.1(1) - Elections.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies throughout the University to elections among staff and students to University bodies, including the University Council, Academic Board and Faculty Boards. It does not apply to elections to bodies independent of the University such as the Deakin University Student Association (DUSA).

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to Regulation 7.1(1) - Elections.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Returning Officer and Deputy Returning Officer

(6) The Council Secretary is the University’s Returning Officer and may appoint a Deputy Returning Officer for an election or series of elections.

(7) Where a Deputy Returning Officer has been appointed all references in this procedure to the Returning Officer apply to the Deputy Returning Officer except as set out in clauses 38 and 45.

Notice of election

(8) When an election is to be held the Returning Officer will publish a notice on the University's election website and such other places as the Returning Officer considers appropriate to publicise the election.

(9) Before the notice of election is published the Returning Officer must ensure that the eligibility requirements for candidature and voting conform with University regulations and policies.

(10) The notice of election must:

  1. announce that an election is to be held for positions on the University body concerned
  2. provide contact details for the Returning Officer
  3. specify the terms of office of the position or positions
  4. specify the eligibility requirements for candidature and voting
  5. specify the process and format for lodging a nomination
  6. specify the period of time during which nominations must be lodged, which will be at least ten working days.

Nominations

(11) Nominations must be made by the nominee (i.e. self-nomination) in accordance with the format specified in the notice of election.

(12) Nominations which do not conform to the specified format or which are incomplete will not be accepted and the nominee will not be accepted as a candidate in the election. Where practicable the Returning Officer will advise nominees to provide any missing information prior to the close of nominations.

(13) If the nominee is an eligible nominee the Returning Officer will advise the person that they are accepted as a candidate in the election as soon as practicable and no later than five working days after the close of nominations.

(14) If the nominee is not an eligible nominee the Returning Officer will advise the person in writing and the reason for the ineligibility. Where practicable, the Returning Officer will provide this advice before the close of nominations so that, where there are applicable circumstances, the person has the opportunity to make an eligible nomination.

(15) A candidate may withdraw their nomination up to the notification of poll.

Candidate statements

(16) A candidate must provide a statement for publication on the elections website in support of their candidacy up to a word limit specified in the notice of election.

(17) The Returning Officer may request a candidate to amend the statement if, in the opinion of the Returning Officer, it contains inappropriate content and may withhold that content from publication if the candidate refuses to amend the statement.

(18) Statements in excess of the word limit specified in the notice of election will be shortened by the Returning Officer prior to publication.

Declarations of nominations and notice of poll

(19) Within five working days of the end of the nominations period, the Returning Officer will publish a list of eligible nominations on the elections website

(20) Where the number of nominations received is fewer or equal to the number of vacancies the Returning Officer must declare the nominated candidate or candidates elected.

(21) Where no eligible nominations are received for elected student positions, students may be co-opted to the positions in accordance with Regulation 7.1(1) - Elections. Where another position or positions remain unfilled the Returning Officer will make at least one subsequent call for nominations. If the position continues to be unfilled it may remain vacant or be filled in accordance with the regulation governing the relevant University body.

(22) Where the number of nominations in any category exceeds the number of vacancies, the Returning Officer must publish a notice on the election website that a poll will be conducted. The notice will include:

  1. the dates during which the poll will be open, which must be for at least five working days and will not normally coincide with examination or holiday weeks
  2. the names of the candidates and links to their candidate statements
  3. instructions to eligible voters about how to vote using the University's e-elections system.

Eligible voters and nominees

(23) The Returning Officer must publish the eligibility criteria for nomination and voting in the notice of election.

(24) Where no relevant eligibility criteria is set out in any relevant regulation the following applies:

  1. Staff members will be eligible to vote, or to make a nomination or to be nominated only if they hold appointments of 12 months or more, at 0.5 time fraction or more
  2. Students will be eligible to vote, or to make a nomination or to be nominated only if they are enrolled students on the date on which the notice of the election is published, and they are not full-time employees of the University.

(25) The Returning Officer is responsible for advising the eligibility criteria for an election and requesting the list of eligible voters from the Human Resources Division for staff elections and the Division of Student Administration for student elections.

(26) The Human Resources Division and Division of Student Administration are responsible for providing complete and accurate lists of eligible voters of staff and students respectively.

(27) An eligible voter may vote once only in any poll and must not vote on behalf of another voter or allow another voter to vote on their behalf.

Campaigning

(28) Campaigning activities by candidates must conform to the behaviours and principles set out in the Codes of Conduct for Staff and Students.

(29) Candidates and their supporters must not:

  1. put abroad untrue, defamatory or discriminatory statements
  2. malign other candidates
  3. disrupt classes or study areas with campaigning
  4. issue any form of enticement to voters
  5. interfere with voters, including by overseeing them cast their votes on the e-election system
  6. engage in any form of harassment or intimidation.

(30) Allegations that a candidate has engaged in improper campaigning will be investigated in accordance with the complaints procedure set out at clauses 39 to 45.

Casting of votes

(31) Voters will cast votes using the University’s e-election system. Candidates will be listed on the voting form in alphabetical order by surname.

(32) Voting will be conducted confidentially so that the identity of individual voters and the casting of their votes will remain confidential.

Counting of votes

(33) Votes will be counted electronically using the optional preferential system in accordance with Schedule A: Counting of Votes.

(34) Votes must be counted within five working days of the close of the poll.

(35) The Returning Officer must oversee the electronic counting of votes.

(36) Candidates may appoint a scrutineer to liaise with the Returning Officer about the electronic counting of votes. The Returning Officer must respond as soon as possible to any requests for information by candidates or scrutineers about the electronic counting of votes to confirm the integrity of the election.

Declaration of poll

(37) Subject to clause 38 the Returning Officer will publish a declaration of poll stating the name/s of the successful candidates within two working days after the counting of the votes.

(38) Where a Deputy Returning Officer has been appointed he or she must obtain the approval of the Returning Officer to publish the declaration of poll by confirming in writing that the poll has been duly conducted and concluded in accordance with this procedure.

Complaints about the conduct of elections

(39) Complaints about breaches of Regulation 7.1(1) – Elections or this procedure should be lodged with the Returning Officer as soon as possible following the event occasioning the complaint.

(40) In considering a complaint the Returning Officer must make a decision based on sound reason and relevant evidence and within a timeframe that is reasonable in the circumstances. The Returning Officer has the following powers for addressing complaints:

  1. to investigate the complaint and make the inquiries that he or she considers warranted in the circumstances
  2. to convene an ad hoc committee to consider the outcomes of an investigation where he or she considers this is warranted by the circumstances
  3. to dismiss the complaint and provide reasons for the dismissal
  4. to uphold the complaint and take one or more of the following actions, depending on the circumstances:
    1. issue a formal warning to a candidate or a candidate's supporters
    2. place restrictions on campaigning
    3. disqualify a candidate from the election and convey that decision in writing, including reasons
    4. void an election or an election result where the conduct of the election or election campaign has lacked fairness or integrity.

(41) Where the Returning Officer disqualifies a candidate or candidates, the Returning Officer must decide whether to:

  1. declare the election invalid; or
  2. continue with the election where satisfied that it is fair and reasonable to do so.

(42) Where the Returning Officer determines to continue with the election, all votes cast in the election will be counted, including those for the disqualified candidate or candidates, but the disqualified candidate or candidates will be ineligible to be elected.

(43) A declaration to invalidate an election must:

  1. be in writing and communicated to all candidates and the electorate
  2. provide reasons for the declaration
  3. provide advice on the arrangements for the election to be conducted afresh.

(44) A decision of the Returning Officer arising from the investigation of a complaint is final. This does not preclude action under:

  1. the Codes of Conduct for Staff and Students
  2. the Students Complaints Resolution Policy and Student Complaints Resolution Procedure
  3. the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017.

(45) If a Deputy Returning Officer is the subject of a complaint, the complaint will be escalated to the Returning Officer. If the Returning Officer is the subject of a complaint the complaint will be escalated to the Vice-Chancellor or nominee in accordance with Regulation 7.1(1) – Elections.

Non material irregularities and adjustments for technical issues

(46) An election is valid notwithstanding a procedural irregularity which in the opinion of the Returning Officer would not have affected the result.

(47) In the event of a technical failure the Returning Officer may make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the failure, including but not limited to extending the ballot closing time. The application of reasonable adjustments does not affect the validity of an election.

Record keeping

(48) The Returning Officer must ensure that records are made and maintained on:

  1. the conduct of the election in accordance with this procedure; and
  2. the tallying of votes and outcome of the election.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(49) For the purpose of this procedure:

  1. candidate: an eligible nominee standing for election
  2. eligible nominee: a person who is eligible to be elected to a University Body in a specific election in accordance with the terms of reference applicable to the University Body and as stated in the Notice
  3. eligible voter: a person who is entitled to vote in a specific election in accordance with the terms of reference applicable to the University body and as stated in the Notice
  4. notice: the notice of the election published by the Returning Officer
  5. University body: University Council, the Academic Board, Faculty Boards, Institute Boards and their committees, and such other boards and committees as the University may from time to time establish.