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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 14 November 2016.

(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 non-University bodies 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) In accordance with Regulation 7.1(1) — Elections:

  1. a Returning Officer will be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor for each election
  2. the Returning Officer may appoint a Deputy Returning Officer for the election.

(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 9 and 35.

Notice of election

(8) Subject to clause 9, 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 he or she 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 adhere to the University regulations and policies either by:

  1. confirming the accuracy of the notice him or herself; or
  2. receiving written confirmation from the Deputy Returning Officer that the notice is accurate.

(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 10 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) If the nominee is an eligible nominee the Returning Officer will advise the person in writing that he or she is accepted as a candidate in the election as soon as practicable and no later than five (5) working days after the close of nominations.

(13) If the nominee is not an eligible nominee the Returning Officer will advise the person in writing that he or she is not accepted as a candidate in the election and the reason why he or she is ineligible. Where possible, 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.

(14) A candidate may withdraw their nomination in writing to the Returning Officer up to the opening of the poll where relevant.

Candidate statements

(15) A candidate may provide a statement for publication on the elections website in support of his or her candidacy up to a specified word limit (normally 250 words) as part of his or her nomination.

(16) The Returning Officer may request a candidate to amend the statement if, in the opinion of the Returning Officer, it contains inappropriate information. If the candidate refuses to amend the statement the Returning Officer may withhold the statement from publication.

(17) Statements in excess of the word limit will be shortened by the Returning Officer prior to publication.

Declarations of nominations and notice of poll

(18) Within five (5) working days of the end of the nominations period, the Returning Officer will publish a list of eligible nominations on the elections website.

(19) 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. The Returning Officer may make a subsequent call for nominations where vacancies have remained unfilled.

(20) 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.

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

  1. the dates during which the poll will be open, which must be at least five (5) working days
  2. the names of the candidates in alphabetical order and links to their candidate statements where applicable
  3. instructions to eligible voters about how to vote using the University's elections website.

Eligible voters and nominees

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

(23) Before publishing the notice of the election the Returning Officer must ensure that the eligibility criteria meet the requirements of any relevant University regulations.

(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 his or her 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) Allegations that a candidate has engaged in improper campaigning will be investigated in accordance with the complaints procedure set out at clauses 36 to 39.

Counting of votes

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

(31) Votes must be counted within five (5) working days of the close of the poll.

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

(33) 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

(34) Subject to clause 35 the Returning Officer will publish a declaration of poll stating the name/s of the successful candidates within two (2) working days after the counting of the votes.

(35) 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

(36) Complaints should be lodged with the Returning Officer as soon as possible following the event occasioning the complaint.

(37) The Returning Officer is responsible for the conduct of the elections and has these powers for addressing complaints:

  1. to investigate the complaint and make the inquiries that he or she considers warranted in the circumstances
  2. to dismiss the complaint and provide reasons for the dismissal
  3. 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 as a result of serious or repeated misconduct in the campaign such as maligning another candidate or candidates and relay 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.

(38) In considering a complaint of a breach of Regulation 7.1 (1) Elections and this Procedure, the Returning Officer must make a decision based on sound reasoning and relevant evidence and within a timeframe that is reasonable in the circumstances raised.

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

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

(40) 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 and will be recorded as 'disqualified' in the results of the election.

(41) 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.

(42) 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 Staff Complaints, Disputes and Grievances procedure.

Non material irregularities and adjustments for technical issues

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

(44) 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

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

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

(46) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Candidate: an eligible nominee standing for election.
  2. Deputy Returning Officer: the person appointed by the Returning Officer to assist in the conduct of the particular election and to carry out the duties of the Returning Officer in accordance with this procedure
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Notice: the notice of the election published by the Returning Officer.
  6. Returning Officer: the person appointed to conduct a particular election by the Vice-Chancellor.
  7. 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.