Policy

University Elections - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy applies to the conduct of elections at the University for the elected members of Senate and Academic Board.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Committee means the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee established under section 8 of this policy.

Electoral code means the University of Queensland Electoral Code.

Nominated candidate means a candidate nominated under section 5.5 of the policy.

Part-time academic staff means a part-time academic staff member as defined in the University of Queensland Election of Elected Members of Senate Statute 2014.

Part-time general staff means a part-time general staff member as defined in the University of Queensland Election of Elected Members of Senate Statute 2014

Procedural irregularity means a procedural breach of this policy or the procedures.

Procedures means the University Elections Procedures.

Returning Officer means an appropriately qualified person appointed by the Chief Operating Officer to be the Returning Officer.

Review Committee means the committee that reviews the outcome of a complaint regarding the conduct of an election decided by the Returning Officer.

The Act means the University of Queensland Act 1998.

Voting period means the period from the first day of voting to the last day of voting.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to staff, students, nominated candidates for election and all other persons who are eligible to participate in an election.

4. Policy Statement

The University will conduct elections from time to time as required to elect members of Senate and the Academic Board. Elections are to be conducted pursuant to this policy.

5. Conduct of Elections

5.1 Appointment of Returning Officer

The Chief Operating Officer must appoint an appropriately qualified person to be the Returning Officer. The Returning Officer must not be a person who is more senior than the Chief Operating Officer.

The Returning Officer will be responsible for the conduct of the elections. The Returning Officer may publish, and amend from time to time, an Electoral Code to assist in the conduct of an election.

Subject to the Act and this policy, the Returning Officer’s decision on all matters affecting an election will be final.

5.2 Maintenance of electoral rolls

5.2.1 Electoral rolls for Senate elections

The Returning Officer must endeavor to keep and maintain electoral rolls for Senate elections in the following categories:

  • members of the Academic Board;
  • full-time academic staff and part-time academic staff;
  • full-time general staff and part-time general staff;
  • undergraduate students;
  • postgraduate students; and
  • graduates of the University.

5.2.2 Electoral rolls for Academic Board elections

The Returning Officer must endeavor to keep and maintain electoral rolls for Academic Board elections in the following categories:

  • Professors;
  • Members of non-professorial teaching or research staff employed under a contract with a term of employment of 12 months or more requiring at least 18 hours of work each week at Level A or above;
  • Postgraduate students; and
  • Undergraduate students.

Any person who appears in a section of the Academic Board electoral roll and who has lost, prior to the election, the qualification to be in that category or becomes otherwise disqualified, the Returning Officer must remove that person’s name from the roll or transfer it to the category for which that person is or will be qualified at closure of the relevant roll.

A person may only vote for the category of membership of the Academic Board for which they are on the roll.

5.2.3 Closure and amendment of electoral rolls

The relevant electoral roll closes at 4pm on the nomination date. Any person qualified under sections 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 to be included on a roll, and whose name has not been entered onto that roll, may apply to the Returning Officer before closure of the roll for inclusion on the roll. If the Returning Officer is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to be enrolled, the Returning Officer must enter the person’s name on the appropriate roll.

5.3 Mode of election

Elections will be held by electronic ballot through the electronic voting system. However, the Returning Officer may, in circumstances the Returning Officer considers to be appropriate, issue hard copy ballot papers containing information set out in section 5.7.

At each election the voting must be conducted by secret ballot.

5.4 Notification of election

5.4.1 Senate elections

For Senate elections, the Returning Officer will, where reasonably possible, notify by email all persons on the relevant electoral roll and eligible to vote in the category that an election is to be conducted.

The Returning Officer will also advertise the holding of the Senate election in the following manner:

(a) by a notice maintained on the University’s website; and

(b) for elections under section 15(3)(f) of the Act, by notice in a newspaper published and generally circulating in Queensland.

The notice must be advertised at least 45 days before the start of the relevant voting period and must:

(a) state the number of members to be elected and each category for the election;

(b) invite nominations of persons for election and detail the method for nominating a person;

(c) prescribe a date and time, which shall be no less than 14 days after the day on which nominations were called, by which nominations must be delivered to the Returning Officer.

5.4.2 Academic Board elections

For Academic Board elections, the Returning Officer will, where reasonably possible, notify by email all persons on the relevant electoral roll and eligible to vote in the category that an election is to be conducted.

5.4.3 Voting period

For every election, the Returning Officer will prescribe the voting period, which must be a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 21 days.

5.5 Manner of nominations

To be a candidate, a person must be nominated under this section. Nominations must be:

  • made in the prescribed form approved by the Returning Officer;
  • signed by the candidate and two persons eligible to vote in the category of elected member for which the candidate is standing;
  • contain a statement that the candidate is eligible to be elected;
  • acknowledge that the candidate will comply with the expected standards of behaviour as set out in this policy and the electoral code; and
  • received by the Returning Officer by 4pm on the date prescribed for the receipt of nominations.

Nominations lodged after 4pm on the day prescribed for receipt of nominations will not be accepted.

Where a candidate is eligible for nomination in more than one category in an election, the candidate must:

(a) notify the Returning Officer the category to which the nomination relates; and

(b) only stand in that nominated category.

5.6 Determination of the requirement for a vote

If, when nominations close, the number of candidates equals or is less than the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer may declare the nominated candidates duly elected. In cases where there are still then positions to be filled:

(a) for Senate elections, section 20A of the Act which deals with casual vacancy in the office of an elected member applies; or

(b) for Academic Board elections:

(i) in the case of elected members, the Returning Officer may, after consultation with the President, conduct another election under this policy; or

(ii) in the case of postgraduate and undergraduate members, the Returning Officer must invite the Council of the University of Queensland Union to nominate postgraduate and undergraduate students to fill the vacancies.

If, when nominations close, the number of candidates exceeds the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer must conduct an election by vote.

5.7 Voting procedure

The Returning Officer will, where reasonably possible, make available to each person entitled to vote:

(a) access to the election website that:

  • displays the names of the candidates for election in an order determined by lot drawn by the Returning Officer;
  • does not comment or reflect on candidates or groups of candidates;
  • enables the voter to indicate the voter’s preference/s amongst the candidates;

(b) a notice detailing how to vote prescribing a date and time by which an election vote must be submitted in order to be included in the count of the election;

(c) the candidate’s:

  • occupation; and
  • academic and professional qualifications;

(d) a candidate statement, which may include:

  • a recent photograph of the candidate in a form used in passports; and
  • further information about the candidate in not more than 100 words.

5.8 Voting

To record a vote electronically, a person must visit the election website and follow the instructions to cast a valid vote.

5.9 Scrutineers

The Returning Officer must appoint two persons to be scrutineers for an election.

If a scrutineer fails or refuses to carry out his or her duties under this policy or fails to maintain confidentiality then the conduct of the scrutineer may found a complaint under section 6.1 of this policy but does not invalidate the election to which the person was appointed.

The Returning Officer may, if he or she considers it appropriate in the circumstances, appoint a new person as scrutineer for the election in the place of any scrutineer who fails or refuses to carry out his or her duties.

5.10 Counting of votes

Votes are to be counted by a system of optional preferential voting set out in the procedures.

If, after the counting of all votes:

(a) for elections where one candidate is to be elected as a member of Senate or the Academic Board in a specific category, the candidate who has polled the most number of votes is to be declared elected but if no one person has polled the most number of votes, then the Returning Officer must declare no result from the election and conduct a re-election under section 5.14 of this policy; or

(b) for elections where more than one candidate is to be elected as a member of Senate or the Academic Board in a specific category:

  • the candidates who polled the most number of votes are to be declared elected; and, if there are still vacancies to be filled,
  • the remaining candidates, including those candidates who were excluded during the counting process, are eligible to be candidates in a re-election pursuant to section 5.14 of this policy to fill the remaining vacancies.

5.11 Scrutiny of ballot papers and recording of votes

At the close of voting a printed report of the vote must be conducted in the presence of the Returning Officer. In the presence of the scrutineers who are carrying out their duties, the Returning Officer must examine the reports of the votes cast and the record of the total number of votes cast for each candidate. The Returning Officer and those scrutineers must sign the reports as a true and correct record.

5.12 Declaration of result

The Returning Officer must declare the result of the election by:

(a) giving notice in writing to the candidates of the result of the election;

(b) giving notice in writing to the Vice-Chancellor or, where appropriate, the President of the Academic Board of the names of the elected candidates; and

(c) publishing the names of the elected candidates on the University’s website for a period of 28 days.

5.13 Validity of election

An election is not invalid where there has been:

(a) an inadvertent failure to send an eligible elector any election documents; and

(b) a procedural irregularity, provided that the irregularity was not likely, in the opinion of the Returning Officer, to have affected the result.

5.14 Conduct of re-election

The Returning Officer must conduct a re-election if:

  • in the opinion of the Returning Officer, a procedural irregularity which was likely to have affected the result was identified with the original election; or
  • a re-election under section 5.10 or section 8.2 of this policy.

The Returning Officer must follow the procedure set out below in conducting the re-election:

(a) notify relevant candidates of the requirement to conduct a re-election;

(b) inform the relevant candidates that they may withdraw their nomination at any time before commencement of the voting period;

(c) notify all persons on the relevant electoral roll of the re-election by –

  • where reasonably possible, email to each person eligible to vote in the category; and
  • a notice on the University’s website; and

(d) follow the voting procedure set out in section 5.7 in the conduct of the re-election.

Sections 5.8 to and including 5.12 apply to any re-election with any necessary modifications due to the fact that it is a re-election.

5.15 Retention and disposal of election records

After the declaration of the result of an election, the Returning Officer must retain printed copies of the electronic records of voting for the period of time required by the Public Records Act 2002, after which time the Returning Officer must destroy or delete the electronic records.

6. Complaints

6.1 Complaint to Returning Officer

A person may lodge a complaint with the Returning Officer about the way an election has been conducted or about the behaviour of individuals (including a candidate) during an election.  The procedures prescribe how an individual makes a complaint.

6.2 Complaint about the Returning Officer

A person may lodge a complaint about the conduct of the Returning Officer during an election under HUPP 1.60.9 Complaints Management Policy.

In the event of any uncertainty about whether a complaint falls under section 6.1 or section 6.2, the Chief Operating Officer will decide which is the appropriate section.

6.3 Internal review

A person may apply to a Review Committee for a review of the outcome of their complaint decided by the Returning Officer under section 6.1. The Review Committee comprises the Provost, the Chief Operating Officer and another member appointed by the Vice-Chancellor. The procedures prescribe how a person may apply for a review. The decision of the Review Committee with respect to the outcome of a review of a complaint is final.

7. Compliance with Electoral Code

Nominated candidates must comply with the electoral code, as amended from time to time.

If, in the opinion of the Returning Officer, a nominated candidate is found to have failed to comply with the electoral code, the Returning Officer may –

(a) issue a written warning to the candidate; or

(b) refer the candidate's conduct to the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee for determination.

8. Ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

8.1 Constitution of the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

If an allegation of a breach of the electoral code is referred to the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee for consideration, the Chancellor must appoint three (3) external Senators to be members of the Committee to hear the allegations, one of whom is appointed as the chairperson.

The Chief Operating Officer may appoint a person to act as secretary to the Committee.

8.2 Power of ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

If a breach of the electoral code is referred to the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee by the Returning Officer, the Committee must conduct a hearing pursuant to the procedures set out in section 8.3 of this policy. The Committee may take any of the following action which it considers to be appropriate in the circumstances for breaches of the electoral code:

(a) give a written warning to the candidate;

(b) cancel a candidate’s nomination;

(c) invalidate a candidate's election.

If the Committee decides to invalidate the election of a candidate as a result of a breach of the electoral code, that candidate is not permitted to stand in any re-election.

The Committee's decision is final.

8.3 Procedure for ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

When dealing with a referral from the Returning Officer of a breach of the electoral code, the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee must proceed to consider the breach in the way the chairperson of the Committee decides, but it must observe the following requirements:

(a) the secretary of the Committee must give the candidate notice at least 5 business days before the date of the hearing of the time and place of the hearing;

(b) the University and the candidate are entitled to be represented by a legally qualified person; and

(c) the Committee must determine whether a breach of the electoral code occurred on the basis of evidence adduced by the University and the candidate.

8.4 Basis for decision

In considering a breach of the electoral code, the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee must make a decision based on sound reasoning and relevant evidence.

8.5 Relationship with other policies/procedures

Any action under section 8 of this policy does not prevent the University from taking action against a candidate for a breach of any other University requirements, for example, the Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy.

Custodians
Chief Operating Officer
Mr Greg Pringle

Procedures

University Elections - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures prescribe certain detail associated with the conduct of Senate and Academic Board elections.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Nominated candidates means a candidate nominated under section 5.5 of the policy.

Policy means the University Elections Policy.

Returning Officer means the person appointed by the Chief Operating Officer under section 5.1 of the policy.

Review Committee means a committee established under section 6.3 of the policy.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to staff, students, nominated candidates for election and all other persons who are eligible to participate in an election.

4. Electoral Rolls

Electoral Rolls maintained under section 5.2 of the policy may contain the following particulars:

  • full name;
  • qualification for inclusion on the roll (if relevant);
  • an electronic address for service of notices, which in the case of a member of staff, is the staff member’s email account;
  • other particulars prescribed by the Returning Officer.

5. Electoral Code

The Returning Officer may publish, and amend from time to time, an Electoral Code pursuant to section 5.1 of the policy.

6. Counting Votes

Votes are to be counted by a system of optional preferential voting as set out in these procedures.

The Returning Officer may reject a vote or ballot form if satisfied that it was submitted by a person not eligible to vote.

6.1 Counting votes – one elected member

For elections where one candidate is to be elected as a member of Senate or the Academic Board, votes are counted as follows:

(a) Each vote is of equal value.

(b) If there are two candidates, the one with the most first preferences is elected.

(c) If there are more than two candidates, the Returning Officer must exclude the candidate with the least number of first preferences and distribute each of their votes to the candidate who:

  • is not yet eliminated; and
  • has been accorded the next highest preference.

(d) If there are two or more candidates with the same least number of first preference votes under paragraph (c), the Returning Officer must exclude those candidates and distribute each of their votes to the candidate who:

  • is not yet eliminated; and
  • has been accorded the next highest preference.

(e) The Returning Officer must eliminate votes that cannot be distributed under paragraph (c).

(f) When a vote is distributed, the Returning Officer must treat it as a first preference.

(g) The Returning Officer must repeat the process under paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) until all but two candidates remain. The candidate with the most first preferences is elected.

6.2 Counting votes – more than one elected member

For elections where more than one candidate is to be elected as a member of Senate or the Academic Board in a specific category, votes are counted as follows:

(a) Each vote is of equal value.

(b) If there are more candidates than the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer must exclude the one with the least number of first preferences and distribute their vote to the candidate who:

  • is not yet eliminated; and
  • has been accorded the next highest preference.

(c) If there are two or more candidates with the same least number of first preference votes under paragraph (b), the Returning Officer must exclude those candidates and distribute each of their votes to the candidate who:

  • is not yet eliminated; and
  • has been accorded the next highest preference.

(d) The Returning Officer must eliminate votes that cannot be distributed under paragraph (b).

(e) When a vote is distributed, the Returning Officer must treat it as a first preference.

(f) The Returning Officer must repeat the process under paragraph (b), (c), and (d) until all but the number of candidates equals the number of positions to be filled.  Each candidate remaining under this paragraph is elected.

7. Complaints

7.1 Complaint to Returning Officer

A person may lodge a complaint with the Returning Officer about the way an election has been conducted or about the behaviour of individuals (including a candidate) during an election. Complaints must be made by an individual and cannot be made on behalf of a group of individuals. All complaints must be made in writing to the Returning Officer at uqelections@uq.edu.au.

The Returning Officer will acknowledge the complaint, investigate and reach a decision as soon as practicable.

7.2 Internal Review

A person may apply to a Review Committee for a review of the outcome of their complaint decided by the Returning Officer under section 7.1. An application for review must be made in writing to the Chief Operating Officer at coo@uq.edu.au.

The Chief Operating Officer will acknowledge the review on behalf of the Review Committee. The Review Committee must undertake a review of the Returning Officer’s decision as soon as practicable. The Review Committee’s decision with respect to the outcome of a review of a complaint is final.

Custodians
Chief Operating Officer
Mr Greg Pringle

Forms

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Custodians
Chief Operating Officer
Mr Greg Pringle
Custodians
Chief Operating Officer
Mr Greg Pringle