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Election Policy and Procedures

 

Approving Authority:

Council

Establishment Date:

12 August 2004

Date Last Amendment:

October 2010

Nature of Amendment:

Consequential amendments arising from a restructure of Central Administration/VC's office and the creation of new senior executive positions replacing the EDA and Registrar

Date Last Reviewed:

 

Publication Reference:

 

Responsible Officer:

Secretary of the Council



1 Preamble

Council has established the policy and procedures contained herein to provide for the conduct of elections for academic and general staff members and student members of Council, in accordance with the Flinders University of South Australia Act 1966.

2 Definitions

In this policy, unless some other meaning is clearly intended:
 
'academic staff' means:

(a) those employees of the University who are classified by the Council as members of the academic staff;

(b) such other persons, being persons who carry out academic functions at the University, as are classified by the Council as members of the academic staff;'

' Act' or ‘the Act’ means The Flinders University of South Australia Act 1966.

'appointed day' means the day appointed by the Council for the holding of an election.

‘Droop formula’ means the formula first published in 1868 by mathematician and lawyer, Henry R Droop as used for all single transferable vote (STV) systems in Australia with reference to the method of calculating the quota.

'extraordinary election' means an election to fill a vacancy which may occur by death, resignation or otherwise.

'general staff' means those employees of the University who are classified by the Council as members of the general staff.

'ordinary election' means an election of two members of the academic staff or general staff to serve two year terms under Section 5(3)(f) and 5(3)(g) of the Act or an election to choose the three student members to serve one year terms under Section 5(3)(h) of the Act

'postgraduate student' means a student enrolled at the University in a course designated by the Council as a postgraduate course.

‘quota’ means the number of votes a candidate needs to be certain of election, calculated using the formula:

   total number of formal votes        +1 (disregarding any remainder)
(number of candidates to be elected +1)

For example, if there were a total of 10 000 formal votes and 4 candidates to be elected, the quota would be:

Quota: 10 000   +1 = 2001
          (4 + 1)

Source: Electoral Council of Australia

'undergraduate student' means a student enrolled at the University in a course other than one designated by the Council as a postgraduate course.


3 Principles

3.1 Elections will be conducted in accordance with the principles of fairness, security and privacy.

3.2 Where a ballot is required, it will be a secret ballot, which will enable optional preferential voting, and proportional counting of votes. Only the ballots of valid voters may be included in the count, and each voter will be entitled to vote once only.

3.3 The vote counting system will be auditable.

3.4 The security of the vote counting system and the privacy of each voter in lodging a vote will be protected by appropriate protocols and procedures.


4 Election of Staff and Student Members of Council

4.1 An ordinary election to choose two members of the academic staff shall be held on the appointed day which will be either the second Wednesday in September in each alternate year, or another appointed day approved by Council.

4.2 An ordinary election to choose two members of the general staff shall be held on the appointed day which will be either the second Wednesday in September in each alternate year, or another appointed day approved by Council.

4.3 An ordinary election to choose a postgraduate student member, who shall be elected by postgraduate students, shall be held on the appointed day which will be either the second Wednesday in September in each year, or another appointed day approved by Council.

4.4 An ordinary election to choose an undergraduate student member, who shall be elected by undergraduate students, shall be held on the appointed day which will be either the second Wednesday in September in each year, or another appointed day approved by Council.

4.5 An ordinary election to choose an undergraduate or postgraduate student member, who shall be elected by undergraduate and postgraduate students, shall be held on the appointed day which shall be either the second Wednesday in October in each year, or another appointed day approved by Council as long as this day is at least four weeks and one day after the appointed day approved for elections held under clause 4.3 and 4.4 of this Policy.

4.6 A person elected at an ordinary election shall hold office until the expiry date for his or her term of office, as specified in the relevant membership term.

4.7 An extraordinary election for an academic or general staff member or student member of Council shall be held on an appointed day approved by Council within sixty days of the first meeting of the Council after the occurrence of a vacancy; provided that when a vacancy occurs less than ninety days before the next ordinary election is due, the position shall remain vacant until the specified term of office of members to be elected during the next ordinary election.

4.8 A person elected at an extraordinary election shall hold office until the expiry date of the term of office of the incumbent who was originally elected by an ordinary election to fill the relevant position.

4.9 The office of an elected academic staff member or general staff member of Council shall become vacant if

• his or her term of office expires; or

• he or she resigns by notice in writing addressed to the Chancellor, or dies; or

• he or she ceases to be a member of the academic or general staff of the University, or ceases to be a staff member in the membership category in which he or she was elected; or

• he or she is removed from the office on the ground of serious misconduct.

4.10 The office of an elected student member of Council shall become vacant if

• he or she ceases to be an enrolled student of the University; or

• his or her term expires; or

• he or she resigns by notice in writing to the Chancellor, or dies; or

• he or she is removed from the office on ground of serious misconduct

4.11 If at any election one or more positions are unfilled, the Returning Officer shall inform the Council and the Council shall treat the unfilled positions as vacancies to be filled in accordance with paragraph 4.7 of this Policy.

4.12 In accordance with the Flinders University of South Australia Act 1966 (Clause 5 (3) (h)), a person in full-time employment of the University is not entitled to stand for election as a student member of Council. Where a full-time staff member is enrolled in an award course of the University, he or she will be entitled to vote for a candidate in an election held under clauses 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5, nominate or second such a candidate, and act as a scrutineer.


5 Appointment of Returning Officer, Administrative Staff and Scrutineers

5.1 Each election shall be conducted by a Returning Officer who shall be the Secretary of the Council of the University. The Returning Officer shall not be a candidate for election, nor shall he or she be eligible to nominate or second a candidate for election or be entitled to vote.

5.2 The Returning Officer may appoint such other administrative staff as he or she sees fit to conduct any aspect of this election process on his or her behalf.
 
5.3. For each election, the Returning Officer shall appoint at least two scrutineers who are members of the relevant electorate and are not candidates for election.

5.4 The Returning Officer, Council Secretary, and except for the scrutineers, other staff authorised by the Secretary of the Council to be involved with the conduct of an electronic ballot, will not be included on the electoral roll, and will be ineligible to vote, to stand in an election or to nominate or second a candidate. In the event that a member of staff who is responsible for this work wishes to vote, stand as a candidate or nominate or second a candidate, the Returning Officer will arrange for a replacement staff member to undertake the relevant operations in accordance with this protocol.

6 Conduct of the Ballot

6.1 For the purpose of Council elections a ballot will normally be conducted electronically using a computer software package approved by Council.

6.2 The electronic election system will use a computer program that transfers individual votes into a count or election tally. The characteristics of the electronic system and the methodology to be adopted will be as follows:

• each voter must express a first preference to cast a formal vote;

• duplicate preferences and preferences following interruption in the sequence of a ranking will be deemed informal;

• a quota will be calculated as required for proportional representation using the Droop formula;

• surplus votes of elected candidates will be transferred according to a voter’s optional preferences;

• the value of surplus votes will be calculated with each vote having a fractional value;

• the remaining candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated and the votes will be re-distributed according to voter preferences;

• a tie will be broken by random selection by the computer.

6.3 If it is not practicable to conduct an electronic election for any given election, for that election the ballot will be conducted using a manual election process as identified in the most recently published copy of the Statute 8.1: Election of Members of Council by the Academic Staff, Statute 8.2: Election of a Member of Council by the General Staff, Statute 8.3: Election of a Member of Council by Postgraduate Students, Statute 8.4: Election of a Member of Council by Undergraduate Students and Statute 8.5: Method of Counting of Votes in Elections of Members of Council (rescinded 2004).

7 Election Web Site

7.1 Under the supervision of the Returning Officer, an election web site will be constructed and managed by the responsible officer in the Information Services Division, to provide information to voters and to operate as a ‘virtual polling booth’.

7.2 The election web site will provide voters with access to nomination forms, candidate statements, electronic ballot forms and instructions on how to cast a vote.

7.3 The Returning Officer will be responsible for authorising all information relating to the election that is to be posted on the web site or emailed to voters, including the nomination form, the closing date for nominations, the names of candidates, the statements of candidates, and voting instructions.


8 Election Procedure

8.1 The Returning Officer will determine the eligibility of voters, candidates, nominators and seconders in accordance with the University's official staff and student records. The Returning Officer's ruling on such eligibility will be final.

8.2 The Returning Officer will request that an electronic electoral roll for the relevant electorate be generated from the Human Resources System and Student Information System, together with an email address for each individual on the electoral roll.

8.3 The Returning Officer will, not less than twenty-eight calendar days before any election, notify each member of the relevant electorate of the election and invite nominations, normally by way of an email notification to all members of the electorate.

8.4 Nominations for election will be lodged with the Returning Officer by a time to be nominated by the Returning Officer on the fourteenth calendar day preceding the appointed day. Each nomination must be in writing on paper from an eligible member of the relevant electorate giving his or her signed consent to the nomination, and bearing the signature of a nominator and a seconder who must be members of the relevant electorate.

8.5 If upon the closing of nominations the number of candidates does not exceed the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer will declare such candidate or candidates elected. If the number of candidates exceeds the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer will arrange for electronic notification to be sent to each member of the relevant electorate, and electronic access to be given to:

• a ballot form;
 
• instructions concerning the method of voting and the return of the ballot using the electronic voting procedure.

8.6 For each election, the order of the candidates' names appearing on the ballot form shall be determined by random selection, under the supervision of the Returning Officer and in the presence of the scrutineers.

8.7 Each member of the relevant electorate who wishes to record a vote shall lodge his or her ballot form by a time on the appointed day to be specified by the Returning Officer, in accordance with the electronic lodgement process instructions provided to voters.


9 Electronic Vote Counting

9.1 At each election, votes shall be counted electronically by computer. The scrutineers will be provided with information about the electronic counting process and will be informed of the outcome of the count.

9.2 Only the ballots of valid voters will be included in the count. Voter validation will be achieved by using two personal identifiers to log into the voting site.

9.3 Each voter may vote once only. Voters must place the number 1 against a candidate’s name to cast a formal vote, and may list the other candidates in order of preference. Voters may cast an informal vote if they wish to, but to ensure that this is not done unwittingly, they will be alerted when they create a ballot that will be informal.

9.4 A computer file will directly record the vote and it will not be possible to link the voter to the vote. Votes will be recorded in the file in order of polling in accordance with the code so as to show all selections made. Following validation of the voter, identifying information will automatically be removed from the cast ballot to ensure voter anonymity and privacy. Once a voter logs off the web site the ballot will be permanently cast and cannot be altered.

9.5 Prior to the poll closing, the Returning Officer may authorise the addition to the electoral roll of the name of an eligible voter, who for technical or other reasons, was not included in the roll or was unable to vote on the web site. No postal ballots will be provided for.

9.6 After the poll closes, the ballot file will be subjected to the tally program, under the supervision of the Manager, Information Services Division. There will be no manual entry of data from one file to another.

9.7 In the event that polling is interrupted by a temporary breakdown or temporary unavailability of the server, there will be no extension of the polling period, except if the interruption occurs on the final day. In the latter event, the polling period will be extended to 6.00 pm on the next working day. Where a serious breakdown occurs, the Returning Officer will seek from Council approval of another appointed day, and with Council’s approval arrange for the whole or part of the election process to be run again either electronically or manually.

9.8 The system will be auditable and will be subject, as appropriate, to scrutiny by the Returning Officer and scrutineers.

9.8.1 At the close of nominations, scrutineers will be present for the drawing of the ballot order.

9.8.2 At the request of the Returning Officer, hard copy reports will be produced at each step in the electronic voting process to enable the Returning Officer and scrutineers to monitor the accuracy of the roll, the balloting data and the count, and to enable the reports to be reconciled to ensure that all ballots are accounted for.

10 Election Results

10.1 At the completion of the tally, the tally reports will be forwarded to the Returning Officer, who will review the reports and then declare the result of the election.

10.2 As soon as possible after the counting of votes has been completed the Returning Officer shall declare and notify members of the relevant electorate of the result of the election.

10.3The Returning Officer shall also inform each candidate individually of the result of the election, and on request, will inform each candidate in confidence of the number of votes cast for each candidate in the election.