Officer Election Rules

NOTE: Per the updates to the Student Body Constitution passed the Student Body March 2017, the Voting Regulations Board is hereby dissolved and the Student Election Commission will be the arbiter of Executive Committee elections. These rules serve as historic record only as they will be updated Fall 2017.

ROLE OF THE VOTING REGULATIONS BOARD

The Executive Committee has tasked the Voting Regulations Board with the impartial oversight of student elections at Washington and Lee. The VRB is responsible for ensuring that elections are conducted in a fair, informed, and accessible manner. 

The VRB is the sole administrator and arbitrator of student elections.

The VRB will answer any questions that students or candidates may have regarding the elections.

PURPOSE

This document outlines the process of student elections for candidates seeking the offices of President, Vice President, and Secretary of the Executive Committee, and Chairman and Secretary of the Student Judicial Council. Candidates are expected to act in an honorable manner and to conduct themselves in accordance with Washington and Lee's tradition of civility. 

Signing and submitting the Petition to Run pledges that a candidate has read, understands, and agrees to abide by the following campaign rules and election procedures:

 ELIGIBILITY

All candidates must be in good academic and social standing with the University at the time they declare their candidacy. Candidates pledge that they are qualified to seek office based on these conditions when they sign their Petitions to Run.

CANDIDATE PREPARATION

Candidates must submit their Petitions to Run, complete with 150 signatures from members of the Student Body to VRB in the Mason Taylor New Room (located in Payne Hall) at 5:00 PM Tuesday, March 15th. Anyone with an academic, athletic or other binding commitment must contact the VRB by 8:00 AM Tuesday, March 15th to set an alternate time for submission.

Candidates must email a maximum 200-word biography to the VRB via email by 5:00 PM Wednesday, March 16th. Any submission that exceeds the 200-word maximum will be cut off at the 200th word. The biography will be posted on the Sakai.

Candidates must speak at the Candidate Forum in Lee Chapel at 6:30 PM Thursday, March 17th. Candidates must submit the text of their speeches via email to the VRB by 6:00 PM Thursday, March 17th. The text of the speeches will be made available for voters to view on the Sakai poll. Speeches may be no longer than five minutes.

Candidates must also attend the official photo session before the forum at 6:00 PM Thursday, March 17th on the Colonnade. Lee Chapel attire is required. These photos will be posted on Sakai. Candidates are not permitted to provide their own photo. If a candidate absolutely cannot attend the photo session, he or she must contact the VRB to schedule a make-up photo. 

RULES GOVERNING CAMPAIGNING

Section I. Limits on Campaigning: No one shall compel or force support of any candidate through the use of any organization or agreement. On the day of an election, no one shall campaign to individuals who are currently in the process of casting their ballots.

Section II. Campaign Spending: Candidates have a campaign budget of $30.00. This budget includes campaigning for any run-off elections. This budget may only be exceeded to replace damaged or missing campaign materials. Candidates may give away and display buttons, stickers, campaign-themed apparel, flyers, platforms, and similarly themed materials without limit so long as they do not exceed the maximum expenditure. Each printed 8.5''x11'' sheet of paper will count for ten cents (not including extra treatment, lamination, etc.). Candidates must submit a pledged expenditure report and attached receipts by 5:00 PM on Sunday, March 20th to the VRB in the Mason Taylor New Room (located in Payne Hall). 

Section III. Campaigning and Technology: Before using any element or service of University Computing or the network, candidates must review the University Policy on Computing Resources, Network, and Email Use. Candidates are limited to one Campus Notice for the entire campaign period. A candidate may use email, calling, texting, messaging, or social media to contact students. Candidates may send one mass email to their class, but may not use the class distribution list.

Section IV. Campaign Posters: Candidates are limited to 20 posters each. No additional posters may be used in a run-off campaign. Posters may be no larger than 8.5"x11". Candidates may not place a poster within an 11" radius of their own poster (measured from the poster's perimeter). Posters may not be placed to obstruct another candidate's poster. No poster may convey obscene or vulgar messages. No poster may be placed on the Colonnade, on Lee Chapel, on the exterior of any academic building, on trees, on the ground, on elevators, on glass of any sort (unless placed in a facilities management holder), or on any surface that the poster's removal would damage. Posters may be fixed to walls using only adhesives that will not leave a residue. Candidates must use thumbtacks on corkboard.

FILING A COMPLAINT

Any student who believes that a candidate is in violation of campaign rules may file a complaint with the VRB via email. Complaints must filed during the campaign period, which begins after petitions are filed at 5:00 PM Tuesday, March 15th and ends at 11:59 PM on the night of the final round of voting. Complainants must specify the candidate or candidates involved and the campaign rules violated. The full VRB will review the complaint and determine whether an investigation is warranted within 24 hours of the filing, or before 11:59 PM on the night of a round of voting. If the VRB determines that an investigation is necessary before voting has concluded, voting will be suspended pending the investigation. If the VRB determines that an investigation is necessary after voting has concluded, it will announce that the validity of the results is in dispute.

VOTING

All elections shall be administered through a Sakai Poll. All enrolled members of the student body are eligible to vote. Each student may vote once each round of the election. All students have the right to a secret ballot. Round I of voting will be on Monday, March 21st. The candidates who receive the two highest vote totals will continue to Round II on Tuesday, March 22nd. However, in the event that there are only 2 candidates running for a position, the candidate receiving a majority of the Round I votes will be declared the winner. The candidate who receives the greatest number of votes in Round II will be declared the winner. 

ELECTION DAY

Each round of voting will open at 6 AM on the scheduled day, and close at 10 PM. If no complaints warranting an investigation are filed by 11:59 PM, the VRB will announce the results of the election at that time via a broadcast email. The VRB will also publish official election announcements and results to Campus Notices.

Any candidate running unopposed will be declared the winner automatically following Round I of voting.

VOTING ROUND CONTINGENCIES

In the event of a tie for second place in Round I, all candidates that receive the second place vote total will continue to Round II.

In the event of a tie for first place in Round II, the tied candidates will have the opportunity to address the student body a second time. The guidelines for the candidate forum will apply to these addresses. The following school day, a third round of voting will be held with the tied candidates appearing on the ballot. The candidate who receives the highest vote total will be declared the winner.

If Round III of voting results in a tie, the name of each candidate will be written on separate 4" x 6" notecards. In the presence of the Executive Committee or Student Judicial Council, the VRB will place the notecards into an opaque, unmarked box. The President of the Executive Committee or Chairman of the Student Judicial Council will draw a card from the box, and read the name printed on the card aloud. The candidate whose name is read by the officer in the presence of the full VRB will be declared the winner. 


INVESTIGATIONS

If the VRB determines that a complaint warrants an investigation, it will contact the complainant and respondent immediately and inform them that an investigation is under way. The respondent will be informed of the nature the complaint. The complainant and respondent must submit statements no more than 1,000 words in length. The complainant must detail the alleged violations and offer specific evidence of their claims. The respondent must reply to the allegations in the complaint. These statements must be submitted within 24 hours of the notification that the investigation is under way.

The full VRB will review the statements and evidence. The VRB has the discretion to either make a decision based on the statements and evidence or investigate further, calling witnesses as needed. When the VRB is satisfied that it has determined whether a violation of campaign rules has occurred, it will inform the complainant and respondent of its ruling.

Candidates found to have violated campaign rules will be removed from the ballot. If a candidate is found to have violated campaign rules after a round of voting has occurred, the results of that round will be invalidated. The candidate's name will be removed from the ballot, and the round will be repeated at the earliest possible date.