Election rounds are held each year, if required, in the following months:
Election timetable - developing a timetable
The election process usually takes between 6 to 7 weeks, from the moment when nominations are first called to the time when the results of voting are announced. Note the following points when developing the timetable:
- Nominations must not close less than 14 days or more than 28 days after the day on which nominations were called. Usually 15-16 days should be allowed for the receipt of Nomination forms.
- Electoral Rolls must not close more than 5 days prior to the day on which nominations for the election close.
- Usually at least a week should be allowed between the close of nominations and the distribution of voting papers. This time is needed for the preparation of voting materials such as ballot papers and candidate statements, the addressing of Returning Officer envelopes, and the process of `stuffing' envelopes for the distribution of voting papers.
- Not less than 14 days and not more than 28 days is allowed between the dispatch of voting papers and the date and time by which completed voting papers must be delivered. Once again 15-16 days should be allowed for the receipt of voting papers.
Notices and forms
Notice of intention to conduct an election
The notice (example available) should contain the following details:
- the committee which requires election;
- the places to be filled in the election, and the terms of office for those elected;
- where nomination forms are available and the procedure for submitting them;
- date of close of nominations;
- dates of the voting period;
- date of close of electoral rolls and where they can be inspected;
- whom to notify in case of errors on rolls.
A copy of the 'Election Notice' should be placed on school notice boards, and all staff in the school should be notified by e-mail of the election process.
Nomination for Election Form
- Prepare a nomination form for the School Committee election (example available).
- Each form must have a sheet attached for the candidate to provide a 100 word statement.
- The date of close of nominations should be specified on the nomination form, as well as the procedure for submitting nomination forms.
Production of electoral rollsOn the day electoral rolls close, an academic staff roll needs to be finalised.
- Contact HRM a week before electoral rolls close and ask them to produce an academic staff roll for your particular school [this roll will consist of both senior academic (Levels B-E) and junior academic (Level A) staff]. For election purposes, an academic staff member must be at least a 50% appointment and be on a current contract of six months or longer to be included on the roll (i.e. fractional appointments are not to be included on the roll).
- Electoral rolls produced by HRM should be carefully checked by School Administrative Officers, and advice on amendments/deletions/additions immediately notified to HRM. On the day that electoral rolls close, a final roll should be produced by HRM, as well as address labels (for posting of ballot papers).
Processing of nomination forms
Receipt of nomination forms
Nomination forms must be received by the due date and time in order to be accepted for election purposes.
Remind all academic staff by e-mail of the date of close of nominations three days prior to the deadline, and encourage them to nominate (particularly if the number of nominations received is less than the number of vacancies on the School Committee).
Checking of nomination forms
The name of the person nominated, and the first and second person endorsing the nomination, should be checked against the electoral roll to ensure that each is a member of the electoral roll.
Where an academic staff member signs or countersigns a nomination form but their name does not appear on the roll, contact HRM to clarify whether the academic staff member should be included on the roll.
Rolls should then be updated depending on the advice received from HRM.
Where a person submits a nomination form but is not eligible to be nominated (eg. their name may not appear on the roll because they are on a fractional appointment), the person should be notified that their nomination form has not been accepted. Where a person endorses another person's nomination form but is not eligible to be on the roll, an alternative signature should be arranged from an eligible member of staff as soon as possible.
Close of nominations - action
The day after the close of nominations, prepare a statement which shows:
- the nominations that have been called for, and the nominations received from staff members, with staff category listed (i.e. Level A, B, C etc)
- where the number of nominations received is less than or equal to the number of positions vacant - declare those nominees elected unopposed to the positions
- where no nominations have been received, state that the position will exist as a casual vacancy to be filled in the next election round (state when this will be)
- if an election is required, state when voting papers will be distributed to electors. Notify where ballot boxes will be located (if available) and inform of the time and date of the close of voting
Advertising the result at the close of nominations
E-mail all staff a copy of the close of nominations statement.
Advice to those elected unopposed
Prepare congratulatory letters to those candidates who were elected unopposed and advise them of their term of office and other details concerning the School Committee (i.e. constitution, membership list, meeting dates etc).
Procedure for the preparation and distribution of voting papers
An election needs to be conducted when the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies.
For a School Committee election, the following material should be mailed to each person identified on the electoral roll.
- Notice to voters
- form which highlights the following points:
- advise when nominations for the election closed.
- point out that where the number of persons nominated exceeded the number of persons to be elected, a voting paper has been prepared, and that enclosed with the notice is the voting paper to which they are entitled.
- outline the procedure for completing the voting paper: when a vote is registered, the voting paper should be placed in the Voting Paper Envelope. The Voting Paper Envelope should be sealed and placed in the larger envelope addressed to the Returning Officer.
- The identification details and signature on the back of the larger envelope must be completed and the envelope should then be posted, forwarded in the internal mail to the School Administrative Officer or deposited in a ballot box (if available).
- Note: An explanation should be given as to why the back of the larger envelope must be completed i.e. the identification is used to check the eligibility of the voter to cast a ballot or ballots in a particular election.
- A ballot paper
- identifying relevant details of the election [i.e. the number of people to be elected, category of staff to be elected (in some elections a number of those to be elected may need to be at a certain level - say four to be elected but at least two must be level A or B). The order in which the names of candidates appear on the voting paper is determined by the School Administrative Officer by the drawing of lots.
- A notice listing statements from candidates
- Statements are not mandatory for candidates, but must be restricted to 100 words if provided.
- A Voting Paper Envelope
- into which will be placed the ballot paper.
- A Returning Officer Envelope
- addressed to the relevant School Administrative Officer (into which will be placed the Voting Paper Envelope) (please contact the Council and Committee Support Officer on (07) 373 57190 to obtain both Voting Paper and Returning Officer Envelopes)
Conduct of election
Sorting of Returning Officer Envelopes
- All unmarked Returning Officer Envelopes and loose Voting Paper Envelopes should be set to one side and classed as invalid.
- Similarly, those Returning Officer Envelopes which are submitted with incomplete or illegible identification details, should also be classed as invalid.
- Where more than one Returning Officer Envelope is lodged in a voter's name, an attempt should be made to determine which is the valid envelope. The valid envelope should then be processed further and the invalid envelope discarded. Where this is not possible, both envelopes and the voting papers they contain will be classified as invalid.
Counting of votes - preparation
- Returning Officer Envelopes with voter identification details should be retained for several weeks after the declaration of results. (This is proof of who voted in case an election result is contested).
- A vote is declared valid if the intention of the voter on the ballot paper is clear (i.e. a voter may list choices in numerical order (i.e. preferential voting) rather than placing crosses next to candidate names as requested - such a vote is valid if the voter's intention is clear).
- Abstentions from voting should be recorded (in a situation where a voter is asked to elect seven people and indicates only five choices, two abstentions should be recorded).
- In normal circumstances, those candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be declared elected [unless an election requires at least one or more of the elected candidates to be at level A or B, in which case the candidate/candidates at level A or B with the highest number of votes will be declared elected regardless of candidates from other levels (C-E) who may receive a higher number of votes].
- Please contact the Council and Committee Support Officer on extension (07) 373 57190 [prior to vote counting] for further advice if such an election is to be conducted.
- If votes in any election are tied, the winner is determined by the drawing of lots.
Statement of election results
Write a paper setting out the results of the election. The paper should be divided into three sections:
- Results of the counting of votes
- Candidates elected unopposed
- Vacant positions
In setting out results, only the names of those people elected should be specified. The number of votes received by each candidate should not be indicated in the statement of election results. However, this information should be retained by the School Administrative Officer in case an election result is contested.
Prepare letters advising successful and unsuccessful candidates of the results of election. Successful candidates will need to be provided with relevant details concerning the School Committee (i.e. constitution, membership list, meeting dates, etc).