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2007 Spring Rules

Adopted Thursday, 1 February 2007.

Article I. Election Guidelines

Elections are the foundation upon which representative governance rests. These rules are designed to protect the rights of all candidates, as well as all members of the University community, and to ensure that the election process takes place in an open and fair arena. Candidates must respect the rights and privileges of all members of the Cornell community, and to follow all election guidelines outlined in this document. Election rules are subject to yearly approval by voting members of the Student Assembly.

A. Candidate Information

1. Eligibility

Candidates must meet all petition requirements by the deadline to be eligible to participate in the election.

  1. Candidates must be fully registered students with the University by term commencement, and plan to attend classes on the Ithaca campus for the duration of their term.
  2. Each petition must have the necessary number of signatures and signatories must be registered students from the proper constituency.
  3. A candidate will be contacted within 24 hours of the petitioning deadline if her or his petition is deemed invalid.
  4. All petitions will be available to any member of the community who wishes to examine them in the Office of the Assemblies, 109 Day Hall. Petitions may not be photocopied once submitted.
  5. Candidates must submit all receipts and proof of fair market value to the Office of the Assemblies, 109 Day Hall, by 12:30 p.m. on the last day of the election. Failure to do so will disqualify a candidate from taking a seat on the Assembly.
2. Promotional Materials

Each candidate receives any combination of up to 300 one-sided 8 1/2” X 11” or 150 two-sided 8 1/2” X 11” printed materials at no charge. Post or quarter card design should be submitted to the Office of the Assembles, 109 Day Hall, for copying. All materials must include the date and time of the election and be in compliance with election guidelines.

3. Written Statements

Each candidate is asked to submit a short statement [comprising no more than 13 lines when constrained by a space 5 1/2” X 2 1/4” (approximately 1,250 characters)] via the web at http://assembly.cornell.edu/Elections. Statements will be posted on the SA website, published in the Cornell Daily Sun, and used on the ballot. Statements may not include names of any political coalitions or campus organizations.

4. Pictures

Candidates must have their photos taken in the Office of the University Registrar, B7 Day Hall, before the petition deadline. Photos will be posted on the SA website, published in the Cornell Daily Sun, and used on the ballot.

5. Forum

All candidates are expected to participate in the Candidates’ Forum held by the Elections Committee.

B. Election Guidelines

1. Early Campaigning

Candidates must not participate in the following campaign activities until campaigning officially begins:

  1. distribution of printed campaign material to the public,
  2. advertising candidacy by chalk, poster, or other method designed for public viewing, or
  3. making speeches or statements to student organizations or groups of students.
2. University Postering & Chalking Policy

Candidates must comply with the University Postering & Chalking Policy, included in the election packet and found online at http://www.sao.cornell.edu/SO/postering.php.

3. Eligibility for Campaigning in Residence Halls

Eligibility for Campaigning in Residence Halls Candidates must comply with Campus Life policies regarding: visiting, leafleting, canvassing, and postering in residence halls, an excerpt of which is included in the election packet (full text available online: http://housing.cornell.edu/housing_residential/house_rules.asp?action=article&ID=2698). As per Campus Life policies, posters cannot be placed under resident hall room doors or hung on doors without the permission of the resident(s) of the room. (Strikethrough passage not in effect in Spring 2006.)

4. Campaigning Hours, Procedures, and Penalties in Residence Halls

Campaigning Hours, Procedures, and Penalties in Residence Halls According to the Building Safety Code, candidates may only campaign door-to-door in a hall they have the key for, unless accompanied by a resident of the dorm. The Director of Elections will and coordinate his/her efforts with the Community Development Staff (Residence Hall Directors, Resident Advisors, etc. to assist in their enforcement. the enforcement of the rules. (Strikethrough passage not in effect in Spring 2006.)

5. Campus Mail

Use of Campus Mail for campaigning purposes is prohibited.

6. Electronic Communications
  1. Candidates shall refrain from spamming persons unknown to themselves.
  2. University-monitored listserv traffic is at the discretion of the listserv owner.
  3. Lists provided or supported by University departments may not be used for campaign purposes.
  4. Candidates shall comply with University email policy, viewable online at: http://www.policy.cornell.edu/vol5_1.cfm.
7. Campaign Finance

Candidates must submit all receipts and/or proof of fair market value to the Office of the Assemblies, 109 Day Hall, by 12:30 p.m. on the last day of the election.

  1. Candidates may not exceed the $50 limit for out-of-pocket expenses and fair market value of donations of materials, professional services, and/or money.

Fair market value is the value at which something is to be obtained normally if documentation of its dollar value is not provided. Therefore, if there is a supporting receipt for a good used in a candidate’s campaign, then the value of that good is the dollar value on the supporting receipt. For donated materials, professional services, or other goods for which no official receipt is provided, candidates must seek the most plausible assessment of the fair market value of the good.

  1. Spending Restrictions
    Candidates in uncontested races (when only one candidate has submitted a petition) are limited to 300 copies and $10 for out-of-pocket expenses

Donations may be used, but proof of their fair market value must be provided and accounted for.

8. Endorsements

All registered student organizations receiving funds from the Student Assembly are expected to abide by the guidelines below. The Election Committee may recommend fines and/or impoundment of funds to the Assembly for organizations failing to comply.

  1. Organizations receiving money directly or indirectly from the Student Assembly may not donate money or supplies to candidates.
  2. Organizations seeking to endorse candidates must give all petitioners and the Director of Elections 48 hours advance notice of endorsement meetings.
9. Campus Code of Conduct and Political Ethics
  1. All candidates must act in conformity with all standing rules and regulations of the University, including the Campus Code of Conduct (online at http://www.policy.cornell.edu/CM_Images/Uploads/POL/campus_code_of_conduct.html).
  2. Violations of the Campus Code of Conduct will require the Judicial Administrator’s involvement in hearing the appropriate challenge(s). Hearings involving the Judicial Administrator will be heard in the manner described in Article II.D.3 of these rules. The Judicial Administrator will determine if a candidate’s actions with regard to the election in which they were involved was in violation of the Campus Code of Conduct. If the Judicial Administrator rules that a candidate was in violation of the Campus Code of Conduct, the candidate will be disqualified from the election.
  3. In accordance with Article I, harassing of candidates by other candidates or associates acting on behalf of candidates is unacceptable and strictly prohibited. The threatening of candidates to leave the race is also unacceptable and strictly prohibited. Candidates may not provide anything of material value to others to further themselves in the election. Moreover, candidates may not pressure or force other students to campaign or vote for them under any circumstances. If any of the aforementioned occurs, proof of such must be provided to the Elections Committee. Electronic proof is acceptable, but the Elections Committee must verify its authenticity. Any action that has been found by the Elections Committee to be considered harassment of the aforementioned policy will also be considered as a major violation.
10. Restrictions
  1. No candidate may include any other candidate’s name, a common “ticket”

name, or a shared slogan and/or symbol on any promotional materials or within any form of electronic communication and/or media.

  1. No candidate shall be permitted to share or pool campaign finances with any other candidate.
  2. No candidate may distribute any promotional materials, send any electronic communication, or utilize any other form of electronic media on behalf of any other candidate.
  3. No candidate’s written statement, promotional materials, or electronic communications may be plagiarized from any such items created or distributed by any other candidate.

C. Petition and Campaign Penalties

The Elections Committee shall investigate and rule on all formal challenges brought to their attention. The jurisdiction of the Elections Committee shall be restricted to this document. Campaign violations may result in appropriate remedial measures, determined by the Election Committee up to and including disqualification of a candidate in accordance with these guidelines:

  1. The Elections Committee will determine whether or not a candidate has committed a campaign violation according to the Election Rules.
  2. If testimony is presented to the Elections Committee, the Elections Committee must not take that testimony at face value. The Elections Committee must determine whether the testimony is accurate and, if it is, they must take it into consideration appropriately when ruling.
  3. Should the Committee decide that a violation has been committed on such a scale as to give a candidate an unfair advantage, they may disqualify a candidate by majority vote.
    1. Minor violations are violations that reach only a small number of voters, i.e. campaigning in a residence hall without an escort, etc.
    2. Major violations, i.e. harassment or breaking finance rules, or multiple minor violations will qualify the accused candidate to for disqualification.
  4. Should there be more than one challenge to a candidate, the Election Committee will make a decision by viewing the challenges against a candidate in the aggregate.
  5. Candidates must submit all receipts and proof of fair market value to the Office of the Assemblies, 109 Day Hall, by 12:30 p.m. on the last day of the election. Failure to do so will disqualify a candidate from taking a seat on the Assembly.

Article II. Election Procedures

A. The Elections Calendar

  1. The calendar for the fall and spring elections shall be confirmed by the Student Assembly in the semester prior to the election. The calendar should be submitted to the Office of Assemblies and the Student Assembly before the end of classes of the preceding spring semester for fall elections, and before the end of classes of the preceding fall semester for spring elections, by the Director of Elections.
  2. Consideration shall be given to any religious holidays that may fall during the election period, guaranteeing that the right to free religious observance is afforded to all potential candidates.
  3. The Candidate Forum will not be cancelled.

B. The Elections Committee

1. Membership
  1. Voting members of the Election Committee shall only include graduating seniors who are voting members of the Student and University Assemblies. The SA Director of Elections shall serve as chair and the Director of the Office of the Assemblies shall serve as a non-voting ex-officio member of this committee. In addition, the Director of Elections will ask two faculty/staff members to serve as ex-officio members of the Elections Committee. The Director of Elections will solicit members from the University Assembly, the Faculty Senate, the University Hearing Board, the Employee Trustee, and from among the faculty/staff at large.
  2. The Director of Elections shall publish at the beginning of each semester a list of Assembly seats to be filled, in accordance with Student Assembly Charter section 3.1.
  3. Elections Committee members are expected to abide by the highest standards of personal conduct and integrity. Graduating seniors are mandated to excuse themselves from serving on the Election Committee if they plan to actively take part in a campaign or sit on the executive board of an organization that has endorsed a candidate. Therefore, members should not be actively involved in the campaigning process. All conflicts should be considered and resolved before the election cycle begins.
  4. The Elections Committee should be prepared to meet immediately following the challenge deadlines to rule on all pertinent challenges. All challenges must be heard simultaneously. A 2/3 supermajority of the members of the Elections Committee must be present for challenges to be heard.
  5. The Elections Committee shall use Robert’s Rules of Order in accordance with Student Assembly Charter 6.6 to consider challenges, in addition to the Undergraduate Election Rules. The Elections Committee has no power to overrule the Undergraduate Election Rules under any circumstances.
  6. The Elections Committee shall validate election results. A 2/3 supermajority of the members of the Elections Committee must be present to vote on the validation of the election results.
  7. The Elections Committee shall give a final report on the results of the elections when there are no remaining unresolved matters, as defined in Article II.C.4.

C. Conduction of Election and Tabulation

  1. The order in which names appear on the ballot shall be randomly selected.
  2. Tabulation of the results of voting shall be carried out using simple plurality.
  3. The Office of the Assemblies will post preliminary results for unchallenged races at 4:30 p.m. on the day following the election. Preliminary results for challenged races will be posted after the Election Committee has ruled on those challenges. Tabulation of the results of voting shall be carried out using simple plurality.
  4. The Election Committee will not have access to the preliminary results prior to and during challenge deliberations. The Office of Assemblies will release election results from the challenged races after the Elections Committee has validated the election results.
  5. The official announcement of results shall be at the next Student Assembly meeting following the validation of the election results by the Elections Committee.
  6. A printout of election results shall be available in the Office of the Assemblies for one year, but disqualified candidates will not have their vote tallies made available.

D. Challenges

1. Deadlines
  1. Petition challenges must be submitted to the Office of the Assemblies, 109 Day Hall, by 12:30 p.m. on the day following the petition deadline. No challenges will be accepted after this deadline under any circumstances.
  2. Election challenges must be submitted to the Office of the Assemblies, 109 Day Hall, by 12:30 p.m. on the last day of the election. No challenges will be accepted after this deadline under any circumstances.
2. Forms

Challenges must be on the Election Challenge Form and contain the following information:

  • Challenger’s Name
  • Candidate’s Name
  • Date of Challenge
  • Reason for the Challenge and Supporting Evidence

Any member of the Cornell community may submit a challenge and all challenges are public documents

3. Hearings

Candidates should stop in the Office of Assemblies, 109 Day Hall, after both the petition and election challenge deadlines to review all challenges. Challengers and the challenged may submit a written statement to the Elections Committee or address the committee at the petition and election challenge hearings.

  1. The structure of Elections Committee hearings will be:
    • Challenger Presentation
    • 3 Minutes
    • Challenged Presentation
    • 3 Minutes
    • Challenger Response
    • 1 Minute
    • Challenged Response
    • 1 Minute
    • Elections Committee Questions
    • 4 Minutes
  2. Only those challenging, challenged, or named in the challenge shall be present during a hearing. The Elections Committee may allow, by a simple majority vote, the challenged to bring in a witness not named in the challenge if the Elections Committee deems it relevant to the challenge at hand. Those who are named confidentially will meet with the Elections Committee privately.
  3. Minutes will be recorded for each hearing and made available to the public, except where confidentiality has been granted. All hearings will also be taped and made available to the public, upon request.
  4. The Elections Committee will meet in closed session to decide on the merit of the challenge immediately after hearing it, and all voting decisions will be made in executive session. No minutes will be recorded for this part of the challenge process.
4. Appeals

Appeals should be directed to the University Ombudsman within 24 hours of notification by the Director of Elections of the Elections Committee’s decision. The Ombudsman will then make a recommendation to the Elections Committee in the same manner that the Elections Committee would decide a challenge, except she/he will only determine whether the candidate violated the Election Rules, and if in doing so the candidate gained an unfair advantage, as defined in the Election Rules. If the Ombudsman’s recommendation, as aforementioned, is different than that of the Elections Committee:

The Elections Committee must then meet to reconsider the challenge, taking into account the recommendation of the Ombudsman, and may either accept or reject the Ombudsman’s ruling. If the Elections Committee wishes to accept the Ombudsman’s ruling, they may do so only with a 2/3 supermajority vote. Otherwise, the Elections Committee will accept the original ruling and handle the challenge as described in Article Ic.

Contact SA Elections

109 Day Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

ph. (607) 255–3715
fx. (607) 255–2182

Hours: 9a - 12:15p, 1p - 4:30p, M - F