Elections Cleanup Act of Fall 2021
LeTourneau University Student Senate
Sponsored by Sergeant Edwards and Senators Drebot, Shaughnessy, Rubingh, Willsea, and Hill.
Relating to the amendment of the Constitutional Bylaws of the Student Body of LeTourneau University.
This act shall be referred to as the “Elections Cleanup Act of Fall 2021.”
The Constitutional Bylaws of the Student Body shall be amended as follows:
Article V - Executive Election
Section A – General Electorate
The General Electorate shall consist of all LeTourneau students whom the University requires to pay a Student Government fee.
Members of the General Electorate shall have the right to participate in Student Government sponsored events.
Section B – Position Eligibility
Position eligibility shall be defined by the Constitution and enforced by the Governmental Processes Committee.
Section C – Announcement of Elections
Notice of the upcoming executive election and information concerning existing positions shall be given to the students in conjunction with IMPACT.
Applications shall be available at the IMPACT informational meeting.
Other publicity concerning the executive election shall be the responsibility of the Governmental Processes Committee.
Elections shall be announced in chapel before the IMPACT informational meeting.
For any applicant to be eligible to begin the election process they must complete and submit an IMPACT application.
Section D - Interview
Applicants running for executive cabinet positions shall attend a mandatory interview with the member of the Administration of LeTourneau University whomst works in closest proximity to said Executive Cabinet position or appointed designee of said member, and/or the Dean of Students, at least one member of the Executive Cabinet, and at least two members of the Governmental Processes committee.
Interviews shall be conducted by members of the Executive Cabinet or Governmental Process Committee members not running for the office for which the applicant is being interviewed. If a member of the Interview process is disqualified in this way, they should be replaced with a Governmental Processes Committee, or Executive Cabinet Member.
The chair of the Governmental Processes Committee shall appoint the members of the interview committee in accordance with the specifications of this section.
Applicants may be denied candidacy by the interviewers with a unanimous vote by secret ballot of the interviewers present.
Applicants must be informed of the reason for denial in writing (email or paper) seven (7) days prior to the due date for signatures. The applicant reserves the right to disclose reasons for denial to whomever they see fit, providing they do not release the private information of others in keeping with the laws of the state of Texas and the United States of America.
Section E – Signature
To be eligible for an Executive Cabinet position, the applicant must collect the signatures of 25% of the Electorate in a one-week period to begin when the interviews end.
Signatures shall be collected on an official paper form which shall be given to the applicant after the last interview takes place.
The collection of signatures shall be submitted to the Governmental Processes Committee.
If an applicant has previously held the office and is seeking uncontested reelection, they may submit an appeal to the Student Body Senate requesting exemption from signature collection.
Seven days before elections, if more than six applicants meet the signature requirements only the six with the most signatures will be given candidacy including those seeking candidacy via Section K.
Section F – Debates
Debates shall take place between the conclusion of the interviews and the election.
Debates shall be announced in chapel.
Campaign speeches shall be given in chapel on the day of the election.
Section G – Election Process
Voting shall take place by paper or online ballot by discretion of the Governmental Processes Committee. These shall be available after chapel on the day of the election.
Voting shall be available online for three days following the election.
Online voting shall take place using online software that shall be specified by the Governmental Processes Committee and approved by Information Technology and the Dean of Students. The source code for such software shall be made available to students or administrative staff upon request unless it is a third-party commercial tool.
Voting shall not begin until the conclusion of the election chapel.
Candidates shall be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order and grouped by position.
The results of the election shall be announced publicly and the results placed in the public record and posted on the Student Government Web Pages.
Section H – Voting
Voters shall mark their ballots by rank, signifying their first, second, third, fourth, etc. choices for the positions.
The election shall be determined by a ranked order voting process. If no single candidate wins with more than 50% of the votes in any round, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and another round of vote tallying commences until two candidates remain.
When only two candidates remain, only a majority shall be required to win that round of elections.
4. If the difference in points between the candidates for first and second place is less than or equal to 5% of the total points counted, a runoff may be conducted according to Section I, by the discretion of the second-place candidate.
Section I – Runoff Procedures
The runoff election shall be announced to the student body in chapel at least one week in advance. The runoff election may be conducted in chapel and online or entirely through online voting and shall be open for the same length of time as the Executive Election was that year.
The runoff shall not be the rank-vote system in Section H; each voter shall vote for the one candidate they prefer.
The candidate receiving the majority of votes shall be declared the winner.
Campaigning may be continued by the candidates during the time leading up to the runoff election.
Section J – Recount Procedure
If a recount must be done, the winners for other positions with a clear winner may still be announced.
A recount must occur within one week of the ending of the election for which the recount is occurring.
The recount process shall recount all paper ballots and reverify all student IDs on such ballots.
The recount shall be conducted by two members of the Governmental Processes Committee and two other senators, not on the Governmental Processes Committee and not running for any office, nominated by the President Pro Tempore and Individually Approved by a 2/3 vote of the Senate by way of secret ballot.
Any discrepancies found during the recount shall be accounted for and explained to the satisfaction of the Governmental Processes Committee.
Section K – Write-In Candidate
An applicant may declare themselves a Write-In candidate at any point and must follow all normal rulings for applicants.
Write-In applicants are not required to complete the Interview process even if they have previously been denied by the Interview process.
Write in candidates will be required to collect signatures of thirty percent of the general electorate instead of the standard twenty five percent. Or require 2/3 approval from Senate and signatures of 25 percent of the general electorate seven days before the election.
Section L – Student Initiative Process
All members of the electorate shall have the right to propose a non-appropriations initiative to be placed on the ballot of the next executive election, unless a special election is called by senate
The initiative shall be presented to the Governmental Processes Committee in writing. The wording may afterward be amended, upon approval by the Governmental Processes Committee, provided the amendment does not change the intent of the original initiative submitted, or significantly change the content of the original initiative.
The Governmental Processes Committee shall provide official signature forms to the sponsoring student(s) within one week of receipt of the proposed initiative. The sponsor(s) of the initiative must obtain the signatures, on the provided forms, of no less than thirty percent of the electorate indicating their support of the initiative as a submitted to the Governmental Processes Committee.
The completed signature forms must be returned to the Governmental Processes Committee no less than one week before the election. The Governmental Processes Committee shall certify the validity of the signatures submitted.
The initiative shall be passed upon winning a simple majority approval of those voting on the initiative in the election.
The senate may at any time, by a 2/3 majority vote, submit an initiative to the student body to be voted upon.
This initiative shall be placed on the ballot at the next executive election unless a special election is called by the senate.
It shall be passed upon winning a simple majority approval of those voting on the initiative in the election.
A special election may be called at any time to put forth an initiative or constitutional amendment to the electorate for approval.
The proposal to call a special election must be approved by 2/3 of the senate body and the student body president.
If approved by the senate and student body president, the special election shall be announced to the electorate no less than ten class days before the election is held. The election may be held I chapel and online or online only.
Section M – Amending Article V
Any amendments made to Article V must be made within the first seven weeks of fall semester if they are to take effect in the elections of the proceeding spring semester.
Amendments to Article V require ¾ of the student senate approval to be ratified.
Any amendment not initiated by the Governmental Processes shall be reviewed by the Governmental Processes Committee before being proposed to Senate for a vote.
This Amendment shall become effective upon ratification.
Explanation and Reasoning
All references to the defunct Elections Committee have been replaced and general clarification and cleanup of several sections.
The Interview process has been clarified to require a unanimous vote by secret ballot to deny applicants from becoming candidates and a denial must be explained in writing to the applicant. This should ease issues with students being denied candidacy without removing Administration’s say in our election process.
The Write-In process has been clarified to prevent complications for everyone involved.
Elections now must be changed in the first half of any Fall semester in order to affect the next election to prevent the constant changing with little time to prepare for an election and hopefully encourage GoPro in the future to fix issues in a timely manner.