Bylaws of the Student Bar Association

Washington University School of Law

 

GENERAL ELECTION BYLAW

 

I.                PURPOSE AND ADMINISTRATION

 

                A.  Purpose  The purpose of this bylaw is to advance certain goals regarding the general election process.  All constructions of this bylaw shall be made in light of the following goals:

 

1.                  Clarity  The election process shall be easy to understand and administer.

 

2.                  Openness  The election process shall be administered in a manner that maximizes candidate and voter participation and minimizes the potential for abuse.

 

                B. Scope This bylaw shall supplement Article III of the Constitution as agreed to on February 10, 1999. [If any provision of this bylaw is ambiguous and deemed to conflict with Article III of the Constitution, Article III of the Constitution shall govern such dispute.]

 

                C. Election Commission                 SBA elections shall be managed by the SBA Election Commission (the “Commission”), which shall be appointed by the Vice President as provided in Article III, § 1 of the Constitution.

 

II. SCHEDULE AND PUBLICITY

 

A. Timeline SBA campaigning and elections for any posting shall be conducted according to the respective timeframe established for each position by Article III, §§ 2 through 5 respectively of the Constitution. All candidates must file a statement of intent (as defined in Section III(A) of this bylaw) with the Commission by the date specified by the Commission for a particular election, such date to be consistent with Article III, §§ 2 through 5 of the Constitution. Campaigning shall occur during the election period, such period to consist of the time between the announcement of the date of the particular election by the Commission, and the event of such election (“Election Period”).Campaigning for any position must be in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Section III of this bylaw. 

 

B. General Publicity

 

 1.                  The Commission is responsible for thoroughly publicizing elections  and opportunities for candidacy.

 

 2.                The Commission shall post signs stating the dates, times, and locations of each election in central locations in the law school during each Election Period. The Commission shall also post signs as it deems appropriate to publicize any candidate debates, including presidential debates.

3.                   The Commission shall distribute election information to each individual student at the law school, by the method or methods which will maximize student awareness of the election process (such as mailbox stuffing or electronic mail distribution) during the particular Election Period.

 

 

III. CANDIDACY AND CAMPAIGNING

 

               

                A. Filing as a Candidate

 

1.                  All candidates must meet the deadlines for filing as a candidate as established by the Commission for the particular election.

 

2.                     Each candidate is required to submit a statement of intent to run for office which shall contain: (a) the candidate’s name, class year, and position for which the student is filing as a candidate; and (b) the candidate’s signed statement that he or she has reviewed a copy of the election bylaw and will pursue the guidelines of the bylaw in good faith and in accordance with the Honor Code of Washington University School of Law.

 

3.                Candidates may file a statement of intent to run for office at a designated location that shall be publicized and monitored by the Election Commissioner (“Commissioner”). If the candidate desires to secure the information contained in his or her statement of intent to run for office, he or she may submit the form in a sealed envelope to the specified location. Any tampering with these materials shall be a violation of this bylaw and subject to appropriate sanctions under the Honor Code.

 

4.                Write-in candidates are also allowed, provided that a write-in candidate remains subject to the pertinent guidelines of this bylaw.

 

                B. Campaigning

 

1.                SBA encourages and allows candidates to take advantage of six types of campaigning.

 

 

(a) Candidate Statements  SBA shall allow candidates to compose candidate statements for review by voters prior to casting their ballots. These statements are to be no longer than one hundred words and shall be compiled into a bound random list by the Commission. This list shall be placed on the election table so that voters may look at the information before voting. Such statements must be turned into the Commission by the candidates no later than forty-eight hours before the election commences.

 

(b)  Placement of Campaign Materials in Mailboxes

 

                (i) Each candidate may place campaign materials in the student mailboxes of all voting constituents of the office for which the candidate is running on two occasions, and no more.

 

(ii) The campaign material that may be placed in mailboxes is limited to paper (“placements”). The material may not exceed the size of one 8 ½ inch by 11 inch sheet of paper. The color and contents of the campaign materials are left to the discretion of the candidate. No other materials may be distributed to students.

 

(iii) The candidate may choose the timing of the mailbox placements so long as they occur during the Election Period as defined in Section (II) (A) of this bylaw.

 

(iv) A placement occurs when a candidate places materials in the mailboxes of any number of constituents beyond any personal or private materials pertaining to the management or development of a candidate’s campaign.

 

(v) The candidate must submit a copy of the distributed material to the Commissioner prior to or concurrent with each of the two times that a candidate places materials in the mailboxes of voting constituents.

 

(c)  Schoolwide Candidates Debate

 

(i) The Commission shall sponsor at least one debate among the candidates for SBA President. Any debate is to be scheduled at a time deemed to be appropriate by the Commission.

 

(ii) If sufficient interest arises for debates among candidates for positions other than SBA President, the Commission may schedule a debate between candidates for such positions. The scheduling of any such debate under this subsection is at the discretion of the Commission.

                                               

 

(d) Oral Campaigning

 

(i) Oral campaigning may commence at any time, including prior to the designated Election Period. Telephone calls are an acceptable form of oral campaigning.

 

(ii) The only limits on oral campaigning are:

 

(a) Oral campaigning may not disrupt classes or meetings or harass students.

 

(b)Oral campaigning is not allowed in the immediate vicinity of the polling place, as explained in Section IV(A) of this bylaw.

 

(e) Signs

 

 (i) A candidate may place no more than two signs per public bulletin board throughout the law school during a particular Election Period. Each sign must comply with other rules governing the posting of signs within the law school and the Honor Code with the exception of the Flyers Bylaw. Public bulletin boards do not include bulletin boards in classrooms, occupied by student organizations, or located outside of faculty offices.

 

(ii) Any sign may not exceed the size of an 8 ½ inch by 11 inch sheet of paper. The color and contents of the signs are left to the discretion of the candidate. Each campaign sign may have a different design and content if the candidate so desires.

 

(iii) All signs placed a candidate during an Election Period shall be removed by that candidate within seventy-two hours after the end of the relevant election.

 

(f) Electronic mail Campaigning via electronic mail shall be limited to no more than two messages to the student list during a particular Election Period. The candidate may send one additional e-mail if he or she is involved in a runoff for the particular position. Individuals other than the candidates are not limited in the number of messages they may send via electronic mail regarding the candidate’s campaign, except that the candidate may not request that these other messages be sent.

 

       

 

2. Other types of campaigning by a candidate or supporters are not allowed. These proscribed methods include stickers, other materials, and mailings not within the limits of this bylaw. No other campaigning is allowed:

 

(a) No campaigning is allowed at SBA meetings, SBA functions, committee meetings, and Honor Council meetings.

 

(b) The use of all school chalkboards (or their various counterparts, including “whiteboards”) for campaigning is prohibited.

 

3. Absolutely no money can be expended on a candidacy beyond the cost of creating the candidate statement, the cost of two mailbox placements under Section III (B)(1)(b) of this bylaw, the cost of signs under Section III (B)(1)(e), and the costs of oral campaigning by telephone. No third parties may expend money on behalf of candidates.

 

IV. VOTING PROCEDURES

               

                A. Polling Place

 

1.                  Polling shall commence at 11:00 am and continue through 2:00 pm on each scheduled day of elections. Elections shall proceed for the number of days designated by the Commission.

 

(a) The polling place shall be located in the law school in the Student Commons.

 

(b) The polling place shall be monitored by the Commission and other members of SBA (“Election Monitors”). Election Monitors shall refrain from endorsing particular candidates.

 

(c) No verbal campaigning shall be tolerated within 15 feet if the polling place. No campaign behavior of any sort shall be allowed to disrupt the polling process.

 

2.                 Voters shall be required to present a photograph identification (preferably a student ID) in order to obtain a ballot. Names shall be scratched off the student enrollment lists obtained from the law school administration as ballots are cast.

 

3.                Voters may arrange to vote at an alternative time (if unable to attend the polling place during the specified election times) by contacting the Commissioner prior to the last day of scheduled elections and arranging to obtain a ballot and to cast the ballot in the appropriate ballot box. All ballots shall be cast by the end of voting on the last day of the relevant election. Students that are out of town may vote through this process by e-mailing a ballot to the Commissioner under the same time constraints.

 

                B. Counting

                               

1.                All ballots for a particular election shall be kept in a single, secure ballot box for the entire period of elections.  The security of the ballot box is the responsibility of the Commissioner. 

 

2.                Ballots shall be counted by the Commission immediately following the close of the polling place on the last scheduled day of elections.  Counting of votes shall continue until all votes have been counted. 

 

3.                One mandatory recount shall take place if the difference between the winning candidate or candidates and the first losing candidate is five percent or less of the total votes cast for the office in question. 

 

4.                A runoff election between the two candidates with the most votes shall take place in any election in which there is only one available elected position (for example, the presidential election) if there are three or more candidates and no candidate receives the majority of votes cast.  In any such election in which one candidate does obtain greater than fifty percent (50%) of the votes, such candidate shall be deemed the winner.  Any runoff election under this subsection shall be held within ten school days of the close of the polling place in the first election.

 

C. Publicity of Election Results

 

1.                    The election results shall be publicized by the SBA.  This section only addresses the specific manner in which the SBA publicizes election results in order to minimize any embarrassment to losing candidates. 

 

2.                    At the end of the counting process, the names of the winners of each office shall be posted in a central public location at the law school.  The vote results shall be listed in 12-point Times New Roman font on a single sheet of 8½ inch by 11-inch sheet of white paper which shall be posted on the regular SBA bulletin board in the law school.  The vote results shall be listed according to the following guidelines:

 

(a) The winning candidate or candidates for an office shall be designated with an indication of the percentage of total votes that the winning candidate or candidates received.

 

(b) The losing candidates shall be listed, but the percentage of vote share for each losing candidate shall not be listed.

 

(c) In the case of a runoff, the percentage of votes obtained by each candidate who advances to the runoff election shall not be posted after the initial primary election.  Only the percentage of votes by the ultimately victorious candidate in the runoff shall be posted.

 

3.                    The winning candidate shall also be announced via electronic mail, except that such announcement via electronic mail shall not include any candidate’s percentage of votes received.  The electronic mail message shall direct interested parties to the list of results described in Subsection 2 of this Subsection C.

 

4.                    Candidates are also free to obtain the specific vote count results from the Commissioner.

 

V. APPEALS

 

                A. Basis of Appeals

 

1.                    Generally, the Commission will hear all appeals alleging any violation of SBA bylaws or Constitution in the conduct of SBA elections.

 

2.                    If the violation is alleged against the Commission or SBA in its conduct of the election, the appeal shall be heard by an independent appeals board (“Appeals Board”). The Appeals Board shall consist of two students from each regular law school class and one student from the L.L.M. class (none of whom shall be members of the current or outgoing SBA), to be selected by the current Executive Board. The Appeals Board shall serve on an ad hoc basis, so long as the Executive Board has no connection to the contested election.  If the Executive Board does have a connection to the contested election, then the Board shall be selected by the Dean of Student Affairs.  Such Appeals Board will hear only the particular appeal or appeals against the Commission.  Upon the initial meeting of the Appeals Board, the Appeals Board shall select among them a foreperson. 

 

3.                    The remainder of this Section V will consider that an appeal may be heard by either the Commission or the Appeals Board, depending upon the nature of the appeal. 

 

B. Standing  Any student who is a candidate or actively sought to be a candidate for SBA office during the election cycle in question has standing to file an appeal.

 

C. Filing of Appeals

               

1.                    A student with proper standing may file an appeal by submitting a statement to the Commissioner.  If the appeal is against conduct of another candidate or third party unrelated to the Commission or SBA, the complaining student may file his or her appeal with the Commissioner.  If the appeal is against the Commission, the complaining student may file his or her appeal directly with the SBA President.

 

2.                    The appeals statement must include a statement of why the student has standing, precisely what conduct by the SBA or other candidate or candidates is in question, and precisely what Constitution or bylaw provisions have been allegedly violated.

 

3.                    The appeals statement must be submitted to the Commissioner (or the President if the Commission is appealed against) no later than 5:00pm on the third school day after the announcement of results in the contested election.

 

D. Hearing Procedure  The Commission or Appeals Board will be called to hear appeals by the Commissioner or SBA President respectively, upon the proper filing of an appeal. 

 

 

 

1.                    The Commission or Appeals Board shall hear the appeal or appeals in question within two days of the filing of an appeal.

 

2.                    The Commission or Appeals Board shall meet at a pre-announced time, but the meeting may be closed to the public at the discretion of the Commissioner or Appeals Board foreperson.

 

3.                    The hearing shall be conducted under the leadership of the Commissioner or Appeals Board foreperson.

 

4.                    Agenda for Appeals Hearing

 

(a)                Opening Statements

 

(i) The student or students bringing an appeal will jointly be given fifteen minutes to present the appeal to the Commission or Appeals Board.

 

(ii) If the appeal accuses a specific candidate or SBA official, then that individual or those individuals will jointly be given fifteen minutes to present a response.

 

(iii) These time limits include any witnesses or demonstrative materials that are presented.

 

(b)                Question Time

 

(i) Next, the student or students bringing the appeal will be available for questions from the Commission or the Appeals Board for ten minutes.

 

(ii) If the appeal accuses a specific candidate or SBA official, then that individual or those individuals will jointly be available for questions from the Commission or Appeals Board.

 

(c)                Closing Statements

 

(i) The student or students bringing an appeal will jointly be given five minutes to make a closing statement t the Commission or Appeals Board.

 

(ii) If the appeal accuses a specific candidate or SBA official, then that individual or those individuals will jointly be given five minutes to make a closing statement to the Commission or Appeals Board.

 

(d)                Deliberation and Remedies

 

(i) The Commission or Appeals Board shall retire to a close, private jury room to debate the appeal in question.

 

(ii) When the Commission or Appeals Board finds that there has been a violation of the SBA Constitution or bylaws, it may order appropriate remedial measures, including not limited to the disqualification of a candidate or an order that new elections be held for certain positions.  Any further remedies may be granted as the Commission or Board deems appropriate. 

 

E. Finality The decisions of the Commission or Appeals Board, insofar as they were reached in accordance with the procedures set forth in this bylaw, shall be considered final for all purposes and shall not be reviewable.