Harvard Law School Student Representatives Board: Election Bylaws
Article I. Purpose and Scope; Adoption of Bylaws
A. These bylaws are proposed in compliance with HLS SRB Constitution XI.2.E.ii and XI.2.E.iv.
B. These bylaws determine the procedures and rules governing the spring election for SRB board members.
1. Article II sets out the nomination procedure for candidates.
2. Article III describes the campaigning guidelines.
3. Article IV provides dispute resolution procedures and describes the punitive measures to be taken against a party that violates these bylaws or the terms of the HLS SRB Constitution.
C. These bylaws will be adopted when confirmed by the SRB at a special meeting (date TBD).
Article II. The Election
1. Before voting begins, the Election Committee will host a non-mandatory meeting with the candidates describing the guidelines set forth in these bylaws. Candidates are encouraged to attend this meeting and will be responsible for abiding by all of the election rules promulgated by the Elections Committee.
2. The campaigning period will run from Monday, April 1, 2013 until Tuesday, April 9, 2013,
3. Voting for the 2013-2014 school year will open at noon on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 and remain open until noon on Saturday, April 13, 2013.
a. Except for an act of God or a unanimous vote by the Election Committee, voting will not be stopped or delayed for any reason.
b. Complaints or disputes arising during the voting period will be governed according to Article IV of these bylaws. Dispute resolution will be carried out in a timely manner, but it will not disrupt the voting process.
B. Application Procedures
1. Candidates must submit a candidate statement to the Election Committee by Friday, March 29, 2013.
a. The Elections Committee will send an email to the student body soliciting candidate statements for all elected positions no less than one week before the statements are due.
b. Candidate statements are submitted when the candidate sends an email containing their candidate statement to the Chair of the Election Committee. This email must include the candidate’s name, class year, and degree program.
c. The Elections Committee will confirm acceptance of each candidate’s statement by Sunday, March 31, 2013.
d. The name of any eligible candidate who submits a candidate statement will appear on the ballot.
2. Except for those running for President and Vice President, candidates must submit a brief statement of no more than 250 words describing their qualifications and proposals for SRB in the 2013-2014 school year.
3. The candidates for President and Vice President must submit a joint statement of no more than 500 words describing their qualifications and proposals for SRB in the 2013-2014 school year.
4. The candidate statements will be publicized in two ways.
a. SRB will post these candidate statements on its web site; and
b. The Election Committee will send these candidate statements to the student body in an email message before the voting period commences.
5. The Election Committee will keep candidates’ identities confidential until they inform the general student body after the candidate statements are due.
1. The Elections Committee will oversee online voting for the duration of the voting period. The winner of each race will be determined according to the number of recorded votes through the online voting system.
a. As described in the HLS SRB Constitution XI.2.E, elections for all positions other than President and Vice President shall be determined by a plurality vote.
b. As described in the HLS SRB Constitution XI.2.E, elections for President and Vice President shall be determined by a majority vote. In the case that no slate for these positions receives a majority vote, the top two vote-getting slates will face off in a run-off election.
1. In the event of a run-off election between slates for President and Vice President, the Election Committee will set up another online ballot for voting in the run-off election.
2. Voting in the run-off election will be open between noon on Monday, April 15, 2013 and noon on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
2. Students must use a unique URL and vote by registering through their official Harvard email address. Any attempt to vote multiple times, or using multiple email addresses, should be reported to the Election Committee under the procedures outlined in Article IV of these bylaws.
3. Voting will be open to current HLS students only.
4. Between 12pm and 2pm on each day of the voting period, the Election Committee will sponsor a voting table at which students can cast their vote in the election.
Article III. Campaigning Guidelines
A. Candidates must comply with all rules and restrictions set by the Dean of Students’ office.
B. Campaigns are subject to the following finance restrictions:
a. Candidates or supporters acting on their behalf must submit all receipts and/or proof of fair market value of promotional materials to the Election Committee in person or through email by April 13, 2013.
b. Candidates or supporters acting on their behalf may not exceed a $100 limit for out-of-pocket expenses and fair market value of donations of materials, professional services, and/or money.
C. Candidates may not seek endorsements until campaigning begins.
D. SRB is committed to fostering positive democratic discussion. Candidates are prohibited from engaging in the following activities:
a. Harassing, threatening, or coercing others to vote;
b. Providing alcoholic beverages to further themselves in the election; or
c. Compelling any person to endorse their candidacies, assist their campaign, implicitly act as a supporter of their candidacy, or otherwise further their campaign as an implicit or explicit condition for admission to, continued membership in, or promotion within a group or organization.
E. During the voting period, candidates may set up areas encouraging students to participate by voting. Neither the candidates nor supporters acting on their behalf may be within six (6) feet of the voter while he or she is filling out the online ballot.
Article IV. Dispute Resolution and Punitive Measures.
I. All violations of the voting procedures set forth in Article II or the campaign guidelines set forth in Article III should be reported to the Election Committee. Upon receiving a complaint, the Election Committee must vote to determine if a campaign rule has been violated.
a. If any candidate or a supporter acting on behalf of a candidate is found to have violated any of the campaign guidelines set forth in Article III, the Election Committee will give a warning to the candidate. A candidate that has three or more violations of the campaign guidelines will be removed from the race.
b. If any candidate or a supporter acting on behalf of a candidate violates the campaign guidelines in such an egregious manner that the Election Committee feels that that candidate’s continued participation compromises the integrity of the election, the Election Committee may, through a unanimous vote, remove that candidate from the race for a first or second violation.
II. All disputes arising from the election that are not specifically governed by the provisions set forth herein should be reported to the Election Committee.
a. Upon receiving a complaint that a dispute has arisen, the Election Committee will schedule a meeting with the parties to the dispute. At least three members of the Election Committee must be present at the meeting. The dispute resolution meeting must take place within four (4) days of the report. If the report is made during the voting period, the meeting will take place as soon as it is practicable.
b. After hearing the parties’ account of the dispute and proposed options for dealing with it, the Election Committee will vote on an option. Any amendment to these bylaws in response to a dispute must be made pursuant to Article V. The Election Committee must agree unanimously before removing a candidate from the race in response to a dispute.
c. The dispute resolution meeting will be open to the public. If both parties would prefer that it not be public, they should jointly inform the Election Committee that the meeting should be closed. If only one party would prefer that the meeting be closed, the Election Committee will decide whether to keep the meeting open to the public by majority vote.
III. Any challenges to the election results must be reported to the Election Committee within three days of the announcement of the results. Challenges must be in writing and accompanied by the challenger’s name, the candidate’s name, the date of the challenge, and the reason for the challenge and any supporting evidence. Upon receiving a complaint, the Election Committee will notify the challenged candidate. The Committee will schedule a meeting to review challenges in a closed session. The Committee must provide an opportunity for the challenged candidate to respond. The Committee will then determine 1) whether a preponderance of the evidence substantiates the challenge, and 2) whether a substantiated challenge so compromises the fairness of the election that the challenged candidate should be disqualified. Four members of the Election Committee must agree for a candidate to be disqualified based on a post-result challenge to the election proceedings.
IV. If a dispute is reported to the DOS or an SRB member instead of the Election Committee, the recipient of the complaint will pass it on to the Election Committee as soon as possible. The recipient of the complaint must inform the reporter that the Election Committee will mediate all disputes.
Article V. Amendment
I. Amendments to these rules must be proposed and passed by a majority of the Elections Committee.
II. Amendments to these rules must be ratified by the SRB in accordance with the requirements set forth in the HLS SRB Constitution as soon as it is practicable.