Elections and Referenda Procedures

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Contents

  1. Purpose and Scope
  2. Elections and Referenda Code of Conduct
  3. Definitions
  4. Independent Commission for Elections and Referenda
    1. Commission Structure
      1. Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC)
      2. Chief Returning Officer (CRO)
      3. Electoral and Referenda Officer (ERO)
      4. Polling Clerks
      5. Research & Policy Officer (RPO) 
    2. Role of the President in Electoral Events
  5. By-elections and Referenda Outside of the General Election & Referendum Period
    1. Handling of Vacancies on Students’ Council
    2. Handling of Executive Vacancies
    3. Handling of Vacancies of Undergraduate Seats on the University Senate
  6. Allegations, Decisions, Penalties, Appeals 
    1. Allegations
    2. Decisions
    3. Appeals
    4. Penalties 
    5. Demerit Point Schedule
  7. Budgets and Spending Limits
    1. Spending Limits for Candidates Seeking Multiple Positions
    2. Rules Regarding Reimbursements
  8. Nominations & Nomination Period
    1. Executive Seat
    2. Students’ Council Seat
    3. University Senate Undergraduate Seat
    4. Unopposed Candidates
      1. Executive Candidates
      2. Students’ Council Candidates
      3. Undergraduate Senate Candidates
    5. Exclusivity
    6. Special Rules Concerning Incumbents 
  9. All-Candidates’ Meeting & Interim Period
  10. Campaign Rules & Regulations
  11. Polling Procedures & Regulations
    1. Electronic & Paper Ballots
    2. Online Voting Platform
    3. Voting Methods and Eligibility 
    4. Members Unable to Vote Online
    5. Polling Stations 
    6. Voting at the Polling Station
    7. Counting Ballots 
    8. Ties
    9. Rules for Candidates and Committees During the Polling Period
    10. Ratification of Results
  12. Referenda
    1. Scope
    2. General Rules for Referenda
      1. Recall Referenda
      2. Requisition or Petition Process for Referenda
    3. Referenda Questions
    4. Polling Period for Referenda
    5. Quorum of Voters
    6. Ratification of Referenda Results

1. Purpose and Scope

  1. The purpose of the Elections and Referenda Procedure is to provide a set of guidelines, rules, and regulations to govern all Elections and Referenda associated with the Federation of Students in a fair, independent, and consistent manner.
  2. Students’ Council is given authority to establish procedures for Elections and Referendum not contrary to the by-laws of the corporation or the rules and regulations set by the University of Waterloo, as may pertain to University Senatorial elections. In the event of discrepancy between this procedure and the by-laws, the by-laws shall always supersede this procedure.
    1. This procedure shall also apply to Elections of undergraduate student representatives to the University Senate, subject to Senate By-law 3.
  3. No changes or suspensions of these rules may be made to the Elections and Referenda Procedure during any active Electoral Event unless any section expressly provides for suspension.
    1. In accordance with these procedures, an active Electoral Event is defined to run from the first day of the Nomination Period until the results of such an Electoral Event are ratified, inclusive

2. Elections and Referenda Code of Conduct

  1. It is expected that all candidates, members of referenda committees, members of non-arm’s length parties, and Administrators understand and abide by the rules and regulations set herein, and by the Federation of Students at all times.
  2. In spite of any differences or disagreements that may arise during a particular Election or Referendum, all participants, all non-arm’s length parties, and Administrators are expected to maintain decorum at all times, and to be polite, courteous, respectful, and refrain from discrimination. Ultimately, individual conduct and behaviour may be considered a direct reflection of the candidate’s suitability to lead and represent their peers.
  3. All campaigns are to be conducted in good faith, and in the spirit of fair play. In addition to upholding the principles of honesty, mutual respect, and fair competition, examples of bad faith behaviour or actions that violate this Code include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Sabotage of the campaigns of opposing candidates or referendum committees;
    2. Repeated frivolous or vexatious complaints, allegations and/or appeals, where the complainant ought to know that the complaints have little to no reasonable chance of success;
    3. Defaming or knowingly misrepresenting the statement or character of another individual;
    4. Making, condoning, or endorsing derogatory statements or messaging, spoken, written, or electronic;
    5. Abuse of benefits acquired by virtue of a candidate’s Office;
    6. Aggressive campaigning, harassment, or otherwise engaging in behaviour that is either known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwanted by any other individual;
    7. Knowingly or purposefully engaging in behaviour that would result in the assignment of Demerit Points, as outlined in Section F of these procedures. Demerit Points are intended to deter certain behaviours that are deleterious or damaging to the spirit of the Elections process or to the University community and should never be used as a tool to bolster or further a campaign;
    8. Persistent attempts to undermine the ability of the CRO, ERO, ERC, or any Administrator to carry out their responsibilities
    9. Any attempt to undermine the electoral process
  4. Proven violations of this or of any other provision, in part or in whole, of any governing document of the Federation of Students will be subject to sanctions as deemed appropriate by the ERO or CRO, in conjunction with the Elections & Referenda Committee (ERC). The ERC is expressly empowered to, based on a positive result of an investigation, faithfully assign penalties enumerated herein or disqualify a candidate, campaign team, or a referendum committee from an active Election, By-election or Referendum.

3. Definitions

  1. “Administrator” shall refer to any staff member or volunteer of the Federation of Students directly or indirectly involved in the operation of any Electoral Event hosted by the Federation of Students. This may include the Federation’s President, the Chief Returning Officer, each Election & Referendum Officer, members of the Elections & Referenda Committee, and Polling Clerks.
  2. “Allegation” shall refer to an official claim that a candidate, campaign team, or a referendum committee has, in part or in whole, violated these or any other procedure, by-law, or policy of the Federation of Students or of the University of Waterloo.
  3. “Appeal” shall refer to an official request made by any member of the Corporation to review a ruling of the ERO in response to a duly submitted allegation.
  4. “Arm’s length party” shall refer to any individual or group of individuals not involved in any way with a candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee.
  5. “Campaigning” shall refer to any activity or attempt to solicit votes in favour or against a candidate, campaign, or referendum position during any Electoral Event. Campaigning can occur even in the absence of active campaigning, or of campaign materials electronic, physical, or otherwise.
  6. “Campaign Team” shall refer to a group of two (2) or more candidates in any active Electoral Event, including non-arm’s length party members. The number of candidates on any campaign team running for the same position may not exceed the number of available vacancies in a given Election or By-election. All material branded with a shared Identifying Mark will be equally expensed to all team members.
  7. “Complainant”, in these procedures, shall refer to any individual or group of members from which the ERO has received an official complaint, allegation, or appeal during any Electoral Event.
  8. “Electoral Event” shall refer to any Election, By-election or Referendum executed by the Federation of Students.
    1. “Election” shall refer to a formal voting process by which the members of the Federation of Students designate an individual to hold office;
      1. “Election Period” shall refer to the Council-approved days when an Electoral Event is underway. These days include nomination period, interim period, campaign period, and polling period;
      2. “Nomination Period” shall refer to the period in which undergraduates are self-selected or selected by their peers for an available position;
      3. “Interim Period” shall refer to the period that prospective candidates are prohibited from campaigning or engaging in any activity that may be construed as campaigning;
      4. “Campaign Period” shall refer to the only period in which campaign activities are permitted, as determined by the Elections and Referenda Officer;
      5. “Polling Period” shall refer to the period that eligible voters are allowed to cast a ballot;
    2. “General Election” shall generally refer to an Election held, typically in the winter academic term, in which all executive, council, and some undergraduate Senate seats are open;
    3. “By-election” shall refer to an election that occurs outside of the General Election period;
    4. “Referendum” shall refer to an event conducted by the Federation of Students in which all of its members are posed a question with a “Yes” or “No” answer, or such other answers as may be determined by the Students’ Council;
  9. “Executive” shall refer to the President and Vice Presidents of the Corporation.
  10. "Fair Market Value” shall refer to the lowest price of a product or service, without special concessions or discounts, from a set of at least three prices from merchants in Waterloo Region or easily accessible electronically. Discounts that are allowed must be easily accessible by all other candidates and committees and include, but are not limited to, sales and group deals.
  11. “The Federation”, the “Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA)”, the “Corporation”, or another business operating name or similarly derived terms shall all collectively refer to the Federation of Students, University of Waterloo.
  12. “Frivolous Allegation”, “Frivolous Appeal” or similarly derived terms shall, for the purposes of these procedures, refer to those proceedings initiated without merit, a sufficient basis on which to argue or sufficient evidence or proof, whether physical, anecdotal, documentary, or otherwise.
  13. “Governing Year” shall mean the period between May 1st and April 30th of the following calendar year.
  14. “Full Week” refers to a 7 calendar-day period beginning on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday.
  15. “Identifying Mark” shall refer to any mark, symbol or combination of marks and symbols that can be used to clearly identify or distinguish a candidate or team from any other candidates or campaign committees in their Election, By-election or Referendum. Identifying marks include, but are not limited to, the candidate’s name, URL, design, picture, logo, or team affiliation.
  16. “Instant Runoff Voting” (IRV) refers to a ranked choice voting system for single-winner elections. IRV shall be used for Executive and Senate candidate races;
  17. “Member of the Federation of Students” or similarly derived terms in this procedure shall be congruent with all provisions, terms, and considerations as stipulated in the bylaws of the Federation of Students.
  18. “Nomination Form” shall refer to the official document indicating the intention of any member of the Federation of Students to run for a vacancy in an Election or By-election. The Form must indicate, at minimum, the following:
    1. The Nominator and the Nominee, both of whom must be members of the Federation;
    2. The Nominee’s legal and preferred name(s);
    3. The Nominee’s desired position of candidacy;
    4. The Nominee’s faculty and year of study;
    5. The Nominee’s student identification number;
    6. The signatures of verified undergraduate members;
    7. The Nominee’s local and permanent addresses; and
    8. If applicable, the team with which the nominee will identify during the applicable Campaign Period
  19. “Non-arm’s length party” shall refer to any individual or group of individuals who have volunteered, supported, or provided assistance in any way to a candidate’s or referendum committee’s campaign. Activities of “non-arm’s-length party” members shall also include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Public campaigning with a candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee,
    2. Campaigning using the official materials of any candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee
    3. Performing any task that supports or assists a campaign that is not considered campaigning, exempting services that are available to the public and purchased at fair market value.
  20. “Respondent”, in these procedures, shall refer to any party named in a complaint, allegation or appeal received by the ERO during any Electoral Event.
  21. “Signature” shall refer to either a written signature on a physical nomination form, or an authenticated electronic signature on an online nomination form.
  22. “Single Transferable Vote” (STV) refers to a voting system where eligible voters rank all candidates in order of preference. STV aims to achieve proportional representation and shall be used to confirm undergraduate representatives on the University Senate and on Students’ Council;
  23. “Vexatious Act” shall refer to any act or proceeding initiated with an intention to harass, delay, overwhelm, or embarrass any candidate, campaign team, non-arm’s length party, any member of a referendum campaign committee, any voting member, or any Administrator.

4. Independent Commission for Elections and Referenda

  1. The Commission shall be composed of a management committee, known as the Elections and Referenda Committee, an independent Commissioner, and the appropriate staff relevant to the planning, administration, and execution of Elections and Referenda.
    1. The Commission shall be headed by the Elections and Referenda Committee and shall be responsible for the oversight of all Electoral Events
    2. The Commission shall act through its executive officer, the independent Commissioner, who shall be the Chief Returning Officer;
  2. The Commission shall report to the Secretary of the Corporation, and exist within the purview of the President as an autonomous division of governance.
  3. The Commission shall be empowered to use the full resources of the Federation, including necessary and appropriate staff support. The CRO and/or RPO shall normally request resources and staff support through the Vice President, Operations & Finance, in consultation with the President, who shall not unreasonably refuse such requests.
  4. Commission Structure
    1. Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC)
      1. The Elections & Referenda Committee (ERC), through the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) of the Federation of Students, is responsible for the oversight, and the fair and impartial execution of all Elections, By-elections, and Referenda administered by the Federation of Students.
      2. In the execution of their roles, the ERC shall:
        1. Act impartially and shall not show or promote bias towards any candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee during any Electoral Event for which they are a member of the ERC;
        2. Not sign any nomination form of any candidate or any document related to a referendum position during any Electoral Event for which they are a member of ERC.
      3. The ERC shall have the following membership:
        1. four (4) full members of the Corporation as elected by Students’ Council, and the Chief Returning Officer, who shall be Chair.
          1. Normally, at least [2] of these members shall be at-large members of the Federation of Students. Under no circumstances shall any voting member of ERC be a candidate for an active Election or By-election, join a Referendum committee, endorse, or campaign on behalf of any candidate, team or referendum position.
          2. The President, the Speaker of Council, and the Research & Policy Officer (RPO), as non-voting resource members. If either the Speaker or the President is a candidate for election in a given Electoral Event, they shall withdraw themselves from the ERC and appoint a designate, who shall not be a candidate for an active Election or By-election, join a Referendum committee, endorse, or campaign on behalf of any candidate, team or referendum position.
      4. The Students’ Council shall always reserve the right to remove or replace any member of ERC due to a real or perceived conflict of interest, misconduct, or breach of any of the rules and regulations set herein.
      5. Additional duties and responsibilities of the ERC shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
        1. Final adjudication and ruling on all appeals to decisions made by the Federation’s CRO during an active Electoral Event
        2. Ruling on all allegations for which the recommended or determined penalty is disqualification or rescission of a member’s candidacy in an Electoral Event
        3. Having sufficient and adequate knowledge of the Elections & Referenda Procedures of Students’ Council to review and rule on all appeals to decisions made by Elections & Referenda Officers and the Chief Returning Officer
        4. In conjunction with the President, CRO, EROs, RPO, and all other relevant persons, reviewing the Elections & Referenda Procedures and suggesting amendments to or rescission of any portion of these procedures, as necessary, to the Policies and Procedures Committee for consideration
        5. Working in conjunction with the Chief Returning Officer and other relevant Officers of the Corporation or Council to propose solutions to issues arising during an active election, by-election, or referendum
        6. Determining Referenda wording, and ensuring that fair, unbiased language is used
        7. Approving the timelines and dates of each Election, By-election, and Referendum
        8. Providing feedback on other aspects of Electoral Events, as necessary
        9. In accordance with the Bylaws, referring all matters relating to Electoral Events of substantial controversy to Students’ Council
        10. Assisting the Chief Returning Officer in the execution and operation of Electoral Events
    2. Chief Returning Officer (CRO)
      1. There shall be a Chief Returning Officer (CRO), who shall be the Chair of the ERC and provide day-to-day supervision of the execution of Elections, By-elections, and Referenda.
      2. Responsibilities and duties of the CRO of the Federation shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
        1. Being an authority on interpretations of the Federation of Students Elections and Referenda Procedure, subject to the policies and by-laws of the Federation of Students and any interpretations thereof
        2. Receiving any and all appeals on rulings made by any of the Federation’s EROs during an active Electoral Event and where necessary convening the ERC to execute its duties
        3. Conducting independent reviews and appeals of any rulings of EROs and issuing an appellate decision for the matter in question
        4. Ensuring that the Elections & Referenda Procedures and all relevant rules and regulations of the Federation and the University are upheld during any and all Elections, By-elections, and Referenda
        5. Running any All-Candidates Meetings with the support of any EROs
        6. Together with the appropriate officers and staff, preparing the transition and orientation of their replacement, ensuring continuity of the role, with consideration of the needs of the incoming CRO
        7. Planning regularly schedule Electoral Events, in consultation with relevant staff and compliance with procedure
        8. Normally serving as the Chair of the Elections & Referenda Committee (ERC), and executing those duties associated with and required of a Chairperson
        9. Approving all informational packages and content, issued by the Federation, for all candidates and referendum campaign committees
        10. Notwithstanding the President as the primary spokesperson of the Federation of Students, being the official spokesperson for the ICER, and for those responsibilities delegated or required of ERC
        11. In conjunction with the appropriate Administrators, preparing a debrief report, including a summary of all allegations and appeals, of the any Elections, By-elections, and Referenda for public access and, if necessary, presentation of the same, within sixty (60) days of the conclusion of such Electoral Events
        12. In conjunction with the RPO and one (1) additional member of the ERC, serve as a scrutineer for the initial viewing of results of all Electoral Events after its associated Polling Period
        13. In conjunction with relevant Administrators, confirm and publish for ratification at the next possible General Meeting or meeting of Students’ Council the official results of the Electoral Event
        14. Other duties arising from or relating to the above, as required.
      3. The Chief Returning Officer shall be hired by a panel consisting of the Secretary of the Corporation or the RPO, President, and one elected Councillor selected by Students’ Council
        1. Normally the CRO shall be hired at the beginning of the governing year, after the first meeting of Students’ Council
        2. Under no circumstances shall the CRO be a candidate for an active Election or By-election, join a Referendum committee, endorse, or campaign on behalf of any candidate, team or referendum position
        3. Moreover, the CRO shall sign a statement of intent not to participate in any other capacity in an Electoral Event, except for casting their ballot
    3. Electoral and Referenda Officer (ERO)
      1. There shall be at least one (1) Electoral & Referenda Officer (ERO) per Electoral Event, who is a full undergraduate member of the Federation of Students, and who shall be hired by and liaise with the Federation of Students’ Chief Returning Officer and Research and Policy Officer for the period of one Electoral Event at a time, unless otherwise determined by the CRO.
      2. Under no circumstances shall any ERO be a candidate for an active Election or By-election, join a Referendum committee, endorse, or campaign on behalf of any candidate, campaign team or referendum position.
      3. Responsibilities and duties of the ERO shall include the following:
        1. Being an authority on interpretations of the Federation of Students Elections and Referenda Procedures, subject to the policies and by-laws of the Federation of Students, and interpretations and rulings of the CRO
        2. Determine whether a candidate, team of candidates or campaign committee has violated the Election & Referenda Procedures,
        3. With the assistance of the RPO and CRO, ensuring that candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees are informed and aware of these procedures, and any other by-laws, policies, and procedures, as it pertains to Elections & Referenda
        4. Supporting the CRO with running any All-Candidates Meetings in pursuit of the above
        5. Adjudicating allegations of misconduct or breach of any provision provided in this procedure
        6. Assessing penalties against candidates, campaign teams, or referendum committees found to have been acting in violation of any portion of these procedures
        7. In all cases where the resulting penalty is disqualification or any other decision which may result in the rescission of a member’s candidacy, the matter shall be referred to the CRO for resolution as soon as feasible
        8. Enforcing reporting of and verifying all campaign spending by all candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees and reporting the same to the CRO
        9. Assessing Fair Market Value, determining campaign reimbursements, and ensuring compliance of Section G of these procedures, Budgets & Spending Limits
        10. Remaining impartial and unbiased in all Elections and Referendum matters and ensuring that the Elections and Referenda are fairly run,
        11. Assisting the CRO in settling, recording, and publishing all allegations and disputes between candidates and teams, and
        12. Additional duties and responsibilities as assigned by the CRO and/or the ERC
    4. Polling Clerks
      1. There shall be multiple polling clerks hired to ensure the smooth operation of each polling location for the duration of the Polling Period.
      2. All Polling Clerks shall be hired by and liaise with the Federation of Students’ Chief Returning Officer and Research and Policy Officer. This shall not exclude the use of the Federation’s promotional teams serving in such capacity.
      3. Under no circumstances shall any Polling Clerk be a candidate for an active Election or By-election, join a Referendum committee, endorse, or campaign on behalf of any candidate, team or referendum position. Nor shall Polling Clerks be any full-time staff member of the Federation of Students.
      4. The duties of the Polling Clerks shall include:
        1. Being familiar with and upholding Section K of these procedures
        2. Being the first point of contact and a resource for all voters
        3. Verifying the eligibility of all voters
        4. Administering online and paper ballots, and enabling voters to cast their vote,
        5. Monitoring the voting area to which they are assigned
        6. Assisting students with voting process on the days of elections, and
        7. Other duties assigned by the Chief Returning Officer and Research and Policy Officer.
    5. Research & Policy Officer (RPO)
      1. The Research & Policy Officer (RPO) shall serve as a resource for all electoral matters of the Federation, and shall assist the CRO in serving as the main point of contact with candidates and committees in any electoral event.
      2. The RPO’s duties and responsibilities as it pertains to Elections & Referenda shall include the following:
        1. Serving as a non-voting resource member of the ERC.
        2. Supporting the hiring, oversight, and adequate and sufficient training of all Polling Clerks
        3. Assisting the CRO with oversight of the operation of all polls during the Polling Periods of all Electoral Events
        4. Assisting the CRO in the preparation and execution of the All-Candidates’ Meeting
        5. The Preparation of any informational materials and packages for approval by the CRO
        6. Verifying Nomination Forms for all Electoral Events
        7. In conjunction with the CRO and one (1) additional voting member of the ERC, serve as a scrutineer for the initial viewing of results of all Electoral Events after its associated Polling Period
  5. Role of the President in Electoral Events
    1. In addition to those duties and responsibilities specified in the by-laws, policies, and procedures of the Federation of Students, the President shall oversee the marketing and promotions of all Electoral Events and shall aim to maximize member engagement in all Electoral Events
    2. In the event that an incumbent President is or wishes to be a candidate in an upcoming Electoral Event, the duties and responsibilities set herein shall be delegated to another Executive or Officer at the discretion of the ERC.
      1. Unless expressly permitted by the Students’ Council, the President shall always remain impartial and unbiased in all Referenda, and shall not serve as a member of any Referendum committee.
    3. The President’s duties and responsibilities as it pertains to Elections and Referenda shall include the following:
      1. Serving as a non-voting resource member of the ERC
      2. Publicizing and promoting all Electoral events operated by the Federation of Students1

5. By-elections and Referenda Outside of the General Election & Referendum Period

  1. For an Electoral Event occurring outside of the Annual General Election, the Nomination Period shall ordinarily only occur during the following periods
    1. Between May 1st and August 31st of each year, inclusive
    2. Between the beginning of the third (3rd) Full Week of September to the end of the first (1st) Full Week of October
  2. Under extraordinary, or otherwise extenuating, circumstances Students’ Council may call an Electoral Event outside of the guideline provided above
  3. It is recommended that each phase of an Electoral Event be conducted at minimum in accordance with the following guidelines:
    1. Nomination Period: 7 days
    2. Interim Period: 2 days
    3. Campaign Period: 5 days
    4. Voting Period: 3 days
      1. At least two (2) days of the Voting Period shall occur on full business days of the Corporation.
      2. The voting period is recommended to coincide with the end of the Campaign Period
  4. Handling of Vacancies on Students’ Council
    1. In accordance with Policy 55: Society Presidents and Designates on Council, the appropriate constituency society may select a designate to serve in a pro tempore capacity on the Students’ Council to fill a vacancy until such time as a by-election has determined the elected candidate to fill such a vacancy
    2. Section E(1) of these procedures shall ordinarily be used to determine the timing of By-elections to fill a vacancy of one or more seats on Students’ Council
  5. Handling of Executive Vacancies
    1. In accordance with Policy 56: Selection and Vacancies of Directors, in the event of a vacancy of an Executive, the Board may determine an appropriate course of action until such time as a By-election called by Students’ Council is carried out. Such a course of action may include, but are in no way limited to, the following:
      1. Appointing an Executive pro tempore to fill the role
      2. Leaving the role vacant, and dividing the responsibilities thereof amongst the Directors as it deems necessary
    2. Section E(1) of these procedures shall ordinarily be used to determine the timing of By-elections to fill Executive vacancies.
    3. In the event that one or more Executive seats continue to remain vacant after the Annual General Election period, a By-election shall be called to fill these vacancies at the earliest possible convenience.
      1. Notwithstanding the above, and given Section E(6)(a) of these procedures, the decision to call a By-election should be made in consideration of the current capacity and remaining resources of the Corporation and its departments to do so.
  6. Handling of Vacancies of Undergraduate Seats on the University Senate
    1. Section E(1) of these procedures shall ordinarily be used to determine the timing of By-elections to fill a vacancy of one or more undergraduate seats on the University Senate
    2. In the event that one or more undergraduate seats on the University Senate continue to remain vacant after the Annual General Election & Referendum period, a By-election shall be held to fill these vacancies before the May sitting of the Senate.

6. Allegations, Decisions, Penalties, Appeals

  1. Allegations
    1. By submitting an allegation form, a member of the University Community alleges that a candidate, campaign team or referendum committee, or any of Non-arm’s length party, has violated portions of this procedure, or any relevant by-law, policy, or procedure of the Federation of Students.
    2. General Rules for Submission of Allegations
      1. All allegations pertaining to an active Electoral Event shall be submitted in writing via an online submission form found on the Federation of Student’s website or main office. Allegations submitted via any other means will not be accepted.
      2. Normally, allegations must not be submitted anonymously, and all Complainants must agree to identify themselves to the ERO or CRO. Anonymously submitted allegations may be dismissed at the discretion of the CRO.
      3. Submissions of allegations will be accepted by the ERO until two (2) hours after the conclusion of the Polling Period. Any allegations submitted after this deadline will be considered for review at the discretion of the CRO.
    3. Once an allegation is received, the ERO shall notify the complainant(s) of its receipt
    4. Candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees shall be immediately notified by the ERO of any allegations made against them, and shall be permitted to present a defense or pieces of counterevidence against the allegation to the ERO. At the discretion of the CRO, the ERO may withhold information regarding the complainant from the respondent. All pieces of counterevidence and/or an accompanying defense shall be prepared and submitted no later than forty-eight (48) hours after being notified of an allegation.
    5. The ERO shall normally endeavour to process individual allegations and come to a ruling within seventy-two (72) hours of its receipt, but may take as much time as reasonably necessary where permitted by the CRO.
    6. All allegations shall be kept strictly confidential by all involved parties until a decision has been rendered and publicized by the ERO.
    7. The ERO reserves the right to dismiss any allegation which causes reasonable suspicion that the allegation was made Frivolously or Vexatiously or for purposes that violate, in letter or spirit, any portion of this procedure.
    8. Any candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee may file a grievance against an ERO or the CRO alleging failure to enforce procedure and uphold and apply rules fairly and equitably to the CRO or ERC, respectively. All such allegations shall be provided to the ERC for information or decision, respectively.
  2. Decisions
    1. The ERO shall separately inform the complainant and the respondent of their decision within two (2) hours of having made said decision, and shall make accessible to all members of ICER all documents associated with that particular allegation, and the rationale behind the ruling.
    2. The ERO shall, within four (4) business hours, inform the public of their decision after informing the complainant and respondent. At minimum, the ERO shall prepare for publication on the Federation’s website a listing of the allegation, including all parties involved, all relevant pieces of evidence, the decision of the ERO in light of the evidence presented, a summary of the rationale behind the decision, and the determined penalty
  3. Appeals
    1. After receiving the decision of the ERO, the respondent or complainant may appeal the decision to the CRO by submitting an online submission form found on the Federation of Student’s website or a completed, written form delivered to the main office.
      1. Appeals must be submitted to the CRO within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving notice of the decision of the ERO or within two (2) hours of the end of the polling period. Any appeals submitted after this deadline will be considered for review at the discretion of the CRO.
      2. Appeals shall be kept strictly confidential by all involved parties until a decision has been rendered and publicized by the CRO.
    2. A decision of the ERO shall be considered appealable if the appellant, which must either be the complainant or respondent named in the original allegation, is able to reasonably establish any or all of the following:
      1. There is evidence that a procedural error or a set of procedural errors were made significant enough to alter the final decision made by the ERO
      2. There is reasonable belief that portions of this procedure has been improperly applied in letter or spirit
      3. There is reasonable suspicion of bias during any portion of the decision-making process
      4. There is new information relevant to the original allegation that was not originally discovered or presented, especially pieces of information that could alter the final decision
      5. That the determined penalty exceeds the nature of the violation or offense
      6. That inadequate consideration was given to the provided evidence
      7. If a complaint was dismissed as Frivolous or Vexatious and the appellant believes themselves to have a reasonable case
    3. A decision of the CRO may be further appealed to the ERC if the appellant, which must either be the complainant or respondent named in the original allegation, is able to reasonably establish any or all of the requirements set out in the foregoing provision or requests independent review by the ERC.
    4. The appellant must include in their appeal, the following information:
      1. All relevant case information, such that the CRO or ERC, as the case may be, will be able to accurately identify the allegation in question
      2. A description of and the reasoning for appeal, including grounds for appeal.
      3. A description of what the appellant(s) are seeking
      4. All relevant documentation to supplement or support the above
    5. The CRO shall immediately notify the ERO or ERC, as the case may be, the respondent and the complainant that an appeal has been received.
    6. Within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving the appeal, or twelve (12) hours after the end of the polling period, the CRO or ERC, as the case may be, shall make its decision. The CRO or ERC may, in consideration of all evidence gathered and presented, do any of the following:
      1. Uphold the original decision
      2. Alter the penalty of the original decision, within the limits of this procedure
      3. Refer the ERO or CRO, as the case may be, to review a decision in light of new information or with consideration to a specific section of this procedure
      4. Overturn the decision and present an alternate ruling, thereby eliminating the decision’s penalties so received
    7. All rulings rendered by the ERC with respect to a further appeal of a decision made by an CRO shall be final.
    8. Notwithstanding any provisions within this section, the ERC shall be empowered to initiate a review of any decision of the CRO or ERO at any time until the conclusion of the Electoral Event.
  4. Penalties
    1. The ICER and its agents shall have the discretion to assign demerit points for confirmed allegations made against a candidate, campaign team or referendum committee not exceeding those limits stipulated in section F(5): Demerit Point Schedule.
    2. Candidates or campaign teams shall have a maximum of ten (10) demerit points. If a candidate receives eleven (11) demerit points or more, they shall be disqualified from the election, thereby voiding their candidacy and forfeiting 100% of their potential reimbursement for incurred campaign expenses2
    3. Referendum committees shall have a maximum of ten (10) demerit points. If a referendum committee receives eleven (11) demerit points or more, they shall be disqualified from the referendum.
      1. Any referendum committee disqualified for any reason shall not be reimbursed for any referendum expenses and shall be prohibited from further campaigning. The committee will be required to remove all posters and campaign materials, and shall not participate in public forums. The ICER and its agents will not set up interviews with newspapers, or any other forms of campaigning as decided by the CRO. Upon disqualification and during the polling period, signs will be posted and the Federation’s website will be updated, informing voters of the disqualification
      2. Notwithstanding section F(4)(c) and section F(4)(c)(a), the referendum option associated with a disqualified referendum committee shall remain on all ballots.
  5. Demerit Point Schedule Any penalty that would singularly and immediately disqualify any candidate or referendum committee must be confirmed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the ERC
    Violation Penalty (maximum penalty, per infraction)
    Spending over the allotted budget 2 points for every $15 over the allowable3 budget, rounded up
    Purposefully and significantly misrepresenting a candidate’s own character or statement(s), or the character or statement(s) of another candidate, campaign team, or committee 10 points
    Impersonation of another candidate or committee 11 points
    Campaigning outside of campaign period 2 points, up to a maximum of 8
    Speak to or email a class without the permission of the instructor 2 points
    Directly providing a method of voting to voters during polling period, or campaigning to a voter while voting 3 points
    Distribute money, drugs, or alcohol, or any other form of bribery, for campaign purposes 11 points
    Enter into contractual obligations4 with any group(s) on or off campus that may affect the Federation of Students during their term in office 11 points
    Lying to, or intentionally misleading ICER or its agents regarding matters pertaining to their role(s) or allegations and appeals 11 points
    Making a public allegations that another candidate, campaign team or referendum committees has violated any rules before a decision has been delivered and made public by the commission or its agents 5 points
    Receiving or soliciting funding or monetary equivalent from students or other individuals. 8 points
    Receiving funding and staff, volunteer, or material support from external political/advocacy organizations or external unions/associations (e.g. funding from CUPE, CFS, OUSA, or other schools’ student associations) No fewer than 11 points
    Serious breach of democratic process (e.g. intentionally compromising ballots, etc.) 11 points
    Minor5 contravention of the spirit, or indirect or implicit violation of these or any other relevant bylaw, policy or procedure of the Federation of Students 6 points
    Major5 contravention of the spirit, or indirect or implicit violation of these or any other relevant bylaw, policy or procedure of the Federation of Students 11 points
     
  6. Budgets and Spending Limits
    1. Spending limits for all Electoral Events shall be the following:
      Seat Spending Limit (Canadian Dollars)
      Councillor  
      Single (1) Candidate 150
      Two (2) Candidates 180
      Three (3) Candidates 200
      Four (4) or more Candidates 200 + [10 x (Total Candidates - 3)]
         
      Executive  
      Single (1) Candidate 375
      Two (2) Candidates 400
      Three (3) Candidates 425
      Four (4) or more Candidates 450
         
      Senator  
      Faculty Candidate 150
      At-large Candidate 250
      Referendum Committee 500
    2. In accordance with Senate Bylaw 3, all campaign costs for undergraduate senatorial candidates seeking Senate membership shall be borne by the candidate and will not be reimbursed by the University of Waterloo. The senatorial candidates may request reimbursement for all campaign expenses through the ICER.

      1. Declaration of Campaign Expenses

        1. Candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees must submit to the CRO and ERO a complete, categorized listing of all campaign expenditures with accompanying receipts no later than the End of Business one (1) day after the end of the polling period. Photocopies or non-original receipts of expenditures may be accepted at the discretion of the Federation of Students’ Accounting Department or Vice President, Operations and Finance

        2. Candidates or referendum committees that do not have any expenditures are still required to indicate to the ERO that no campaign expenses were incurred. Written or electronic communication to this effect is sufficient to satisfy this provision.

      2. Spending Limits for Candidates Seeking Multiple Positions

        1. The spending limits stipulated in Section VII(a) may not be combined. An individual may use the greatest spending limit available to them, and must still submit a complete, categorized listing of campaign expenditures, which includes expenditures shared for both positions sought.

      3. Rules Regarding Reimbursements

        1. Upon receipt of a candidate’s, campaign team’s, or referendum committee’s listing of campaign expenditures, the CRO or ERO shall tally and prepare a cheque request totaling all approved campaign expenses which shall be made payable to the candidate, or to a representative member of the campaign team or referendum committee.

        2. In case of disagreement, the CRO shall have final say as to what will be considered a campaign expense.

        3. The Fair Market Value of all donated or significantly discounted campaign materials and gifts-in-kind will be assessed by the ERO or CRO and will count towards the candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee’s Spending Limit.

          1. Notwithstanding the above, only the net cost incurred to acquire a product or service will be reimbursed.

        4. Candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees accruing three (3) or more demerit points in any Electoral Event shall receive a reimbursed amount reduced by the following amounts:
           

          Accrued Demerit Points Reimbursement Reduction
          0 0%
          1 0%
          2 0%
          3 20%
          4 30%
          5 40%
          6 50%
          7 60%
          8 70%
          9 80%
          10 90%
          11+ 100%


          ​​​​

  7. Nominations & Nomination Period

    1. During the nomination period, Nomination Forms shall be made available in the Federation of Students office and on its website. Nomination forms and informational packages shall normally be reviewed and approved by the CRO prior to an Electoral Event.

    2. Any undergraduate member of the Federation of Students may run for any Executive or Students’ Council position.

      1. Executive Seat

        1. Nominations for Executive positions shall require the signature of the candidate and the signature of, at minimum, one hundred (100) members of the Federation of Students.

        2. Nominations for an Executive position shall also require the candidate to indicate their agreement to the following statement: “I understand that, as an Executive, I will be expected to balance the best interests of the undergraduate student body and those of the corporation. I understand that, if elected, I will be required to complete Conflict of Interest Declaration forms and to follow all other responsibilities indicated in Council and Board Procedures, as well as the policies and bylaws of the Corporation.”

      2. Students’ Council Seat

        1. Nominations for a Students’ Council position shall require the signature of the candidate as well as the signature of, at minimum, twenty-five (25) other members of the Federation of Students from the appropriate constituency.

        2. Nominations for a Students’ Council position shall also require the candidate to indicate their agreement to the following statement: “I understand that, as a Councillor, I will be expected to act in the best interests of my constituents. I understand that, if elected, I will be required to complete a Conflict of Interest Declaration form and to follow all other responsibilities indicated in Council Procedures and the Corporation’s bylaws”

      3. University Senate Undergraduate Seat

        1. Nominations for an undergraduate faculty seat on the University Senate shall require the signature of the candidate as well as the signatures of twenty-five (25) other members of the Federation of Students from the appropriate constituency

        2. Nominations for an undergraduate at-large seat on the University Senate shall require the signature of the candidate as well as the signatures of one hundred (100) other members of the Federation of Students.

    3. Submitted nomination forms shall not be open for public inspection. However, the names of nominated candidates shall be public.

    4. All team names and their associated Identifying Marks are subject to approval by the Chief Returning Officer or designate with the following criteria:

      1. Team names cannot be similar, to the point where a reasonable voter would confuse one with another,

      2. Teams shall not unreasonably associate themselves with the branding of the University of Waterloo or the Federation of Students, including any colours or mascots thereof, and may not outright assume the colours of any constituency for the purposes of election to that constituency, and

      3. Team names should not include overly offensive language.

    5. If more than one team submits a nomination form with the same name, the team that first submitted a completed nomination form shall have right of that name

    6. The CRO, or designate, with the assistance of the RPO, shall check the validity of each Executive, Councillor, and Senate nomination form.

      1. Qualifications for undergraduate members of the University Senate are set out in the bylaws of the University of Waterloo Senate.

      2. The CRO, or designate, shall additionally inform the University Secretary of the validity of each Senate nomination form.

    7. If a nomination is found to be invalid, the nomination shall be rejected and the candidate shall be notified. Candidates may correct and resubmit rejected nomination forms, provided that they are successfully resubmitted by the end of the second (2nd) business day following the close of the Nomination Period.

    8. Unopposed Candidates

      1. Executive Candidates

        1. If, by the conclusion of any Election or By-election Nomination Period, there is only one nomination for any Executive position the members who submitted the valid and complete nomination forms for seats for that Executive position shall be subject to a confirmation vote during the Polling period of the same Election or By-election. For such a case, eligible voters shall be given the chance to vote “yes”, “no”, or abstain for that candidate. The candidate shall be elected to that Executive position if the number of “yes” votes exceeds the number of “no” votes.

      2. Students’ Council Candidates

        1. If, by the conclusion of the General Election Nomination Period, the number of nominations for any Students’ Council position is less than or equal to the number of seats available for that position, all members who submitted valid and complete nomination forms for seats for that Students’ Council position shall be subject to a confirmation vote during the Polling period of the same Election. For such positions, eligible voters shall be given the chance to vote “yes”, “no”, or abstain for each candidate. A candidate shall be elected if the number of “yes” votes exceeds the number of “no” votes.

        2. If, by the conclusion of a By-election Nomination Period, the number of nominations for any Students’ Council position is less than or equal to the number of seats available for that position, all members who submitted valid and complete nomination forms for seats for that Students’ Council position shall be subject to a confirmation vote during the Polling period of the same Election. For such positions, eligible voters shall be given the chance to vote “yes”, “no”, or abstain for each candidate. A candidate shall be elected if the number of “yes” votes exceeds the number of “no” votes.

      3. Undergraduate Senate Candidates

        1. If, by the conclusion of any Election or By-election Nomination Period, the number of nominations for any undergraduate Senate position is less than or equal to the number of seats available for that position, all members who submitted valid and complete nomination forms for that undergraduate Senate seat shall be subject to a confirmation vote during the Polling period of the same Election. For such positions, eligible voters shall be given the chance to vote “yes”, “no”, or abstain for each candidate. A candidate shall be elected if the number of “yes” votes exceeds the number of “no” votes.

    9. Exclusivity

      1. A member of the Federation of Students may not run concurrently for two Students’ Council positions. This shall be taken to include the candidacy of an Executive concurrently with that of a Councillor. Additionally, members of the Federation of Students may not concurrently run for or hold two positions with Students’ Council within the same governing year.

      2. Members of the Federation of Students running for an Executive position or Students’ Council seat may concurrently run for any one undergraduate vacancy on the University Senate unless prohibited by the Chief Returning Officer of the University.

    10. Special Rules Concerning Incumbents

      1. Anyone holding a paid, unpaid, elected, or volunteer positions within the Federation is expected to continue to execute the duties and responsibilities required of their current roles during all Electoral Events.

      2. Candidates, members of Referendum committees, and Non-arm’s length parties are not permitted to use their position(s) to gain advantage in elections. This includes, but is not limited to:

        1. Use of official social media for campaign purposes

        2. Abuse of powers of office to influence voters (e.g. promising or awarding of prizes or money).

      3. No Council meeting may be held during the campaign or voting period, with the exception of Committees as needed. Exempting the Executive and Elections & Referenda Committees, it is not recommended that committees meet during the campaign or voting periods unless required for expedient execution of business. It is further recommended that no Board meetings be held during the campaign or voting period.

      4. Candidates who are members of the Internal Funding Committee and the Internal Administration Committee are expected to take a leave of absence during the Interim, Campaign, and Polling periods.

      5. The Board of Directors may overturn the above and require an Executive to carry out specific duties pertaining to their role, as necessary, with notice provided to the CRO for the same.

  8. All-Candidates’ Meeting & Interim Period

    1. The Interim Period of any Electoral Event is intended to allow all candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees to prepare and finalize their campaigns and campaign strategies. Absolutely no campaigning may occur during this period, and until the beginning of the Campaign Period. This provision shall be strictly enforced by the CRO.

    2. During the Interim Period, the CRO and ERO shall hold a meeting to explain the rules for the election, by-election and/or referendum. At this meeting, the ERO shall, at minimum, distribute summaries of the most recent version of the Elections and Referenda Procedure and other documents to candidates and committees, as well as how to obtain other informational resources.

    3. All candidates and committee members are required to attend this meeting in person or online, or send a proxy on their behalf to receive the necessary information and documentation.

      1. The ERO must be notified forty-eight (48) hours prior to the meeting if a candidate or committee member is unable to attend or send a proxy on their behalf.

      2. It is then the candidates and/or committee’s responsibility to thoroughly read the Procedures and notify the ERO that they have read, understood, and will abide by all rules and regulations.

      3. Candidates and committee members will be prohibited from campaigning until they have satisfied the above requirement.

    4. A mailing list of all candidates, campaign committees, and all campaign support persons shall be created by the CRO. The list shall additionally be made available to the ICER and its agents, and shall be used to communicate important updates to all candidates, and their agents and supports as necessary. It is the responsibility of each candidate and campaign committee member to ensure that they are receiving all elections- and referenda-related communications from the ICER and its agents, that they are kept apprised of important updates, and that they report any problems they might encounter in this regard to the EROs immediately.

  9. Campaign Rules & Regulations

    1. Campaigning may consist of, but is not limited to, any and all activities undertaken by an individual candidate, a campaign team, a campaign committee, or a non-arm’s-length party that serves to influence voters in favour or in opposition of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or referendum position during an Electoral Event. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

      1. Promotion of a candidate’s or campaign team’s candidacy during an Election or By-election

      2. The distribution and/or posting of any and all forms of advertising or communication likely to influence voters towards a particular candidate or Referendum option;

      3. Speeches, rallies, or any other form of public demonstration or campaigning.

    2. The following is not considered campaigning:

      1. Publicly declaring an intention to run in an upcoming Election;

      2. Wearing branding associated with a team or Referendum position;

    3. All candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees shall publicly declare, and have readily available a listing of, all members of their campaign, including their agents and supports, for the entirety of the Campaign Period. In addition to holding a physical listing, the aforementioned list shall additionally:

      1. Be posted in an easily accessible location on the Federation of Students website, and on the candidate’s, campaign team’s, and referendum committee’s website, if applicable.

      2. Be readily available for inspection if requested by any member of the Federation of Students

    4. Physical materials such as posters, signs, and banners, are permitted at the discretion of University of Waterloo Plant Operations. As such, there are restrictions to these materials to ensure compliance with Plant Operations. At any time, candidates may receive notice either directly from Plant Operations or from the ERO requiring alterations to physical materials.

    5. All printed campaign materials will not be hung up on walls or surfaces with harmful materials, this includes, but is not limited to, duct tape, glue, etc.

    6. The CRO shall provide all candidates with a digital copy of the official Federation Elections logo, which shall be used on all election-, referendum- and campaign-related materials. The CRO, in consultation with appropriate marketing staff, shall obtain permission from University of Waterloo Plant Operations to physically post campaign and elections-related materials on campus for the duration of the Campaign Period, and shall notify all candidates of applicable posting restrictions and requirements.

    7. Candidates, campaign teams, and referendum committees shall be responsible for ensuring that all social media postings organized by the candidate, their campaign team or their committee follow the rules outlined in this procedure.

  10. Polling Procedures & Regulations

    1. The voting period for any Electoral Event shall last at least forty-eight (48) hours.

    2. Each vote shall have the value of one (1) and shall represent a unique, eligible voter

    3. The CRO, in conjunction with the RPO and Marketing Specialist for Elections, shall decide where to place physical polling stations on the University campus during each election cycle. The CRO will endeavor to place polling stations in areas frequented by sizeable concentrations of undergraduate students and ensure that the locations of polling stations will allow equitable access to students from each faculty.

      1. Each physical polling station shall be set up to accept physical paper ballots, and include portable electronic devices to allow voters to submit online ballots

      2. There shall be at least one physical Polling Station during any Electoral Event, and at least one physical Polling Station shall be situated in an easily accessible location within the Student Life Centre

      3. Societies are expected to make at least one online polling station available in a location of their choosing, upon request of the Federation of Students. Societies that are reasonably unable to comply with this request should notify the CRO of the same.

    4. Polling Stations for the General Election will be held in various locations on the University of Waterloo main campus for the duration of the Polling Period.

    5. The Elections & Referenda Committee shall have the power to extend the voting period no more than seventy-two (72) hours beyond the date and time previously established, in the event of extenuating circumstances where inclement weather, mass power or internet connection failures occur during elections, or similar, which, in the measure of the committee requires extension to ensure fair and equal right to suffrage.

      1. In the case of a voting period extension, if there are not adequate resources for staffing a polling station (e.g. polling clerks unavailable), the requirement for a polling station is waived.

    6. No member of the ICER, save only the CRO, may have access to live polling data during the polling period that is not generally accessible to all members of the Federation.

    7. Electronic & Paper Ballots

      1. Ballots for elections, whether electronic or paper, shall list, in random or alphabetical order, the preferred name(s) of the candidates, surname(s) first, if applicable. If a candidate has declared their affiliation with a particular Campaign Team, the Team name should also be listed, in parentheses, following the preferred name(s) of the Candidate.

      2. The CRO, in conjunction with the IT Department of the Federation of Students, shall ensure that electronic ballots are functional prior to the first day of the Voting Period

      3. Each paper ballot shall be uniformly marked with a distinctive sign that indicates its validity.

    8. Online Voting Platform

      1. The online voting platform shall be usable only by members of the Federation of Students.

      2. The online voting platform shall ensure that voters cannot cast more votes than they are entitled to cast.

      3. The online voting platform shall use the list of voters prepared by the CRO, in conjunction with the RPO and IT Department, to validate voters.

      4. The online voting platform shall provide immediate feedback to voters about the status of the ballots that they have cast.

      5. The online voting platform shall allow a voter to decline the ballot.

      6. The online voting platform shall store each vote and the time that the vote was cast in an electronic medium.

      7. Votes cast shall not be traceable to the voter who cast them.

      8. The results of the electronic vote shall be stored in a non-electronic medium.

    9. Voting Methods and Eligibility

      1. For all elections and by-elections, votes shall be tallied using Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV) for single-seat elections and by-elections, and BC Single Transferable Vote (BC-STV) for multi-seat elections and by-elections.

      2. For Senator elections and by-elections, each full member of the Federation shall be eligible to vote once in for each constituency in which they are registered, and once for at-large candidates.

    10. Members Unable to Vote Online

      1. Voters who are not on the list of voters approved by the CRO and could not successfully vote online shall, if they can show that they are members of the Federation of Students or a constituency thereof, be eligible to vote via paper ballots at a physical polling station during the Voting Period.

    11. Polling Stations

      1. Polling stations shall be staffed by two (2) polling clerks.

      2. Polling clerks shall act impartially and shall not show or promote bias towards any candidate, campaign team, or referendum committee during any Electoral Event in their capacity as a Polling clerk, even if those opinions are solicited.

      3. Physical polling stations shall have at least one electronic device that is connected to the Internet.

      4. Polling clerks may assist voters with online voting, but are prohibited from voting or casting a vote on behalf of another voter, except where requested to do so by a voter for the purposes of a physical accommodation.

    12. Voting at the Polling Station

      1. Paper ballots shall be counted and signed out by the Chief Returning Officer at the start of the polling period and counted upon their return.

      2. To vote by paper ballot, students must present a valid University of Waterloo student ID card.

      3. Polling clerks shall initial ballots for qualified electors.

      4. The voter shall mark the ballot in private, seal the ballot within a marked envelope provided by the Polling Clerk, and place it in the ballot box under the supervision of the polling clerk.

      5. A voter who has received a ballot and returns it to the polling officer declining to vote forfeits the right to vote and the polling officer shall immediately write the word "declined" upon the back of the ballot and preserve it. The declined ballot is to be returned to the CRO, who shall note it in the official vote count.

      6. If a voter marks the ballot incorrectly, the student may request another ballot. The polling clerk must, under the scrutiny of the student, destroy the original ballot immediately but must keep a record of destroyed ballots.

    13. Counting Ballots

      1. The CRO, one (1) additional voting member of the ERC, and RPO shall be responsible for overseeing the counting of paper ballots.

      2. Only the CRO, the voting member of the ERC named above, and the RPO shall be present during the counting of paper ballots.

      3. A paper ballot shall be considered spoiled if:

        1. It is not obvious which candidate or option was the voter's choice;

        2. It is not initialed by a polling clerk;

        3. Any marks signifying the identity of the voter are present; or

        4. It is not appropriately stamped.

      4. All paper ballots shall be retained until the ratification of the election; at which time they shall be destroyed in accordance with this procedure. Spoiled ballots shall be held separately, and the number of spoiled ballots shall be reported by the CRO with the announcement of election results.

      5. Any candidate or committee shall be entitled to a recount of the paper ballots if they request it from the CRO within seventy-two hours of the announcement of the election results.

      6. Following the counting of the ballots, the ERC shall issue a statement certifying the election and its fair conduct (known as the ‘unofficial results’). Unofficial results f shall be published on the Federation’s website within two (2) Business Days following the conclusion of the Polling Period and shall by noted as unofficial results, pending ratification.

      7. All disputes regarding the counting of ballots shall be received by the Elections & Referenda Committee (ERC) via the CRO and shall be settled before the ratification of the results of the electoral event(s) in question.

      8. Notwithstanding any portion of these procedures, the results of any and all Electoral Events shall remain unavailable and inaccessible until the conclusion of the Polling Period, save only for the CRO.

    14. Ties

      1. Normally, in the event of a tie, a run-off vote will be held as soon as is practical, in which only those candidates or referenda options with the most votes will be eligible.

      2. Otherwise, in any Electoral Event where all members of the Federation of Students may vote, the CRO shall hold their ballot for the duration of the polling period. If, at the end of the Polling Period, there exists a tie, the CRO shall determine the result of the vote with their ballot.

      3. Notwithstanding these provisions, the Students’ Council may, prior to the beginning of any Electoral Event, determine the method by which a tie is handled, and may choose to hold a vote of Council in the event of a tie. In such a case, Councillors maintain the right to vote in the election and in the vote of Council.

    15. 15. Rules for Candidates and Committees During the Polling Period

      1. Candidates, campaign volunteers, and referendum committees may still campaign during the polling period

      2. Candidates, campaign volunteers, and referendum committees are not permitted to provide a mechanism of voting (e.g. laptop, tablet, phone) to any eligible voters

      3. Candidates, Non-arm’s length parties, and referendum committees shall not be present and shall not in any way influence a voter’s decision while a voter is in the process of voting

    16. Ratification of Results

      1. Results of all Electoral events shall only be finalized and considered official once confirmed at the next available General Meeting of the Corporation or meeting of Students' Council.

      2. Ratified results shall be provided to the Secretary of the Corporation as soon as reasonable following ratification.

  11. Referenda

    1. Scope

      1. The purpose of this section is to outline additional rules and regulations that specifically concern referenda hosted by the Federation of Students. Unless explicitly stated, all rules and regulations that normally govern Elections and By-elections conducted by the Federation of Students shall also apply to referenda endorsed and conducted by the Federation.

    2. General Rules for Referenda:

      1. A referendum, other than a recall referendum, may be initiated by any one of the following methods:

        1. Requisition or Petition as defined in the bylaws;

        2. A General Meeting;

        3. Students’ Council;

        4. The President; or,

        5. The Board of Directors.

      2. A referendum pertaining only to a constituency may also be initiated in accordance with the constituency Society’s governing documents, provided the referendum shall only concern and impact members of such constituency, and shall not alter the nature of the relationship of such constituency with the University of Waterloo, the Federation of Students or other constituencies thereof6.

      3. Exempting requisitions or petitions for referenda from the membership, referenda shall not normally be called for any matter that can reasonably be considered or approved by the Students’ Council, unless referred by Council to ballot.

      4. Only members of the Federation of Students, as outlined in the by-laws of the Federation of Students, may be a member or chairperson of an ERC-approved referendum committee. Only members of referendum committees may campaign on behalf of a referendum position.

      5. In accordance with section J(4) of these procedures, the chairperson of each committee shall publicly declare, and have readily available a listing of, all members of their campaign, including Non-arm’s length parties, for the entirety of the Campaign Period.

      6. Rules governing referendum campaigns shall not impede any officer or member of the corporation from carrying out duties reasonably incident to their portfolio.

      7. Recall Referenda

        1. In accordance with the bylaws, a recall referendum of an Executive may be initiated only by a petition signed by at least 2900 or ten percent (10%), whichever is fewer, of the voting members of the Federation of Students.

        2. A recall referendum of a Councillor may be initiated only by a petition signed by at least 500 or ten percent (10%), whichever is fewer, of the voting members of the respective constituency of the Councillor as defined in the bylaws.

        3. All recall referenda are subject to the following:

          1. The question of all recall referenda shall be “Should [name] be removed from the office of [office]?”;

          2. The results of a recall referendum do not carry unless the number of votes in favour of removing an Executive or Councillor is at least the number of votes cast in favour of electing that Executive or Councillor in the most recent Election or By-election;

          3. All recall referenda shall be ratified by Students’ Council, however recall referenda for the removal of an Executive shall not be ratified without the Board of Directors first providing reasonable assurance of the continuity of day-to-day operations of the Federation of Students to the Students’ Council;

          4. Ratification for recall referenda shall not be unreasonably withheld by Students’ Council; and,

          5. Notwithstanding normal Elections & Referenda Procedures, polls during a recall referendum shall be open for no fewer than seventy-two (72) hours.

      8. Requisition or Petition Process for Referenda

        1. A petition shall be considered valid if it collects the number of signatures required by the By-laws, and if it is submitted within the same academic term as when it was reviewed, excluding those signatures found to be invalid. Unless explicitly exempted by ERC or Students’ Council, petitions with signatures collected in a previous academic term must be reviewed and re-approved.

        2. All petitions to hold a referendum must be submitted in writing or electronically and must include, at a minimum for each signatory, the following information:

          1. Name,

          2. University of Waterloo Student ID,

          3. Program,

          4. Term,

          5. University of Waterloo email,

          6. Date signed, and

          7. Signature or electronic equivalent;

        3. The CRO, or a suitable designate, shall ensure the validity of the petition and of each signature upon the submission of the petition. Validity of digital and physical signatures will, at a minimum, require legibility, accuracy and completeness of the petition contents listed above, and membership of the signatory in the Federation of Students. The submission of a petition, and the collection of signatures for the petition must be completed within the same academic term, unless otherwise permitted by ERC or the Students’ Council. If any of these conditions is unmet for a signatory, their signature will be considered invalid for the petition.

        4. Electronic and physical petitions must clearly state the general nature of and intent for the referendum, any proposed text for ballot questions being requested, and a reasonable effort shall be made to inform each potential signatory of the above prior to their signing of the petition.

        5. All remaining valid signatories of petitions shall be sent an official email from the CRO, or a suitable designate, confirming that they indeed signed this petition and did so of their own free will. If any signatory replies in the negative, then their signature will not count towards the required number for the petition to be considered valid.

    3. Referenda Questions

      1. If a petition garners the necessary number of valid signatures under the above conditions, the Elections & Referenda Committee will be responsible for interpreting the text and spirit of the petition and, if appropriate, selecting an appropriate, unbiased Arm’s-length party to consult on writing an unbiased question for the resulting referendum.

        1. The Committee will normally strive to develop positively-worded questions that are simple and may be answered in a clear “yes” or “no” manner, where “yes” denotes agreement with the spirit of the question.

        2. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Council may draft, reject, or otherwise amend any language for a referendum developed by the Elections & Referenda Committee provided at least one-third (1/3) of Councillors file a notice with the President or Speaker of Council for the same. Upon receipt of such a request, the President or Speaker shall promptly call a special meeting of Council for consideration of the item.

      2. If a referendum is initiated in any way other than a petition, then the Elections & Referenda Committee will be responsible for interpreting the text and spirit of the proposed question and if appropriate selecting an appropriate, unbiased Arm’s-length party to consult on writing an unbiased question for the resulting referendum.

      3. The text, method of voting, and timeline for all referenda approved or developed by the Elections & Referenda Committee, or another committee or body as charged by Council, shall be subject to approval by Council before the measure proceeds to ballot.

      4. If Council deems a proposed referendum question not to be in line with any law, bylaw, procedure, or policy, or deems it to be misleading, open to misinterpretation, discriminatory in any way against any group of students, factually incorrect, or unrelated to matters of the Federation, and they cannot amend it to be compliant with these criteria, then Council shall not ratify such a referendum and the Board of Directors shall not include within any General Meeting agenda the ratification of such a measure.

    4. Polling Period for Referenda

      1. The rules concerning the polling period for all referenda shall be congruous with those for General Elections, unless otherwise determined by Council. Generally, referenda conducted by the Federation of Students shall always be congruous with the by-laws.

      2. Normally, Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV) will be used as the voting method of all referenda in which a single outcome is required. BC Single-Transferable Voting (BC-STV) will normally be used as the voting method of all referenda in which more than two (2) outcomes are permissible.

      3. Votes in referenda will be tallied according to the voting methods above, with the option receiving the most votes declared the winner.

    5. Quorum of Voters

      1. Quorum for any referendum question open to all members of the Federation of Students shall normally be 5% of the total membership of the Federation of Students. In addition, the Students’ Council may separately determine the quorum for any question, in an amount not less than 5% of the membership of the Federation of Students, provided the level of quorum is commensurate with other similar referenda questions.

      2. Normally, in the event that a question impacts only a particular voting demographic7, and not the entirety of the membership of the Federation, only those parties shall be queried. Quorum for any such referenda questions shall normally be 5% sum total of those members, unless otherwise determine by the Students’ Council. If a constituency Society has determined quorum requirements, they must meet this minimum standard or receive exemption on a case-by-case basis from the Students’ Council.

    6. Ratification of Referenda Results

      1. All referenda conducted by the Federation shall normally be ratified by the Students’ Council. Referenda occurring in conjunction with the General Election may be ratified by the next available General Meeting.

      2. All referenda of a constituency Society may be ratified by the Students’ Council, however, such referenda shall normally be ratified in accordance with the Society’s governing documents.

      3. Ratification shall not be construed as consideration of the outcome of a referendum, but rather agreement that the referendum and ballot for the question was conducted in a fair and accessible manner.

      4. Ratification for referenda shall not be unreasonably withheld by Students’ Council; any such refusal or failure to ratify must be justified and provided in writing to the membership and posted across the Federation’s media platforms.

        1. In the event of failure or refusal of Council to ratify the results of a referendum, the ICER will conduct a review of the referendum, the polling process, and any peculiarities that may have warranted such action and provide a summary report to Council. The results of such a review shall be similarly made public.


1 This clause covers all Electoral Events endorsed and executed by the Federation, and should not be construed to mean all votes hosted on the Federation’s electronic platforms and executed by other student groups.

2 See Section G of these procedures for additional information on reimbursement reductions.

3 See Section G of these procedures for a full listing of budgets

4 As distinguished from a campaign promise

5 The ERO or CRO shall have discretion in determining if a violation is minor or major based on the other described violations.

6 Students’ Council reserves the rights to ratify any such referendum itself and to quash the execution of any such referendum if it has already been ratified by the constituency Society, but shall not do so unreasonably.

7 E.g. A referendum may involve only part time students or members of a particular constituency.