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Elections Code


The purpose of this elections code is to establish standardized procedures for the conduct of faculty elections. In matters of discretion or circumstances not covered by these rules, it is the intent that all election procedures shall be as open, fair, and democratic as possible.


  1. The ACADEMIC SENATE holds ultimate responsibility for the conduct of all elections involving faculty, including Department Chairs, Senate Executive Committee members, and other elections as necessary.
  2. The ACADEMIC SENATE recognizes that the office of DEPARTMENT CHAIR is an administrative position and that department chairs are responsible to the SUPERINTENDENT/PRESIDENT OR DESIGNEE, OF THE COLLEGE in the performance of their administrative duties.
  3. The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, acting under the authority of the senate, is responsible for the timely and proper conduct of elections.
  4. The SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE shall appoint two persons to serve as the SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE.
  5. The SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE shall conduct the actual elections, as directed by and under the supervision of the president of the senate.
  6. The ADMINISTRATION of the college is requested to include this Elections Code in the annual edition of the Faculty Resource Guide.
  7. Individual senate committees (e.g. AP&P) shall conduct their own elections for their committee chairperson, as directed by and under the supervision of the president of the senate. Term of office for senate committees shall be two years unless determined otherwise.

Voter Eligibility

Eligible voters for campus-wide elections shall be tenure-track faculty (including Willie Brown, and reduced load). Eligible voters for Department Chair must also be permanently assigned to the department in which the election is being held. ABSENT FACULTY MEMBERS: Ballots shall be sent to the campus mail box of instructors on medical, pregnancy, or sabbatical leave, or administrative leave, or to their home address, if requested. Such individuals shall have the right to participate in faculty elections. Department chairs will ensure that such individuals are made known of their right to participate in elections. Such rights are not extended to persons on full leave of absence. The chairperson of the Senate Elections Committee shall maintain a current LIST OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS. The list shall be periodically reviewed and approved by the president of the senate.

Recording of Election Results

  1. The chairperson of the Senate Elections Committee shall maintain a permanent FACULTY ELECTIONS LOGBOOK. The results of all elections shall be immediately recorded in the logbook. The logbook shall be retained as a permanent record of election results. Information to be recorded shall include all of the following, plus any additional information considered relevant:
    • Identification of election held
    • Date of the election
    • Names of all candidates
    • Number of votes received by each candidate
    • Length of term
    • Person notified of results (i.e., college superintendent/president, senate president)
    • Signature of the person who conducted the election
  2. Information contained in the election logbook shall be open for review and inspection by any faculty member.

Procedures for Election of Department Chairperson

  1. Policy: Each department of the college shall have the choice between electing its department chair, subject to the approval of the superintendent/president and appointment by the board of trustees, or requesting that the administration appoint a department chair, In the event the department is unable to elect a chair, the superintendent/president will appoint one.
  2. Procedures:
    1. All elections for department chairperson shall be conducted by the Senate Elections Committee and in the presence of a member of the Senate Elections Committee. No member of the Senate Elections Committee shall conduct an election for their own department. Upon unanimous approval by all department members (using their email account), when there is only one candidate, an election may be held electronically.
    2. A two-thirds quorum of eligible department faculty must be present to hold a department chair elections. All department chair elections shall be by secret ballot only. A simple majority of those voting will determine the result. Electronic elections are to be done using a tool that enable secrecy, and is tied to the voters' email accounts.
    3. All department members shall receive notice of the election at least two weeks in advance of the election. Notification to the department is the responsibility of the current department chair. Within the first four weeks of the Fall semester, the Election Committee will send a campus-wide email indicating which departments are due for chair elections, and make available the procedure for the holding the elections.
    4. No later than the end of finals week of the Fall Semester of the year of expiration of the term of office of the current department chair, each department should have completed the following:
      1. Choose between election and appointment of department chair.
      2. Determine by majority vote whether the new chair shall serve for two or three years.
      3. Hold an election, if selected.
      4. Regular elections shall not be held before the 9th week of the fall semester.
    5. In the event the department chooses appointment, the Senate Elections Committee chairperson shall immediately notify the college superintendent/president of the selection of the appointment option and whether the term shall be for two or three years.
    6. If the there is only one candidate, then the election shall nevertheless be conducted, using a YES or NO type response on the ballot. A majority affirmative vote shall be required to be elected.
    7. Signed absentee ballots or proxies will be accepted. Electronic absentee ballots/proxies sent to the Senate Election Committee from the voter's email address will also be accepted. A person teaching in more than one department shall vote only in that department to which the faculty member is permanently assigned.
    8. Should a tie vote occur, a second vote shall be taken immediately. If the second vote also ends in a tie, then another vote shall be taken a week later. If that vote is still a tie, another vote shall be taken immediately. If a tie vote still results, then the circumstances shall be communicated to the college superintendent/president who shall resolve the situation.
    9. Should a vacancy occur during the summer, the superintendent/president shall appoint a department chair to serve during the fall semester. The Senate Elections Committee shall conduct an election for replacement during the fall semester with the term to be determined at the time of election. Should a vacancy occur during the fall or spring semester, the standard election/appointment process will be held as soon as possible.

Procedures for the Conduct of Faculty-Wide Elections

  1. Nomination forms and ballots shall be distributed to each eligible voter by name via the campus mail or email system. Contested elections must be done by paper ballot. Nomination forms and ballots shall instruct eligible voters to return their forms/ballots to the chairperson of the Senate Elections Committee. Ample time shall be provided for voters to comply, giving due regard that some voters may be located at the Vandenberg AFB Center and the Lompoc Valley Center, or mailing ballots from home if on leave.
  2. Voting shall be by secret ballot. Ballots shall be returned within an envelope containing the faculty member's name. Ballots will be removed and the envelopes stored for future reference. Ballots will then be counted. The ballots should be designed in such a way that the voters name and their actual vote cannot be seen at the same time. Electronic balloting should be done in such a way to ensure the secrecy of the ballot.
  3. Nomination and ballot forms shall provide full and complete information concerning the office for which the election is to be held, including all of the following:
    • office to be elected
    • person to be replaced
    • continuing members of the committee, if any
    • length of the term
  4. Candidates may nominate themselves.
  5. Nomination forms shall not be accepted by the Senate Elections Committee unless signed by the nominee, thus signifying acceptance of the nomination.
  6. Nominations and acceptances may be made orally to the Senate Elections Committee.
  7. If the number of candidates for a committee or position is equal to the number of openings or positions, then the election shall nevertheless be conducted, using a YES or NO type response on the ballot. A majority affirmative vote shall be required to be elected.
  8. When several persons have been elected to fill an equal number of committee positions having unequal lengths of term, then that person receiving the most votes shall have the first choice of the length of term, and so on.
  9. The SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE shall not distribute additional ballots to any person who claims to have lost, misplaced, or failed to receive their ballot. Spoiled ballots may be exchanged. If sufficient irregularities are deemed to have existed, then the SENATE or SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE may invalidate the election and direct the SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE to conduct the election again.
  10. No information concerning the number of votes cast for various candidates shall be released to any person, including members of the Senate Executive Committee, until the election is over and all ballots counted.
  11. The chairperson of the SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE shall immediately inform only the senate president of election results. The senate president will make a general announcement of the election results.
  12. Nominations forms and election materials shall be distributed in such a matter that the election is completed by March 15 (the end of the 8th week of the spring semester).