Elections Rules Document

Article I Definitions

I. Mudslinging: The attempt to damage an opponent’s reputation based on insults or false information.

II. Slander: the action of purposefully making false accusations to damage another candidate or student’s reputation.

III. Campaigning: the operation undertaken for promotion and/or solicitation to achieve election to said position.

IV. Cyberbullying: the use of any electronic device to bully or harass another person.

VI. Elections Board: The Elections Board shall oversee the Student Government Association elections.

VIII. Elections Chair:

a. This role will be filled no later than the second week of the Spring semester. During the first returning Body meeting nominations for Elections Chair shall occur, followed by a vote by placard to determine who shall serve as chair. The Elections Chair must be a Student Government Representative and may not be running for an presidential executive ticket position during the upcoming election.

b. During this time the Elections Chair will be excused from prior committee responsibilities, their main focus at this time will be on elections duties.

c. The Elections Chair of the Student Government Association will have the responsibility of planning events pertaining to the elections such as, advertising upcoming elections, planning polling events, scheduling debates or open discussions for Presidential candidates, and mediating student organizations endorsement requests.

V. Harassment: consistent aggressive nature towards another candidate.

Article II Candidate Requirements

I. All candidates must comply with the rules outlined by the Student Code of Conduct.

II. Candidates must run an ethical campaign; mudslinging and attacks on other candidates, campaigns, organizations, or individuals will not be tolerated. Candidates and their campaign are subject to review by the Elections Board and Student Conduct.

IV. Candidates for Representative positions must submit a declaration of candidacy form providing their Y-number, college, major(s), status, and GPA. The candidate must be in good academic standing with an overall GPA equal to greater than a 2.5 and will be able to fulfill the requirements of the desired position should the candidate obtain the sought position.

V. The Presidential and Executive Vice President candidates must run as a ticket, those students must:

i. File a petition of one hundred fifty (150) full or part-time, graduate or undergraduate student names and ID numbers. This petition may be filed via electronic mechanisms (CampusGroups).

ii. The Declaration of candidacy shall require the student to provide their Y-number, college, major(s), status, and GPA. The candidate must be in good academic standing with an overall GPA greater than a

2.75 and will be able to fulfill the requirements of the desired position should the candidate obtain the sought position.

VI. No persons that have been impeached by the removal process outlined in Article X of the YSU Constitution be eligible for election, appointment or re-appointment

Article III Campaigning guidelines

I. Candidates are permitted to campaign in off-campus locations but must ensure to the best of their ability that these events are made aware and accessible to the student body as a whole as well as other candidates.

II. Any campaigning material being hung in campus buildings must first be approved by student activities. Only candidates themselves may bring their campaign posters and signs to be approved.

III. Other campaigning items that are permitted include but are not limited to, t-shirts, pins, stickers, sidewalk chalk, and electronic campaigning materials.

IV. Approved materials may be displayed in any on-campus location so long as it abides by University Policy.

V. Promoting a candidate or soliciting votes in any academic classroom is prohibited.

VI. Posting materials around campus on trees, lamp posts, doors, or any exterior building is prohibited.

VII. Candidates will not create campaigning material that violates the code of conduct, insights violence, or violates YSU’s non-discrimination notice.

IX. Candidates may not campaign within two hundred (200) feet of a polling location.

X. Candidates must abide by the following provisions in posting materials on campus:

a. Candidates are held responsible for all of their approved campaign material. Approved materials shall be displayed in any location so long as such a posting is in compliance with University policy.

b. Items to be displayed as posters must be no larger than eight-point-five (8.5) by eleven (11) inches.

c. Candidates shall not post approved materials until 8am on the returning day to classes following the conclusion of Spring Break.

d. Negative campaigning or “mudslinging” is not appropriate through any media (including but not limited to: posters, flyers, stickers, email, social media). Issues may be discussed candidly, but personal attacks on candidates are not tolerated. Candidates, as well as campaign teams, should be mindful of their potential liability in making statements that may not be able to be fully supported with factual evidence.

e. All candidates must be aware of the specific guidelines of each building on campus in which the candidate is campaigning. All campaigning and campaign materials must abide by all University policies.

Article IV Campaigning in Student Organizations

I. Student lead groups may only endorse Presidential Tickets.

II. University sponsored groups, such as athletics, may not endorse a Presidential Ticket or campaign on the candidate’s behalf.

III. Presidential Tickets may not campaign on student organization time such as during meetings and sponsored events outside of an allotted two (2) minutes given if an organization is endorsing a candidate.

IV. For a student organization to officially endorse a Presidential Ticket they must file a request to the Elections Chair to endorse a candidate. The Student Organizations must then set a time for a meeting to endorse the Presidential Candidate. At this meeting two (2) minutes of speaking time will be given to each candidate. Concluding the speeches, a vote by members of the organization will be taken. A two thirds (2/3) majority of the total membership of the organization is needed to confirm the endorsement of a candidate.

V. The Elections Chair is responsible for the overseeing of candidate endorsement. They must ensure that two (2) minutes of speaking time are given to each candidate and ensure that a two thirds (2/3) majority was held by the winner.

VI. When an official endorsement is made the organization will now be able to use the candidates’ campaigning materials and the candidate will be able to acknowledge said organization in their campaign materials. All rules from the Elections Rules, Student Code of Conduct, and University Policies will still apply to these materials.

VII. The Presidential Candidates are fully responsible for any campaigning done by an organization that has officially endorsed them.

VIII. A candidate shall not use any student organization’s funds to support their campaign.

Article V Social Media Guidelines

I. Candidates are permitted to use social media for campaigning under the following circumstances:

a. Social media accounts are made public

b. Social media does not make any unwarranted outreach to students

c. The social media account abides by all University policies as well as policies put forth by the platform being utilized.

I. Any electronic campaigning messages or emails must have the option to unsubscribe from the senders list.

II. Candidates shall not campaign in a manner that violates University policies, as outlined in The Student Code of Conduct.

Article VI Timeline

I. 3rd week of the Spring Semester: elections chair shall be planning events and advertising for the election.

II. 5th week of the Spring Semester: declaration of candidacy shall be made available on Monday.

III. 6th week of the Spring Semester: declaration of candidacy shall be submitted by 5pm EST on Thursday.

IV. 7th week of the Spring Semester: all candidates must attend one of the Elections Rules Meetings sponsored by the Elections Board and Student Government Association held for two consecutive days. Candidates will be notified by the Dean of Students if they are ineligible to run (see Article II for eligibility requirements).

V. At 8am of the first day of classes returning from Spring Break: students may begin campaigning and posting materials.

VI. 12th week of the Spring Semester: the adviser of the Elections Board or designee shall open polls for two consecutive days for the student body to elect, from among those certified candidates, their representatives in the Student Government Association.

Article VII Election Procedures

I. The Elections Board shall have the jurisdiction to oversee all elections for Student Government Association President and Executive Vice President, Legislative Assembly representatives, and Academic Senators, as well as campaigns for student-sponsored legislation.

II. The Elections Board has the power to enforce all election rules established by the Student Government Association and to impose sanctions on those candidates who violate the rules and the rulings of the Elections Board.

III. The Elections Board shall set the timeline for the candidate verification process as deemed appropriate. This timeline will be based off the method used for petitions, while considering deadlines for elections.

IV. Membership

a. The Elections Board shall consist of one (1) advisor, one (1) member from the Dean of Students, as well as five (5) student members and one (1) alternate. Members will be appointed based on their ability to perform the tasks delegated to them in a professional, unbiased and accurate fashion. The members will be chosen from both the Student Conduct Board and the Student Academic Grievance Subcommittee.

b. The Associate Director of Student Conduct, in their role as advisor, shall be granted the same rights and privileges as members of the elections board, including engagement in discussion, but will not be permitted to vote on any matter. The Associate Director of Student Conduct will herein be referred to as the adviser. All other members of the Elections Board may vote on any matter. Decisions will be made based solely on a simple majority of the vote.

c. Any Youngstown State University undergraduate or graduate student may serve on the Elections Board, with exception to those who are seeking an elected position within the Student Government Association, including the Academic Senate, during the upcoming regular election. Furthermore, appointees to the Elections Board will be vetted by the adviser for any conflicts of interest that would arise. An individual may not serve on the board if conflicts of interest arise.

d. The Elections Board shall not convene for any purpose unless a majority of the Commissioners and the adviser are present. If necessary, the Elections Board may vote on any matter via private email correspondence. The adviser shall be included in any such discussion but will not be permitted to vote on any matter.

V. Independence

a. An independent and honorable Elections Board is indispensable to promoting student body confidence in the Board. Members should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct and personally observe those standards to preserve the integrity and independence of the Board. The provisions of these By-Laws are to be construed and applied to further this objective.

b. Any student, faculty, or staff may bring charges of partiality or impropriety against any Elections Board member to the Office of Student Conduct. Any charges must be filed in writing to the Associate Director of Student Conduct, who will present it to the member of the Elections Board in question.

c. After the presentation of evidence and testimony against the member and the member is granted a fair amount of time to rebut the accusations made against them, the Associate Director of Student Conduct, with the advice and consent of the Associate Vice President for Student Experience, will form a decision on whether to remove the member from the Board. The decision of the Associate Director of Student Conduct is final, and such removal will qualify as a vacancy and will be treated as enumerated in Section 1, subsection 3.

VI. Election Rules Meetings

a. All candidates, after attending one of the Election Rules Meetings, must sign a statement acknowledging that they have read and fully ascribe to the election rules. This shall be required to be certified as a candidate by the Elections Board.

b. All members of the Elections Board shall be present at the Election Rules Meeting. Once made aware of the identities of the members, a candidate may bring charges of partiality or impropriety against any member of the Elections Board. The candidate must file the charges in writing to the Associate Director of Student Conduct, within 24 hours of the Election Rules Meeting which they attend. Within the written charges, a candidate must provide a clearly outlined reason to remove the member from the Board. The Elections Board member in question will be granted 24 hours from the time notified of the accusation, to rebut the charges filed against him or her. Once the time for accusation and rebuttal has elapsed, the Associate Director of Student Conduct, with the advice and consent of the Associate Vice President for Student Experience or equivalent, will form a decision on whether to remove the member from the Board. The decision of the Associate Director of Student Conduct or equivalent is final, and such removal will qualify as a vacancy and will be treated as enumerated in Section 1, subsection 3.

c. If an Associate Commissioner position is vacated, then the adviser shall appoint the alternate member as an Associate Commissioner. If the Commissioner position is vacated, then the remaining Associate Commissioners shall appoint a new Commissioner from amongst themselves, and the vacated Associate Commissioner seat shall be filled by the alternate member. If the adviser vacates his or her position, the Associate Vice President for Student Experience, equivalent, or designee, shall fill the vacancy.

d. Submission of a declaration of candidacy constitutes an agreement to accept all Elections Board decisions, except as provided in Article VII, Section 2, 4(b), 4(c), and 4(d), of these By-Laws.

e. All candidates are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of the Student Government Association body meetings during the week of the spring semester.

f. Only those students whose declarations of candidacy, petitions for President and Executive Vice President have been verified by the Division of Student Experience shall be certified as candidates for the position that they are seeking and are permitted to campaign for that position. While soliciting signatures for their petitions, candidates may discuss their own platforms but may not discuss the platforms of any other candidates.

VII. Voting procedures

a. The Elections Board will be the sole provider of ballots for any election and will be responsible for ballot security.

b. During online elections, a student voting will be responsible for the proper spelling of their name, YSU email E-mail address, student ID number, and their personal PIN number.

c. Following the closure of the polls, the Elections Board will access the results of the online election. No persons other than the members of the Elections Board may be present at the counting of votes

d. After the online poll has been closed, the Elections Board will certify the vote count in the contested races. These certified vote counts shall be sealed by the Elections Board, who shall be their sole overseer.

e. All ties shall be determined by lot, as designated by the Elections Board in consultation with the candidates.

Article VIII Grievance Procedures

I. Any student may file a grievance to the Elections Board against an individual for violation of any election by-law or University Policy. All grievances must be filed online using the appropriate form located on the Student Government website (sga.ysu.edu) no later than eighteen (18) hours following the closure of the polls. All grievances warranting a hearing will be made available to the public for the sake of maintaining transparency. Sensitive or personal information of the filer will be omitted. Grievances must contain the following:

a. The name(s) of the individual(s) filing the grievance, heretofore referred to as the “petitioner”.

b. The name(s) of the individual(s) against whom the grievance is being filed, heretofore referred to as the “respondent”.

c. The rules which the respondent(s) is alleged to have broken, and,

d. A description of how and when the respondent(s) allegedly violated those rules.

II. Following the receipt of a grievance, the Elections Board shall convene to determine whether the grievance warrants a hearing. If it does, the Elections Board shall notify the respondent(s) that a grievance has been filed within twenty-four hours (24) and that a response to the grievance must be filed with the Elections Board no later than forty-eight (48) hours before the scheduled hearing. The respondent shall receive a copy of the grievance.

III. The seventy-two (72) hours prior to the scheduled grievance hearing will be divided in the following way: within the first forty-eight (48) hours, both petitioner and respondent must compile all relevant grievance materials and forward them to the Elections Board, and the final twenty-four (24) hours are given to allow both petitioner and respondent time to review the opposing side’s materials.

IV. A hearing shall be scheduled no sooner than seventy-two (72) hours following the notification of the respondent(s).

V. The Elections Board shall oversee and adjudicate all hearings. Each party shall be permitted to have advisement during these hearings.

VI. Both parties are given the opportunity to reschedule the grievance hearing one (1) time, if a scheduling conflict would arise in regard to the initial date. The rescheduled hearing must occur within three (3) business days of the initial hearing date. Rescheduling is only warranted for a family emergency, a medical emergency, or for unavoidable academic reasons. If either party’s adviser is unable to attend the initial hearing, this does not warrant a rescheduled hearing. Furthermore, if either party’s witness(es) are unable to attend the initial hearing, this also does not warrant a rescheduled hearing. If a party’s witness is unable to attend the hearing, written testimony from the absent witness(es) is permissible.

VII. The petitioners shall be permitted an amount of time determined by the Elections Board to present their case. They may present witnesses. Witnesses may be cross-examined by the respondents. The Elections Board may permit redirect and re-cross-examination, so long as both sides have an equal number of times to question the witness. The Elections Board may also question both parties and all witnesses.

VIII. Following the petitioner’s case, the respondent shall present their defense against the grievance and shall be afforded the same opportunities as the petitioner.

IX. Following the respondent’s case, both sides shall be permitted a short closing statement, with the length to be determined by the Elections Board.

X. Following the closing statements, the Elections Board shall recess the hearing and convene in private for the purpose of deliberating the judgment in the grievance. Any finding must be finalized within twenty-four (24) hours of the hearing. If the respondent is found to be responsible for the violations brought forth by the petitioner, then the Elections Board shall determine an appropriate sanction for the actions, including but not limited to the following: Removal of campaign literature; suspension of a candidate’s campaign privileges; removal of a candidate; cancellation or invalidation of any or all races; referral to the Student Judicial Board. Such sanctions shall be imposed to ensure the fair conduction of the election and restore any imbalance caused by the violations.

XI. The Elections Board shall have the power to impose such sanctions on any member of the Youngstown State University undergraduate or graduate community who violates election regulations. This includes campaign workers or supporters who have campaigned for another in any way.

XII. If a hearing is conducted, the Elections Board must file a finding that will be posted on the Student Government website for the sake of maintaining transparency. Sensitive or personal information pertaining to the students involved will be omitted.

XIII. Grievance hearings are separate from the University Judicial process and shall not preclude any further action that may be taken through the University Judicial process.

XIV. The scheduling of the grievance hearing is at the final discretion of the Elections Board and the adviser. This discretion does not extend to the privileges granted to both petitioner and respondent.

XV. Potential sanctions that may be determined on by the elections board include:

a. Removal of percentage of candidates vote ranging from 1% (one percent) to 7% (seven percent).

b. Suspension of social media accounts.

c. Suspension of advertising and campaigning (either indefinitely or concluding hearing).

d. Disqualification from race as a ticket.