Election Policies

Adopted as policy by the SEJ board on April 5, 1997. As amended on July 3, 1999; September 15, 1999; January 25, 2003; and March 20, 2004 and July 31, 2010.
These policies do not supersede any election rules contained in the SEJ bylaws. See bylaws for additional guidance.


General Provisions
Election Preparation
Election Process/Mail Ballots
Election Process/Regular Election
Miscellaneous Provisions

General Provisions

1. Form of Election. The election of SEJ board members and votes on bylaws amendments proposed by the SEJ board are accomplished by a combination of live balloting at the SEJ Annual Membership Meeting and absentee ballots returned either by mail by a deadline set by the elections committee or electronically by the end of live balloting at the SEJ Annual Membership Meeting.

2. Quorum. Absentee ballots shall count towards establishment of a quorum at the annual meeting, but only with regard to those election matters included on the mail ballots. If any issues are brought to the floor for a vote at the annual meeting, a quorum (10 percent of members eligible to vote) must be established at said meeting for a vote to be valid.

3. Election Committee. The election shall be supervised by a three-member SEJ Elections Committee (the "committee") appointed annually by the SEJ Board of Directors (the "board") at the first board meeting of the calendar year. One member shall be an employee of the society and shall be primarily responsible for assuring that all notices and ballots are properly prepared, delivered in a timely fashion, and kept secure. The other two members shall be members of the society who are not currently serving on or running for the board. All committee members must be able to attend the annual membership meeting.

4. Duties of Secretary. The board secretary shall be an ex-officio member of the Elections committee, serves as liaison between the committee and the board, and is responsible for assuring that the actions of the committee are consistent with the requirements of the SEJ bylaws.  In the event the secretary is standing for re-election to the board, the secretary's designee for that election cycle shall serve as the board's ex-officio representative on the Elections committee. This shall not preclude the secretary from performing duties required by the bylaws, such as issuing notice of the time and location of the annual meeting or alerting the board to any actions of the Elections committee that may be inconsistent with the bylaws.

Back to the top

Election Preparation

1. Call for Candidates. The Elections committee shall issue a call for candidates no less than 90 days prior to the date set for the annual membership meeting at which the election will be held. This notice shall be given roughly contemporaneously by email or by First Class US mail to all members eligible to hold office. Said notice shall list the number and terms of the positions expiring, the requirements of holding office, and filing procedures. Regardless of membership category, all members shall be informed of all vacancies in every membership category as part of the call for candidates. The filing deadline shall allow at least 45 days for candidates to respond, but permit sufficient time for the committee to prepare and deliver ballots. 

2. Notice. Members will be notified of the Call for Candidates by electronic mail unless they request otherwise or do not have a viable email address on file with SEJ. The Elections committee will follow up the initial notice with a subsequent notice on the SEJ-Member Notification listserv before the deadline for filing a notice of the candidate's intention to run for the board. The Call for Candidates will also be posted on SEJ’s members-only web page and may be posted on the home page as well.

3. Candidate Filings. Qualified members shall file as a candidate by submitting to the committee, care of the Elections Supervisor, a brief, signed letter declaring their interest in representing their membership category (Active, Academic, Associate) on the board. Candidates must also submit a statement, limited to a single side of an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of paper, outlining their qualifications and objectives for holding office. The one-page statement may take any printable form but must be easily reproducible for distribution with the ballots. Failure to comply with said policies will result in disqualification.

4. Voter List. The committee shall prepare a list of eligible voters who are members in good standing as of 40 days prior to the annual membership meeting but not on or before the deadline of members to respond to the call for candidates. Ballots shall be made available only to persons on the eligible voter list.

Back to the top

Election Process/Mail Ballots

1. Ballots. The committee shall prepare a ballot for each category of director listing candidates in alphabetical order when using paper ballots and random order when using electronic ballots, with a box next to each name for casting a vote. In the event the board has proposed one or more amendments to the bylaws, the appropriate language shall also be included on the ballots, with boxes for both "yes" and "no" responses.  Voting instructions shall be listed at the top of the ballot. To protect against the counterfeiting of paper ballots, the Elections committee may employ appropriate means such as the selection of certain papers having unusual colors or watermarks.

2. Review. Prior to distributing the ballots and election information, the board secretary shall review the ballot and other materials included to assure the information complies with the bylaws and election policies.

3. Ballot Distribution. Ballots shall be made available no more than 35 days prior to the annual meeting, and shall close at least two hours before the beginning of the annual membership meeting to allow time for the election supervisor to check off electronic votes on the eligible voter lists. Electronic votes must be counted against the voter lists before onsite voting begins. Paper ballots will be mailed instead of electronic ballots to members upon request. Any member requesting a paper ballot shall be removed from the electronic ballot distribution list. Distributed materials shall include at a minimum:

A. The appropriate ballot for each member’s membership category.

B. Instructions for finding the candidates’ statements on the SEJ Website and/or on the ballot site; or, if the member has requested, a paper copy of each statement.

C. A summary of the rationale for any bylaws amendment(s) proposed by the board. The president of the society, or president's designee, shall draft such explanation. In the event the board of directors is split on a bylaws issue, the mailing may include more than one explanation/argument reflecting the differing perspectives.

D. Instructions and materials necessary to return a valid secret ballot (see Section 4 below) within the specified deadline. The instructions shall also advise members not to cast an absentee ballot if they intend to attend the annual membership meeting.

E. A message from the secretary announcing the date, time and location of the annual membership meeting. Said message may, as deemed appropriate by the committee, contain additional information about the annual meeting or the election. Pursuant to SEJ bylaws, said notice must be delivered not less than 10 nor more than 50 days prior to the annual membership meeting.

F: The elections committee shall email reminders to eligible voters who have not yet voted.

G: In the interest of keeping all SEJ members fully informed about the business of the society, ballot materials for all members shall include information about all candidates and issues on that year’s ballot, regardless of their membership category or status: Active members shall receive information on candidates for Associate and Academic seats, Associate members shall receive information on candidates for Active and Academic seats, and Academic members shall receive information on candidates for Active and Associate seats.  Honorary members and other members not eligible to vote (either because they joined SEJ after the deadline to be eligible to vote, or because they are in arrears with dues at the deadline to be eligible to vote), shall nonetheless receive copies of all election materials.

4. Secrecy. The committee shall take care to assure the secrecy of all ballots. Paper ballots mailings should include a "ballot" envelope and pre-addressed "return" envelope. In order to both determine eligibility and preserve secrecy, members voting by paper absentee ballot will be instructed to place their completed ballot in the envelope stamped "ballot" and seal it, after which the ballot envelope should be placed in the pre-addressed return envelope. The return envelope shall contain an area on the back on which the member is instructed to both legibly print and sign their name.  Precautions shall be taken to ensure the security of the electronic ballot process such that only eligible voters may vote, that each member votes only once and that voter selections cannot be seen by elections staff.

5. Processing Absentee Ballots. The Elections supervisor will collect returned paper ballots at a designated mailbox and bring them to the annual meeting. The elections committee will meet at least two hours before the annual membership meeting is convened to count absentee ballots. For paper absentee ballots, if the name appearing on the outside of the envelope is deemed to be illegible by a majority vote of the Elections committee, the ballot shall not be counted. Mailed and electronic ballots must be marked as votes on the Voter List prior to the opening of polls at the Annual Membership Meeting. 

6. Security. Both the election list and paper ballots shall remain in a secure place under supervision of the elections supervisor, who will be charged with bringing both to the annual meeting.

Back to the top

Election Process/Regular Election

1. Live Ballots. The committee shall prepare ballots for use during the live election held at the annual membership meeting. The contents of said ballots shall be identical to those used for the paper absentee ballot. Electronic Voting may take place at the annual meeting, with computers set up for voting and a list of log-in information available to voters as needed. Each voter will have a unique log-in, which will be released to each voter only as he or she approaches the voting area.

2. Official Postings. The committee shall see that the candidate statements and information regarding any proposed bylaws amendment are conspicuously posted near the location of the annual meeting no less than one hour prior to the start of the meeting. Said material may also, at the committee's discretion, be posted at other locations when the annual meeting is conducted in conjunction with the SEJ annual conference.  No other material may be posted by or about the candidates or ballot issues at this official location. The committee may, but is not required to, designate other locations at or near the meeting site at which candidates may post other election materials.

3. Presiding Officer and Assistants. The committee shall designate a committee member to preside over the live election at the appropriate time during the annual membership meeting. The committee may also select a limited number of assistants to help with tasks other than the direct handling or counting of ballots or ballot log-in information.

4. Candidate Oral Statements. Each candidate present for the election shall make a statement of up to 2 minutes regarding her or his qualifications and reasons for seeking election. In the event that a candidate for office is unable to attend the annual meeting, the candidate may request another member in good standing to read a two-minute statement prepared by the candidate on behalf of the absent candidate. However, the candidate who is unable to attend the meeting and makes such a request must notify the election supervisor or chair of the Elections committee in advance of the meeting, providing a bona fide reason for the absence such as sickness, family problems, work assignments or other reasons preventing such attendance. This statement will become part of the record of the annual meeting. Once the polls are open, there will be no campaigning in the room designated for balloting.

5. Floor Nominations. Floor nominations are not allowed.

6. Distribution of Ballots. Once the presiding election official announces the opening of the polls, the committee members, seated at an appropriate place, shall direct the distribution of the ballots and record who has received a ballot. Only those members who have not already voted by mail or online will be eligible to vote on site.

7. Opening of Polls. The polls shall remain open for at least 30 minutes or until all those waiting to vote are served. Each voter shall place their paper ballot in the official ballot box containing the unopened mail ballots or will cast their ballot via computer. The presiding election official shall give 5 minutes advance notice of the closing of the polls, after which the committee shall retire to tabulate the paper and electronic votes.

8. Tabulation Process. Prior to tabulating the vote, the committee shall count the total number of ballots against the number of names checked off the master voter list to make sure the two coincide. Any discrepancy must be resolved before the returns are certified. The committee shall employ vote-counting procedures that assure true and accurate results, and shall permit up to two independent observers to watch the vote tabulation. Any election in which the margin between a winner and loser is fewer than five percent should be automatically recounted before results are announced.

9. Tie Votes. In the event of a tie vote for the election of directors, the tie will be broken by a secret ballot of the sitting directors. The losing candidate shall for a period of one year be given first priority should the SEJ board need to fill a vacancy on the board on an interim basis. (See bylaws for related election provisions regarding vacancies and un-expired terms.) In the event of a tie vote regarding a proposed bylaws amendment, the amendment would fail.

10. Un-expired Terms. When one or more of the open director positions is the remainder of an un-expired term, the winning candidate(s) with the higher vote total(s) will fill the regular, three-year term(s), while the winning candidate(s) with the lowest vote total(s) will fill the shorter-term position(s).

11. Announcement of Results. The results of the election, signed by the committee, will be submitted to the board secretary (or the secretary's designee, if the secretary is a candidate) and the names of the winning candidates announced during a subsequent general attendance event at the annual conference. The names of the winners will also be published in the society newsletter and posted on the SEJ web site as soon as possible. Vote totals are not announced at the annual meeting but shall be posted during the annual conference and recorded in the minutes of the annual membership meeting.

Back to the top

Miscellaneous Provisions

1. Protests. In the event of a formal protest or challenge to the election, the committee shall review the matter and submit its recommendation to the board for action. If the outcome of an election is changed materially, the board may call a special election.

2. Adoption. These election policies are adopted by the board and may by revised by a majority vote of the board, pursuant to the SEJ Bylaws. The membership of the society shall receive due and adequate notice before the board adopts any significant and material changes to the election Policies.

3. Powers. The Elections committee is empowered to make such decisions as required to assure the smooth conduct of the election, but it must advise the board of any material changes in the way the election is conducted. The secretary or designee of the board shall act as liaison between the board and the committee.

4. Terms. Members of the Election committee are appointed at the first board meeting of each calendar year and serve for one regular election cycle, with their terms automatically expiring one month after the completion of the regular election. The terms of committee members may be temporarily extended by vote of the board should the committee need to review a protest or challenge. Members of the committee may be reappointed in subsequent years.

5. Removal. The members of the Elections committee serve at the pleasure of the board but during the course of an election can only be removed by a three-fourths majority vote of the board members in attendance at an official board meeting.

6. Elections Committee Guidelines. Members should be aware that in addition to this document that has been adopted by the SEJ board, there is in addition a document called "Election Guidelines." This document is prepared by the Elections Committee to supplement, but not supplant, the Policies and serves as a document to assist the committee in the conduct of the election. It is an advisory document only.

Back to the top