Bylaws

Article I. Elections

Section I. Fundamental Principle

  1. The rules and procedures specified in this Elections Code shall apply to all United Vietnamese Student Association of Northern California (UVSA) Elections and are intended to supplement provisions of the UVSA Constitution and Bylaws pertaining to the conduct of the Elections. In the case of a “Special Election,” a special elections code will specify the procedures and rules for that election, as dictated by the Internal Vice President.
  2. All candidates shall be governed by the rules set forth in UVSA policies as identified in the current UVSA Constitution and Bylaws and the official UVSA Elections Code. These sources are listed in order of importance — for example, Constitution supersedes Elections Code — and will be the only sources on which the Elections Commission will make judgments.

Section II. Definitions

Throughout the Elections Code, the following terms are referenced. These terms are clearly defined below:

  1. Candidate: any individual who meets the qualifications as outlined in the UVSA Constitution and Bylaws and has successfully submitted and received approval for a candidate application
  2. Endorsement: any announcement or publication by an individual or organization in support of an office seeker with the intention of advancing the candidacy of that individual.
  3. Letter of Intent: the form available to candidates beginning January 1, 2010 that signals an individual’s intent to run for an elected position. Upon submission of this form, candidates will enter the research period where they may begin communicating with student organizations to create their platforms and to plan their campaign
  4. Research period: the period beginning once candidates submit their Letter of Intent and ending on 11:59 PM on Feb 27th, 2010.
  5. Campaign period: the period beginning at 12:00 AM March 1, 2010 and ending on 11:59 PM at April 3, 2010
  6. Campaigning: any unsolicited or solicited action taken to advance or promote a certain candidate, ticket, or slate.
  7. Voting Period: April 4th 2010

Section III. Elections Commission

The elections shall be overseen by the Elections Commission. The Commission shall be chaired by one of the current UVSA Executive Board. There shall also be at least three additional voting members called Commissioners.

  1. All commissioners, including the chair, are to be confirmed by the current UVSA Executive Board
  2. Removal of any commissioner must confirmed by the current UVSA Executive Board
  3. No member of the UVSA Elections Commission shall endorse, campaign for, make a contribution to, or in any other manner support any candidate(s) for any UVSA elected office.
  4. The Elections Commission will make decisions and levy sanctions in matters concerning ambiguities, questions, or violations of the Elections Code. The members of the Elections Commission shall have the power to warn, sanction, or disqualify a candidate in a uniform manner.
  5. Upon the charge of any violation of this Election Code, the Elections Commission shall employ the following guidelines in determining penalties:
    • The validity of the charge.
    • The severity and effect of the offense on the election
    • The intent of the offender and/or his/her campaign staff and the number of times this same violation has been found to be valid.
    • The cooperativeness of the offender and/or his/her campaign staff.
    • The number of violations the offender and campaign staff has been sanctioned against previously

Section IV. Candidate Eligibility Requirements

  1. Any voting member of the UVSA Executive Board, who is seeking election or re-election to any of the elected UVSA offices, cannot vote on matters pertaining to the Election Year after the first Sunday in April, excepting the passage of the Elections Code.
  2. No student shall hold or run for more than one elected UVSA position during any given election.

Section V. Notice of Candidacy

  1. All candidates running for an elected position in the UVSA Executive Board must submit a complete application with signature 7 days prior to elections. All components of the application must be enclosed in a sealed envelope to ensure confidentiality. Failure to submit a complete application prior to the deadline shall result in disqualification. Upon receipt of the application, the chair of the elections commission shall sign and date the envelope. Candidates will receive an e-mail confirmation upon the receipt and approval of their application within two business days
  2. Upon approval of the candidate’s application, the name of the approved candidate will be listed on the UVSA website to inform all interested parties of who is running
  3. Anyone withdrawing from the election must do so in writing to the Elections Commission.
  4. Candidates shall be considered official upon e-mail confirmation from the Elections Commission. Only upon receipt of e-mail confirmation will the introduction of candidates be permitted.

Section VI. Campaign Rules

  1. There shall be a campaign period prior to the Election starting at 12:00 AM, March 1, 2010 and ending on Saturday April 3rd, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Candidates and/or working for their campaign may not begin campaigning prior to the campaign period.
  2. All persons campaigning on behalf of a candidate must follow the campaign rules set forth in the Elections Code. All candidates are responsible for the actions of those campaigning on their behalf. Failure to adhere to the Elections Code shall result in sanctions on the candidates for whom the volunteers were campaigning, as determined by the Elections Commission.
  3. If a candidate finds out that someone who has campaigned on his or her behalf without his or her knowledge may have violated the Elections Code, the candidate should immediately do that which is in his or her power to end the actions potentially in violation of the Elections Code and document his or her effort if possible and notify the Elections Commission
    • Any person may still bring a charge against that candidate.
    • The Elections Commission will determine the ruling on such a charge according to the guidelines in Article III.D.
  4. All non-electronic visual campaign material must display the UVSA logo, to be provided with the application for candidacy.
    • Additional Materials: Any additional materials must be approved by the Elections Commission. Approval will not be given until a candidate submits a detailed write up including a description of material, proposed use, and design. Materials must be used in the approved manner; any additional or alternate use of these materials must be approved by the Elections Commission.
    • All visual campaign materials cannot contain language or visual material which (a) is abusive and/or insulting rather than a communication of ideas, and (b) is actually used in an abusive manner in a situation that presents an actual danger that it will cause a breach of peace.
  5. Any campaign material found in violation is subject to immediate removal, and/or sanctioning by the Elections Commission.
  6. No campaign materials may be stored, worn, or temporarily placed in the UVSA office
  7. Candidates must remove all campaign material by 11:59 p.m. on the Friday immediately following the election.
  8. All candidates must attend the mandatory candidates meeting and remain present throughout the entire duration of the meeting. Additional mandatory meetings may be announced by the Elections Commission, and all candidates shall receive e-mail notification of additional mandatory meetings at least 48 hours in advance.
    • If a mandatory meeting is missed, the absence will be reviewed by the Elections Commission, who will hear and vote on the legitimacy of the excuse and/or assess appropriate sanctions.
    • All candidates are also required to participate in an answer and question forum as determined by the Elections Commission
  9. The voting period shall be first Sunday of April, unless extenuating circumstances (as determined by the Elections Commission) arise.
  10. Candidates are responsible for any campaign party held on their behalf. Any violation of the Elections Code, UVSA Bylaws, or Constitution will result in sanctions as determined by the Elections Commission.
    • The consumption or distribution of alcohol at any event related to a candidate’s campaign (or which has any campaign materials present) is strictly prohibited.

Section VII. Candidate Endorsement

Campaign material may not imply, in any form, an endorsement by UVSA

Section VIII. Complaints and Protests

  1. The Elections Commission shall have original jurisdiction over complaints filed against candidates for violations of the Elections Code. The Commission must have a quorum of four Commissioners and the Chair of the Elections Commission to conduct business regarding complaints, infractions, and sanctions. No complaint will be accepted after 11:59 p.m. on day after elections.
  2. All complaints must be signed. Additionally, all complaints must specify the provision of the Elections Code the accused candidate(s) has/have allegedly violated. Complaints must contain factual evidence of an infraction of the Elections Code, including but not limited to photographs, photocopies of evidence, and signed statements of witnesses accompanied by contact information.
  3. After a complaint has been filed with the Elections Commission, the voting members of the Commission have 24 hours to decide whether to hear the case, and 48 hours to reach a decision from the time the complaint is filed. The Elections Commission will rule on whether or not to hear a case based on the provision of evidence that suggests a violation of the Code. In case of a deadlock, the Chair of the Commission shall make the final verdict, but shall not vote otherwise unless fewer than three commissioners are present.
  4. After deciding to hear a complaint case, the Chair of the Commission will notify all pertinent parties by email and will set a time and date for a hearing.
  5. Candidates shall have the right to hear a full statement of the complaint against them and to know the identities of those filing the complaint before the Elections Commission determines whether or not an infraction has taken place. All parties shall have the opportunity to confront the opposing party, to speak on their own behalf and produce witnesses on their own behalf before the Elections Commission determines whether or not an infraction has taken place.
  6. All verdicts and sanctions will be emailed to the involved parties and posted on the UVSA website within 24 hours of the deliberations.
  7. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff/complainant. All complaints lacking sufficient evidence will be judged as such.
  8. The (Co-)Directors of Elections and Recruitment have the official jurisdiction over all campaign issues.

Section IX: Sanctions & Appeals

  1. Any sanction given to a candidate may be appealed to the Elections Commission. The Elections Commission shall have 24 hours to decide whether or not to hear the appeal. If the Elections Commission decides to hear the appeal, it shall have up to two business days or three calendar days (whichever is shorter) from the time the appeal is filed to reach a decision.
    • All Appeals are to be submitted the Elections committee up to 48 hours after a decision has been issued
  2. All sanctions shall be determined by the Elections Commission in what they determine to be fair and just practices. All sanctions shall be proportional to the violation committed and shall remain consistent to the best of the ability of the Elections Commission. Possible sanctions include but are not limited to inability to participate in Campaign Period Activities, a temporary or permanent halt to verbal campaigning, removal of some or all campaign materials, and disqualification of candidacy.

Section X. Voting, Ballot Counting Requirements, and Recount

  1. Voting is limited to current ICC, with only one vote per position per school for any given elections period
  2. The Elections Commission shall supervise all ballot counting and recounts in accordance with the Official UVSA Constitution.
    • Elections Commission is required to be present while ballots are counted
  3. In the case of a runoff or other Special Election, the UVSA Executive Board will approve matters concerning the Special Elections Code. The results will be published in UVSA website.
  4. The results will be officially posted after all appeals and complaints have been closed.