Election process



IX-5.2.1: Filling of Positions

All Executive Board positions will be filled by election, except in the case of mid-year vacancies as detailed in Article IX, Section 8. Balancing the importance of continuity with the importance of giving as many students as possible the opportunity to participate, two elections may be held each year as detailed in the Bylaws: the first will be held by the end of the spring semester for the positions of President, Vice President, and the Functional Chairs for the following academic year; the second will be held early in the subsequent fall semester for the remaining Functional Vice-Chair positions.

IX-5.2.2: Requirements and Precedence

The Office of the Provost has set requirements for those filling Executive Officer positions, primarily for purposes of maintaining legitimacy with the schools and diversity of representation. In order to meet these requirements, the offices of the President and Vice President of HGC must be filled by individuals who are Voting Representatives during either the current academic year (i.e., the year during which the position will be held) or the immediately preceding academic year (i.e., the year during which spring elections are conducted), and they must hail from different graduate schools.

Precedence for all other Executive Officer positions will also be given to individuals who are Voting Representatives during the current or immediately preceding academic year, and a maximum of one student enrolled in an undergraduate program may hold an Executive Officer position, since Harvard Extension School undergraduate students are not represented by the Harvard Undergraduate Council. Precedence means that non-voting members of the HGC will not be allowed to run for a position for which a current or immediately preceding Voting Representative is running. If no Voting Representatives wish to run for these positions, any student enrolled in a degree program at one of the twelve graduate schools and not disallowed by a clause of the HGC Constitution or Bylaws is eligible. Precedence for school-designated Voting Representatives stems from the overarching goals of school diversity in the Executive Board plus campus-wide buy-in and recognition of the HGC and has been directed by the Office of the Provost.

IX-5.2.3: Election Procedures

Elections will be administered by the Vice Chair for Governance or a delegate, as determined by the President. Elections may only be held for one (1) position at a time. Details of the elections procedures will be established in the Bylaws.

            Legitimate criteria for choosing the best candidate include:

  1. personal character and qualification for the position,
  2. past productive experience with HGC,
  3. diversity among Executive Officers (variety in schools represented, demographics, and perspectives is desirable)
  4. ideas and vision for the position,
  5. teamwork and communication skills,
  6. available time and attitude of full commitment to the position,
  7. respectability within home school, as evidenced by status as a Representative to HGC or a member of that school’s student government.

Bylaws Section III-2: Elections

Elections should be conducted as follows:

  1. Elections will be presided over by the Vice Chair for Governance or a delegate, as determined by the President. The presiding individual should establish that quorum has been fulfilled prior to beginning the election process.
  2. Because they receive precedence, Voting Representatives must declare their decision to run for a position in advance by a deadline set by the President, which will be no earlier than three days prior to the meeting in question and no later than the start of the meeting. If not, they will not receive precedence or be eligible for election to the offices of President or Vice President.
  3. All candidates running for each position should be made known to the Council no later than the beginning of candidate statements for that position. During the election process, if the presiding individual or any other observer has knowledge that a candidate is ineligible to run due to a conflict with the Constitution or Bylaws (such as not being in good standing or an undergraduate student already filling an Executive Board position), she or he has a responsibility to raise the matter before the Council. If the matter is in dispute, election for that position shall be delayed until it can be clearly settled, by the Office of the Provost if necessary, and no later than the next HGC Council meeting.
  4. Positions shall be presented for election in order of their appearance in the Constitution and Bylaws. In accordance with the Constitution, elections will be held for the President, Vice President, and functional Chair positions in the spring, and elections will be held for the functional Vice Chair positions in the fall.
  5. Each candidate running for a position will be allowed up to three (3) minutes to make his or her case for election.
    1. Candidates must first state their name, school affiliation, and degree program;
    2. Candidates may answer questions from the Council, at the discretion of the presiding individual. It is recommended that all candidates be given the opportunity to answer any single question presented.
  6. Voting will be conducted via secret ballot, either digital or paper. Each Voting Representative will cast one (1) vote, for a total of twelve (12) votes.
    1. Two trustworthy individuals will tally the votes.
    2. For the spring Executive Officer elections, this will be the most senior outgoing Executive Officer and an outgoing Voting Representative on the HGC who is not on the Executive Board
    3. For the fall Executive Officer elections, this will be the Vice Chair for Governance and the Vice President.
    4. For elections that fall outside the regularly scheduled elections, the selected of the individuals to tally the votes will be left to the discretion of the incumbent HGC President and Vice President.
  7. The candidate that receives a simple majority of votes from among all Voting Representatives present will be declared the winner.
    1. In the event no candidate receives a majority of votes, a runoff will be held between the two candidates who received the most votes until there is a winner.
    2. Additional questions from the Council may be taken at the discretion of the presiding individual, who will ensure that time is properly budgeted.
    3. No tie-breaking votes will be permitted.
  8. If a candidate runs for a position and is not elected to it, she or he may run for other positions later in the same day or election period. However, if the individual is a Voting Representative, she or he must run on equal footing with any other candidates and shall not be given precedence.