The James Cook University Act 1997 (the Act), establishes a governing body, Council, with Membership Classes including the Elected Members class and prescribes that the Council must make a policy about the conduct of elections required under the Act.
The intent of this procedure is to provide guidance to those members of staff responsible for the conduct of Council elections and to outline procedures to assist in the implementation of the provisions contained in the Conduct of Council Elections Policy and the requirements of the new Division 3C: Council Elections, within Part 2: The University and its Council, which was introduced into the Act on 13 October 2017 concurrently with the repeal of Statute No. 2 – Conduct of Council Elections. It is also aimed at ensuring the public accessibility of the election policy, the integrity and security of the voting system and the openness and transparency of the election process.
This procedure applies to the conduct of elections required under sections 22F and 22O of the Act. It does not apply to appointments made by the Council to fill a casual vacancy in accordance with sub-section 22O(2), (4) or (6) of the Act.
The Elected Members consist of the following sub-classes:
(a) members of the academic staff of the University;
(b) members of the professional and technical staff of the University; and
Whilst this procedure applies principally to the returning officer, it also provides guidance to those persons belonging to the sub-classes listed above as well as to those other officers of the University who are engaged in the election processes.
See the Conduct of Council Elections Policy
The returning officer must determine the procedures for each Council election required to be conducted under the Act, including the following matters -
1. When determining the dates and times applying to elections, the returning officer should give consideration to the following:
2. The returning officer must determine the:
3. When determining the dates and times above, the returning officer must ensure that the period between:
4. When determining the dates and times above, the returning officer must ensure that the period between:
1. The returning officer, in addition to publishing a notice of election on the University’s website, must communicate that notice through appropriate communication and social media platforms.
2. The notice of election must:
1. The returning officer, after determining the valid nominations, must take appropriate action to either:
2. If, after the close of nominations, there are no nominations, the returning officer must notify the Minister of the failure to elect elected members, in order for the Minister to take action under section 22P of the Act.
3. If, after the close of nominations, the number of candidates is less than the number of positions to be filled, the returning officer:
4. If, after the close of nominations, the number of candidates equals the number of positions to be filled, the returning officer may declare the nominated candidates duly elected under section 7 of the Policy without conducting a ballot.
5. If, after the close of nominations, the number of candidates exceeds the number of positions to be filled, the returning officer must conduct a ballot under the Policy and this Procedure.
For each election, the Chancellor must appoint two persons to be scrutineers.
The ballot paper must –
(a) list the names of the candidates in an order drawn by lot conducted by the returning officer; and
(b) be in a form which enables an elector to indicate the elector’s preference for a candidate.
1. If the returning officer determines that a ballot is required then a Notice of Ballot, Ballot Paper, information about the manner in which a vote must be submitted and other appropriate information must be provided by the returning officer in accordance with the provisions of this Procedure.
2. In relation to the conduct of an electronic ballot, on the date prescribed for the activation of electronic voting, the returning officer must provide to each eligible elector a notice of ballot, via either an electronic mailing address recorded in the electoral roll or by a published notice on the University’s website, stating:
3. In relation to the conduct of a postal ballot, on the date prescribed for the activation of postal voting, the returning officer must provide to each eligible elector a notice of ballot, via the elector’s last known mailing address recorded in the electoral roll, which may be printed on the postal ballot paper, stating:
4. Where a Postal Ballot is being conducted, the returning officer may re-issue a ballot paper to an eligible elector who claims, by statutory declaration, that they have not received a ballot paper or that the ballot paper received has been lost, destroyed or defaced.
5. No further ballot paper may be re-issued to an elector to whom a ballot paper has previously been re-issued.
1. For a postal ballot, on the day prescribed for the counting of votes and in the presence of the scrutineers, the returning officer must examine the ballot papers and record the number of votes cast for each candidate.
2. For an electronic ballot, on the day prescribed for the recording of votes stored electronically and in the presence of the scrutineers, the returning officer must examine summary reports of the votes cast and record the total number of votes cast for each candidate.
3. For a postal ballot, a ballot paper or the votes recorded on it, may be rejected as informal by the returning officer where:
4. A vote is not informal by reason of the fact that the ballot paper contains votes for fewer candidates than the number of positions to be filled.
5. If during the course of the conduct of one election (the first election), under the Policy and this Procedure, a candidate becomes elected to the Council because of the result of another Council election, that candidate is deemed to be no longer a candidate for the first election and any votes received or recorded for that candidate for the first election are to be disregarded.
6. The returning officer may request a re-count of the votes cast.
1. After the final recording of votes, the result of the election must be determined in accordance with this procedure.
2. Subject to step 4, where one member is to be elected, the candidate who received the greatest number of votes must be elected.
3. Subject to step 4, where two or more members are to be elected, the candidate who received the greatest number of votes and the candidate who received the next greatest number of votes must each be elected, and so on, until all of the available positions are filled.
4. Where an available position cannot be filled because equal numbers of votes have been cast for candidates for the position, the election of a candidate to the position must be decided by lot, conducted by the returning officer, in the presence of the scrutineers.
1. Following the determination of the result of the election, the returning officer must declare the result of the election by preparing a statement containing:
2. The statement must be signed by the returning officer and countersigned by the scrutineers.
3. The returning officer must forward a copy of the statement to the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, to each of the candidates in the election and to the Council for noting at its next scheduled meeting.
4. The returning officer must publish, by the day by which the results must be published (refer Clause 4(1)(g) a declaration of the result of the election in the same manner in which the original notice of election was published under Clause 5 of this Policy.
After the declaration of the result of an election, the returning officer must hold the postal ballot papers, or electronic records of voting in the case of an electronic ballot, for the period of time required by the Public Records Act 2002, after which time the returning officer must destroy or delete the postal ballot papers or electronic records, as appropriate, unless otherwise directed by the Chancellor.
1. All complaints about the conduct of an election or objections against an election result must be submitted to the returning officer.
2. Objections against the result of any election must be made within twenty four (24) hours of the declaration of the election.
3. The returning officer shall consider and investigate any complaint or objection and may:
4. The returning officer’s ruling shall be final and binding, subject only to review in a court of law with competent jurisdiction.
5. Complaints made about the Returning Officer shall be made to the Chancellor.
1. Section 26AA of the Act prescribes that the Policy established about the conduct of Council elections must include certain provisions and procedures. Management of the policy and procedure is in accordance with the University’s Policy and Delegations Framework as approved by Council.
2. Changes to the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure are approved by the Vice Chancellor as Policy Sponsor.
NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.
Date for next Major Review
[Use the table below to record information regarding changes to this procedure. Version control should be applied, for example major or minor amendments (approved by the Policy Sponsor) should be numbered 16-1, 16-2 and so on (the first two digits = year, the last digit = version number)].
Approval date - the date the Policy Sponsor approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment
Implementation Date - the date the procedure was published in the Policy Library and is the date the procedure takes effect
Election, Council Election, Election Procedure