Key election stages and procedures

Vacancies

PUBLICATION OF VACANCIES FOR ELECTION

All vacancies must be advertised in the Gazette at least 49 days prior to the set election date. [This changes the pre-2006 requirement to advertise vacancies 28 days prior to the election date.] This affects both the date that the vacancy is published and the election date itself.

For an election to meet the statutory requirements that (1) it be held in full term, and (2) that there be at least 49 days notice between the publication of the vacancy and the election date itself, all vacancies must be published before Thursday of the First Week of the same term which the election will be held.

The Elections Office will aim to advertise vacancies earlier whenever possible. For example, vacancies for Annual Election in Trinity Term will normally be first published in Eighth Week of Hilary Term.

Please note: The deadline for sending copy to the Gazette is eight days prior to the publication date. Consequently, the Elections Office must receive notice of an impending vacancy ten days before the expected publication date. Notice of vacancies which are received after Monday of Noughth Week cannot be processed for election in the same term.

 

Nominations

There is a single date for close of the nomination period and all nominations must be signed by a minimum of four nominators.

Election date Nominations close
Week Seven 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Week Three
Week Eight 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Week Four

The nomination forms are available for downloading in word format. There is one nomination form for elections to Divisional and Faculty Boards and one form for elections to Committees and Boards, excluding Divisional and Faculty Boards.

One copy of the nomination form in respect of each candidate, signed by the candidate and four nominators, must be returned to the Elections Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD, before the relevant closing date for nominations. Nominations will not be accepted after the above deadlines.

Before completing the form, all candidates are asked to note the general eligibility requirements which apply to all committee members, as set out in Council Regulations 14 of 2002. Current members seeking re-election are also asked to check with the committee secretary as to their eligibility with respect to any specific restrictions on consecutive service.

It is recommended that you complete the form as a word document (including the names of your nominators, where known), and send the draft document as an email attachment to elections.office@admin.ox.ac.uk for advance checking. (Early submissions of drafts will benefit from early notification of any validation issues encountered: later submissions can only be checked as time permits.) If you prefer to complete the form by hand, please print legibly, preferably in block capitals, as illegible forms cannot be processed.

Important note: the official nomination requires the original signatures of both the candidate and at least four nominators. This means you must submit a completed, signed, paper copy of this form prior to the deadline as noted above. Photocopies, faxes, electronic signatures or signatures by proxy will not be accepted.

Each candidate for election is invited to submit a written statement, of no more than 250 words, setting out his or her reasons for standing and qualifications for the office being sought. In the event of a contested election, these statements will be published both on-line and in the Gazette. The Registrar shall be responsible for ensuring that the length of such statements does not exceed the stipulated 250 words, and in the event that they do, or of any other questions arising about the content of such statements, shall refer to the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors for a determination of how to proceed. To meet publication deadlines, statements must be submitted to the Elections Office before the relevant closing date of nominations.

Nominations of individual candidates will be published on-line on the Elections Office website as received and processed and will then be published as soon as possible thereafter in the Gazette. Due to copy deadlines, nominations will usually be available on the Elections Office website at least one week prior to publication in the Gazette. For elections in Week Seven, all nominations will have been published on the web by the end of Week Four, and in the Gazette of Week Five; for elections in Week Eight, all nominations will have been published on the web by the end of Week Five, and in the Gazette of Week Six.

The practice of early publication on the Elections website exists because it is thought to be helpful for potential candidates to know as soon as possible whether or not the elections are to be contested. Please note that, by contrast, the candidates’ statements are published as a group, on a set date, following the close of the nomination period.

Once a nomination form has been submitted, it is not possible to change the terms of the constituency (i.e. to have the nomination stand as a nomination to another committee or to another constituency within the same committee). This is because each constituency represents a different election (for which a different ballot paper will be issued) and the official signed nomination form records that the candidate has been formally nominated by members of Congregation to stand in a particular constituency.

A candidate who wishes to change the terms of the constituency to which s/he had been nominated must notify the elections office of the intention to decline the original nomination (see withdrawal of nominations below), and then arrange to submit a further nomination in a different constituency before the close of the nomination period.

Please note: it is not advised that a candidate undertake this in the hope of avoiding a contested election because the final status of each vacancy cannot be determined until after the close of the nomination period. (In practice, the steps a candidate would have to take to move from one category to another would make such a move impractical, and in many cases impossible in the time available because of the need to be re-nominated.)

However, in the event that a change of constituency would fill one or more vacancies which would otherwise lapse, and the number of candidates eligible to fill these vacancies does not exceed the number of these vacancies, then, with the consent of the eligible candidates and their nominators, the constituency may be changed so as to reduce the overall number of lapsed vacancies. Any such changes of constituency will be identified on the Elections website and in the Gazette.

Candidates who wish to withdraw their nomination, must notify the elections office of this in writing (preferably by email) as soon as possible. If the nomination has already been published in the Gazette (or has been on-line for more than 24 hours), a note will be published (under the candidate’s details and in lieu of the nominators’ details) that the candidate has withdrawn.

Although candidates may withdraw at any time, it is preferable that they do so before the ballot papers are sent to the printers (this means notifying the elections office within 2 working days of the close of the nomination period). If a candidate withdraws after the ballot papers have been dispatched, voters will be notified of this by email as soon as possible. However, duplicate ballot papers will not be issued and any votes returned for the former candidate will be treated as spoiled.

Publication of Results of Nominations Received

Following the close of nominations, the status of the vacancies due for election will fall into one of three categories: Contested, Uncontested or Lapsed. These are published as Notices, described below.

In the event that more than one nomination form has been received for a vacancy, a postal ballot of the eligible electorate will be held to determine the elected member. Please see Procedures for Contested Elections for further information.

The following details will be posted for all vacancies for which more than one nomination has been received: the name of the Committee or Board, the name of the Retiring or Current member holding the post at the time of the election, the name of each candidate, the names of his/her nominators, and a candidate statement where submitted.

The final notice of all the candidates' details, including candidate statements where received, will be published on-line within 3 weeks of the election date and in the Gazette 2 weeks prior to the election date.

In the event that the number of nominations received is equal to the number of vacancies in the pool, the person(s) nominated shall be deemed elected as of the date of the close of nominations. Where individual vacancies have different terms of office, the candidates higher in academic standing shall hold office for the longer period.

The following details will be posted for all vacancies for which only one nomination has been received: the name of the Committee or Board, the name of the Retiring or Current member holding the post at the time of the election, the term of office, the name of the single candidate now deemed elected, and the names of his/her nominators. This notice will be published on-line within 3 weeks of the election date and in the Gazette as soon as is practicable thereafter (normally one or two weeks prior to the election date).

In the event that the number of nominations received is less than the number of vacancies in the pool, the person(s) nominated shall be deemed elected as of the date of the close of nominations. Where individual vacancies have different terms of office, the candidate(s) higher in academic standing shall hold office for the longer period(s). Any posts not filled will be deemed lapsed as of the date of the close of nominations, and will remain vacant until an appointment is made jointly by the Vice-Chancellor and the Proctors.

The following details will be posted for all lapsed places: the name of the Committee or Board, the number and type of vacancies, the term of office, and any restrictions concerning eligibility of candidates and/or electorate. This notice will be published on-line within 3 weeks of the election date and in the Gazette as soon as is practicable thereafter (normally one or two weeks prior to the election date).

Procedures for Contested Elections

In the event that more than one nomination form has been received for a vacancy, a postal ballot of the eligible electorate will be held to determine the elected member.

Ballot papers will be dispatched to eligible voters not later than 14 days (in practice, 2 to 3 weeks) before the day fixed for the election, using the mailing address provided in the current Register of Congregation. If you have any queries concerning the record of your current address, please contact your College or Departmental Administrator in the first instance. If you have not received your ballot paper within 12 days of the election date, please contact Elections Office.

In casting your vote, please follow the instructions given on the voting paper. In general: please place a cross in ink against the name of any candidate for whom you wish to vote and complete the personal details at the foot of the paper, including your signature. Proxy votes will not be accepted. Unsigned papers, or papers signed by proxy will be treated as spoilt ballots. Please note that papers signed in a different ink from that used to mark the cross, or other cases where there is doubt as to the voter's intention, may also be treated as spoilt ballots.

Completed ballot papers must be received by the Elections Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, before the deadline advertised. Papers received after this time will not be counted. Papers sent by Royal Mail with insufficient postage will not be accepted.

For security reasons, the Elections Office cannot issue duplicate ballots.

However, arrangements may be made for a voter to collect a replacement ballot from the central reception desk at the University Offices in Wellington Square. The voter will need to show his/her University Card by way of identification and will also be asked to sign for receipt.

Ballots will only be released to a third party upon receipt of signed instructions from the voter authorising the person to collect the ballots on his/her behalf. The third party will also be asked to show their University Card and to sign for receipt. The Elections Office cannot accept responsibility for any ballots released to a third party.

Please contact the Elections Office for further information.

There are no regulations to prevent lobbying and it would be very difficult to frame them whilst respecting freedom of speech. However, any lobbying must be in the spirit of the election and should not contravene existing IT policies (for example with respect to the misuse of official mailing lists).

Contact the Elections Officer


For further information, please email Shirley Mulvihill.

University of Oxford elections


For general information on the election(s) to a specific committee see this list

or, select the constituency from the list below

 
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