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Democracy at college and university levels

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Holding an election

We cannot insist too strongly on the importance of properly preparing an electoral event. By adopting clear election regulations, the student community, through the association representing it, contributes to the holding of fair and honest elections. It contributes, by extension, to educate its members about the importance of exercising their democratic rights.

Main participants

Electors

As a member of the student community, it is the elector who is responsible for electing the representatives of the association of his or her educational institution. It will be up to these representatives to defend the rights and interests of their members before the appropriate authorities.

Candidate

This person campaigns among the student population to obtain the greatest number of votes and to win a seat on the executive committee of the student association.

Chief Electoral Officer

The chief electoral officer is a resource person who acts impartially and who has no partisan ties. It is his or her duty to ensure that the electoral process unfolds smoothly. This person is appointed by the executive committee of the student association.

Main steps

Election period

When an election is called, electors are asked to choose new leaders. Following the calling of the election, the chief electoral officer prepares an election calendar indicating the steps that will take place during the election period.

List of electors

As the election period culminates on polling day, election officers must be able to have the list of electors before polling stations open.

Electoral representation

For those student associations that deem it useful to adopt a representation method that reflects the distribution of students according to the various programs of studies of their members, for example, it is possible to establish a specific procedure to divide the student population into electoral divisions.

Control of election expenses

In the event that expenses are incurred during an election campaign (leaflets, posters, photocopies, etc.), the aim of which is to promote or oppose the ideas or program of a candidate, it is important to procedure to control election expenses.

Polling Day

Directives relating to the organization of the polling station(s), the supervision of election officers, the exercise of the right to vote, and all the conditions to ensure the integrity of the electoral process on polling day are indispensable to the smooth operating of polling day.

Contestation of elections

In the event that a serious reason justifies the contestation of the election, it is important to provide means for finding a rapid solution to the dispute ensuing from the contestation.

Election regulation model

Holding a referendum

The referendum is a democratic consultation process available to the members of the executive for any interested student association. This process can be used whenever there is a major issue concerning the entire student community.

Main participants

Chief Electoral Officer

The chief electoral officer is a resource person who acts impartially and who has no partisan ties. It is his or her duty to ensure that the electoral process unfolds smoothly. This person is appointed by the executive committee of the student association.

Referendum committees

Following the publication of the notice announcing the holding of a referendum, the chief electoral officer must ensure that a committee representing each option submitted to the student referendum is formed. Persons wishing to campaign in favour of either option must channel their actions through these committees.

Conseil du référendum

The Conseil du référendum is an authority, which, in cooperation with the chief electoral officer, ensures that the referendum process unfolds in a harmonious manner. Any question of a technical nature related to the organization of a referendum or any dispute following the contestation of the referendum must be addressed to the Conseil du référendum.

Main steps

Referendum period

The referendum period begins when a notice announcing the holding of a referendum is adopted by the student association; this notice invites electors to state that they are in favour of either option submitted to the referendum. The chief electoral officer shall supervise the formation of a committee for each option and draw up a referendum calendar that will indicate the various steps in the referendum period.

List of electors

As the referendum period culminates on referendum day, election officers must be able to have the list of electors before polling stations open.

Electoral representation

For those student associations that deem it useful to adopt a representation method that reflects the program of studies of their members, provision has been made for a procedure to divide the student population into electoral divisions.

Referendum fund and control of regulated expenses

The referendum procedure provides for the setting up of a referendum fund intended to cover the expenses incurred during the referendum campaign. Once the notice announcing the holding of a referendum has been given, the student association determines an amount—the same for each committee—which becomes the committees’ subsidy. Agents-representatives must record the expenses incurred to support the option of their respective committee.

Referendum day

Clear directives concerning the organization of the polling stations, the supervision of polling officers, the exercise of the right to vote and all the conditions to ensure the integrity of the electoral process on polling day are indispensable to the smooth operating of polling day.

Contestation of the referendum

In the event that a serious reason justifies the contestation of the referendum, it is important to plan for means that will make it possible to find a rapid solution to the dispute ensuing from the contestation.

Referendum regulation model

Discover the guide Students at the polls to hold an election or a referendum in colleges and universities.

In addition, to assist you in preparing an electoral or referendum event, you can order online (in French only) the guide, ballot boxes and polling booths (free of charge).