Student Government Elections


I. General Information

  1. Elections will be in the form of online ballots. Student Government will allow for 48 hours of uninterrupted voting, and Student Government will allow for 24 hours of uninterrupted voting for runoff elections, with additional time added to the end for any amount of time missed due to complications or technical difficulties.
  2. Elections shall be publicized at least one week in advance. The campaign season shall be defined as the Monday following the submission of nominating petitions through 11:59pm on the day before the General Election season.
  3. There shall be a mandatory meeting of all candidates to be scheduled by the Elections Director prior to the campaign period.
  4. All campaigning will end at 12:00 AM on the day that primary elections begin. Campaigns that make it past the primary may begin campaigning again following the announcement of the primary election results. All campaigning will end again at 12:00 AM on the day that general elections begin.
  5. Results of an election shall be posted outside the Student Government main office within 48 hours of the poll closings unless the election is disputed.
  6. All candidates for office must attend at least one mandatory meeting made possible by the Elections Board except in the case of University excused absences, serious medical or family emergency, irreconcilable conflict of an academic nature, or any reason deemed appropriate by the Elections Director.

II. Purpose of the Elections Board.

  1. The Elections Board shall exist to promote and publicize student body elections, formulate updated rules and regulations for student body elections, ensure that student body elections are run efficiently and with integrity, and to determine sanctions for student body election violations. The Elections Board shall also exist to host Federal Voter Registration Drives in order to allow Clemson students to have a voice in Federal affairs.

III. Student Senate Elections

  1. Qualifications.
    1. Candidates for Student Senate President, Senate President Pro-Tempore, Senate Secretary, and Senate Clerk, as well as candidates for Student Senate, must be in good academic standing with the university.
    2. No senator may be an executive officer or director or hold a court office position.
    3. All freshman seats must be filled by appointment after freshman candidates file the appropriate petition and interview with the Student Senate President, the Senate President Pro-Tempore and the Student Body Vice President.
    4. Candidates for all offices must be enrolled as Clemson University undergraduate students during their entire term. All candidates must agree to serve the entire term unless they are excused by the Senate President for University-approved course credit.
  2. Nominations. All Student Senate candidates must file a nominating petition, signed by twenty-five undergraduate students, with the Elections Board no later than 5 PM on the first Friday of February, unless the potential nominee is absent due to family emergency, sickness, or official University business in which case he or she may submit a nominating petition after this date as under the jurisdiction of the Elections Director.
  3. Election Procedures.
    1. General Information
      1. Senate online elections shall be held the first consecutive Monday and Tuesday of March. Runoff elections, if required, shall be held on the following Thursday.
      2. Online polls shall open at 12:00 AM on the day they are scheduled to close 48 hours after that time. Clemson University undergraduate students, regardless of credit hours currently in progress, may vote at campus-wide elections.
    2. Write-ins and Abstaining
      1. The Elections Board shall allow for write-in candidates by way of online ballots, provided that the candidate receives at least twenty-five write-in votes and is eligible to serve.
      2. The Elections Board shall allow for a no-vote (abstention) by way of online ballots.
  4. Senate Campaign Rules.
    1. Campaign expenditures for Student Senate candidates will limit spending to $100.00. Candidates for Student Senate elections will not be required to turn in expenditure reports, however, if a violation is reported to the Elections Director with significant proof of violating the spending restriction, a candidate may result in immediate disqualification.
    2. Use of University media shall be prohibited.
    3. There shall be no contact with potential voters in regard to the campaign prior to the campaign period. Candidates must only campaign during the defined campaign season.
    4. Student Senate candidates shall abide by the following rules governing the location of all posted material.
      1. In residence halls, posted material shall be restricted to bulletin boards, but will need to be approved by University Housing departments before posting. Posted material must be no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches and cannot be placed inside residence hall computer labs.
      2. Fliers may not be placed under residents’ doors. Fliers must be stamped and approved according to the Housing distribution guidelines.
      3. Senate candidates shall be restricted to kiosks, University Post Office bulletin boards, and any other approved location and academic building under the following guidelines: Campaign material cannot be posted prior to the mandatory candidates meeting. Campaign material in academic buildings must be no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches. Candidates shall be restricted to one piece of campaign material per bulletin board in academic buildings.
      4. No fliers or related campaign material may be distributed at off-campus housing locations.
      5. Candidates are prohibited from using electronic mailing to contact potential voters with the intent of soliciting a vote. Candidates are also prohibited from having a Clemson.edu listserv sending mass emails to contact potential voters with the intent of soliciting a vote. All candidates are strongly reminded that the Elections Board has the authority to evaluate the intent of electronic mailing.
      6. Candidates may use Facebook and instant messenger services, but are warned to use these services wisely and reminded that in using these, the campaign rules still apply (i.e. no slanderous campaigning)
      7. Candidates and their campaigns may not perform any act of campaigning in the Student Government offices or the Student Senate Chamber during events related to the business of the Undergraduate Student Government. This includes CUSG sponsored events such as CUSG Formal.
      8. Candidates may not use a Clemson University trademarked logo, letterhead, symbol, or any other alteration that would cause confusion in the marketplace for campaigning purposes unless approved by Clemson trademark officials. This approval must be provided in writing to the Elections Board prior to being used in any campaign.
      9. The use of the Student Government logo, letterhead, office supplies, and office equipment for campaigning purposes is prohibited.
      10. Candidates may not do any form of public chalking or writing on boards in University classrooms for their campaign.
      11. Campaign material posted with the candidate’s knowledge in any area other than what is allowed specifically in this section will constitute grounds for a violation.
      12. All candidates must remove their campaign material within 48 hours after the election has been officially finalized. A $30 fine will be charged if all the materials are not removed within 48 hours after the posting of election results.
      13. A person who attempts to solicit a vote for an election, prior to filing the necessary materials to be considered an official candidate will immediately be assessed a violation as established by the Student Handbook, the Elections Booklet and the Elections Board. The violation will retroactively apply should the person choose to file the materials necessary for official candidacy. Gaining signatures for the completion of an election petition does not constitute grounds for a violation.
  5. Violations and Disqualification
    1. A candidate may be disqualified for not abiding by the rules governing Student Senate elections.
    2. If a candidate is disqualified before the polls open, the election will be held with the candidate’s name stricken from the ballot.
    3. If a selected candidate is disqualified after the polls have closed, the qualified candidate with the next highest vote will be awarded the seat.
  6. Appeal of Disqualification.
    1. Grounds for appeal of elections
      1. Inaccurate vote count.
      2. Failure of the Elections Director and Elections Board to abide by the elections procedures.
    2. An election referendum, special vote or disqualification may be appealed by filing a written notice containing specific allegations with the Attorney General within 72 hours after the polls have closed. Any complainant in this matter shall be considered an adversary and shall be granted all applicable rights.
    3. The Supreme Court shall hold a mandatory hearing within three working days following the deadline for appeals. If the Court decides there are adequate grounds for appeals of elections, the court may at its discretion call a new election, uphold or overturn the ruling of the Elections Board or otherwise penalize the parties involved.
  7. Commencement of duties. Elected candidates shall assume their duties in the last week of March.
  8. Vacancies. Vacancies in Student Senate shall be filled by fully qualified candidates who are appointed by the Student Senate President and approved by a majority vote of the Student Senate. These senators shall serve out the remainder of the vacated term

IV. Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections

  1. Qualifications.
    1. Candidates for office must currently be enrolled as Clemson University undergraduate students and have a minimum GPR of 2.5 and must maintain a 2.5 GPR per semester while in office.
    2. Candidates for office must disclose their disciplinary records prior to running for office and maintain an exemplary disciplinary record while in office. These records will be observed and kept under the discretion of the Dean of Students, the Attorney General, the Elections Director, and a representative from the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES).
    3. Candidates for the office of President must have completed a minimum of 60 semester hours prior to petitioning. Candidates for Vice President must have completed a minimum of 45 Semester hours prior to petitioning. If the President is removed or has resigned, the Vice President does not have to have the required number of semester hours to assume the office of President.
      1. Candidates for all offices must be enrolled as Clemson University undergraduate students during their entire term. All candidates must agree to serve the entire term.
        1. No President or Vice President may hold an additional executive office, judicial position, or legislative position.
  2. Nominations.
    1. Nominations for office will be made by petition of seventy-five undergraduate students, filed with the Elections Board, no later than 5:00 PM on the last Friday of January.
  3. Election Procedures.
    1. Candidates for the offices of President and Vice President shall campaign on a joint ticket and shall be elected upon their ticket receiving a majority of ballots cast.
    2. Online primary elections shall be held the last Wednesday of February if there are more than 2 tickets for President and Vice-President. General elections shall be held the following Wednesday.
    3. Online polls shall open at 12:00 AM on Wednesday for the primary election and close at 12:00 AM on Thursday. All Undergraduate Clemson University students, regardless of credit hours currently in progress, may vote in campus-wide elections.
      1. No campaigning may occur between the closing of the primary election and the announcement of the results.
      2. Write-ins and Abstaining
        1. The Elections Board shall allow for write-in candidates by way of online ballots, provided that the candidate receives fifty write-in votes and is eligible to serve. The Elections Board shall allow for a no vote (abstention) in both manual and online ballots.
      3. The two tickets with the highest primary vote totals will be announced on the Friday before the general election at 8:00AM, at which time campaigning may resume.
    4. The Election Results, as well as vote totals for each candidate for both Undergraduate Student Body President/Vice President and the elected Undergraduate Student Senate, shall be posted on the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government’s Tiger Quest page and website no later than 48 hours after the conclusion of the election. Upon request, unelected candidates will have access to their vote totals.
    5. Prior to the election results being announced, the faculty advisor for Clemson Undergraduate Student Government shall serve as a proxy to certify the election results.
  4. Campaign Rules.
    1. No candidates may contact any potential voters other than their fifteen official campaign staff members with regard to the election prior to the campaign period. Exceptions will be made for the collecting of signatures for nominating petitions and the two-week period prior to campaign season for each ticket to hold one interest meeting for students interested in volunteering for their campaign. The only contact allowed during this time is at the meeting and to publicize the interest meeting. The solicitation of votes during this period will still be deemed a violation.
    2. Each joint ticket must submit the names of the fifteen campaign staffers officially associated with their campaign by the first Friday of the Spring semester. They may begin contacting their fifteen potential campaign staffers the day after final examinations conclude in the Fall semester. Campaigns must immediately inform the Elections Director should any changes occur in this list. Candidates are encouraged to inform these persons of the rules and regulations of the election and will be sanctioned for any violations these persons commit.
      1. There shall be no agreements or commitments made prior to assuming office regarding the future members of the President's Cabinet.
    3. The use of University media shall be prohibited unless all campaigns are displayed equally as determined by the Elections Board.
    4. Non-Active Campaigning is defined as the participation in advertising, social media promotion, and listening days. Any other activity will be therein defined under Active Campaigning.
      1. Campaign material shall include, but are not limited to, all posters, signs, fliers, platforms, letters, buttons, banners, stickers, and notices.
      2. In order to prevent slanderous campaigns, all new campaign material to be used must be approved or initiated by the Elections Director or their designee(s) before being distributed. This should be done before any material is replicated.
      3. Each campaign is allotted two (2) off-campus campaign related events throughout the entirety of the campaign season.
      4. Written approval must be obtained from property owners or property management before any fliers or campaign material are distributed at an off-campus housing location.
      5. In order to ensure that each platform and the information contained therein are the property of the candidates using them, and to promote factual and consistent claims to the student body, all platforms must be submitted to and approved by the Platform Review Committee, consisting of the Attorney General, Senate President, and Chief of Staff with the confirmation of the Elections Director. If any student holding these positions is affiliated with a campaign, the Elections Director will appoint an unbiased replacement from that respective branch.
        1. All platform affiliation will be removed prior to review by the Platform Review Committee
      6. The final form of all campaign materials and platforms must be turned in for approval no later than 5:00 P.M. on the third Friday of January. No additions or amendments may be made to the platform after approval by the Platform Review Committee.
      7. Candidates are prohibited from using electronic mailing to contact potential voters with the intent of soliciting a vote. Candidates are also prohibited from using a Clemson.edu listserv to send mass emails to contact potential voters with the intent of soliciting a vote. In addition, no candidate may send emails of any kind representing themselves as a candidate to potential voters prior to the mandatory candidate meeting. All candidates are strongly reminded that the Elections Board has the authority to evaluate the intent of electronic mailing.
      8. Candidates may use social media, but are reminded that in using these, the campaign rules still apply (i.e., no slanderous campaigning).
      9. Candidates may not perform any act of campaigning in the Student Government offices during election season. This includes CUSG sponsored events like CUSG Formal.
      10. Candidates may not use a Clemson University trademarked logo, letterhead, symbol, or any other alteration that would cause confusion in the marketplace for campaigning purposes unless approved by Clemson trademark officials. This approval must be provided in writing to the Elections Board prior to being used in any campaign.
      11. The use of the Student Government logo, letterhead, office supplies, and office equipment for campaigning purposes are prohibited in classrooms for their campaign.
      12. Candidates may not do any form of public chalking or writing on boards in classrooms for their campaign.
      13. All candidates must file one sample of each type of campaigning material to be used in the election with the Elections Director and/or their designee(s).
      14. All candidates must specify and submit an itemized expense report with intended campaign expenditures to the Elections Director on the day petitions are due. Candidates will turn in an updated expense report during campaigning season at a time specified by the Elections Director.
      15. Candidates will also turn in a finalized, specific expense report. Any donations to a candidate must be reported and will be valued at a rate set by the Elections Board.
      16. If elected, write-in candidates for President and Vice President shall be subject to all regulations governing elections except that campaign expenditures must be submitted to the Elections Director no later than 24 hours after the official notification by the Elections Director.
      17.  A person who attempts to solicit a vote for an election, prior to filing the necessary materials to be considered an official candidate, will immediately be assessed a violation as established by the Student Handbook, the Elections Booklet, and the Elections Board. The violation will retroactively apply should the person choose to file the materials necessary for official candidacy. Gaining signatures for the completion of an election petition does not constitute grounds for a violation.
      18.  It is the responsibility of the candidate to educate any and all campaign workers and affiliates as to the rules set forth by this Elections Code. Candidates will be held responsible for the actions of those designated by the candidate to assist with the campaign.
      19.  Emails sent to any list which is used by a campus department or office to distribute information is prohibited.
      20.  Sending electronic email to any list without the consent of the list administrator is prohibited.
      21. Candidates may speak about another candidate’s positions on campus issues and how they differ on these positions so long as these statements are truthful. Falsifying information about a candidate may result in immediate disqualification.
      22.  Each Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate pair, or ticket, shall be allowed no more than a $1,500.00 total budget to use for their various campaign materials.
        1. No individual non-candidate shall be permitted to contribute more than $250 to one ticket.
        2. Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates shall be limited to a joint contribution of $500.00 to their own campaign.
        3. Organizations will be permitted to contribute funding of no more than $250 to a campaign but any contribution must be explicitly labeled in the campaign expenditure report.
          1. Political organizations and lobbying groups whose mission statement or membership are not central to Clemson or Clemson University are not permitted to donate to any campaign directly or indirectly. Organizations in question and their donations will be evaluated at the discretion of the Elections Director. Violation of these terms will result in the candidates’ immediate disqualification.
      23.  All expenses for campaign materials will be assessed toward a campaign's budget at fair market value or the actual cost, whichever is higher, unless it falls within the parameters of this section.
        1. Fair market value shall be known as the value at which any given student can reasonably purchase an item or a similar item within the Clemson area as evidenced by the issuance of a receipt or other proof of purchase.
        2. Materials purchased outside the Clemson area not evidenced by a receipt will be assessed at a fair market value, or the actual cost, whichever is higher.
        3. Materials purchased on the Internet that do not have a comparable local fair market value will be assessed at the actual cost to the ticket at the time of purchase.
        4. Materials donated to a campaign not evidenced by a receipt will be assessed at a fair market value.
        5. The following regulations shall apply to t-shirts or other promotional clothing items unless the specific item is the subject of an exclusive merchandising agreement, the terms of which, being determined by the Elections Board, shall be offered to all campaigns equally for similar promotional clothing items, agreed to by the candidates and the Elections Director:
        6. The first seventeen items purchased by a campaign, including its staff, shall be assessed at fair market value.
        7.  Any items purchased beyond the first seventeen shall be assessed as follows:
          1. If the intent of the item is as a campaigning tool, then it will be assessed at fair market value.
          2. Any third party donation's cost will be assessed by the Elections Director and added to the campaign's expenditure report.
      24. No other exclusive agreements shall be made for campaign material between the Elections Board and the campaign except that which has been made clear here.
        1. A hard copy receipt to be delivered to the Elections Board upon request shall evidence all purchases made by a ticket for campaign materials.
        2. Each ticket is expected to submit a full financial disclosure statement to the Elections Board at the time of filing for office, at the request of the Elections Director, and by 4:30 PM on the first day of voting.
        3. If the campaign has no expenditures, they are still required to complete a full financial disclosure statement.
      25.  Candidates are allowed two active campaigning days every week.
      26. In addition to active campaigning days, candidates will be able to have three listening days during the course of their campaign.
        1. Listening days shall be defined as days where candidates may solicit advice and feedback from fellow peers in any non-academic space on campus; no campaign materials may be given out. Campaigns are limited to three listening days over the entirety of campaign season.
      27.  Organizations in their entirety may not publicly endorse a candidate or advertise campaign related materials.
  5. Violations and Disqualifications
    1. A candidate may be disqualified for not abiding by the rules governing campus-wide elections.
      1. Candidates will be given the regulations at the mandatory candidates’ meeting.
      2. If an offense is detected, the Elections Board has the right to determine it to be a violation. If a student body member has detected a violation, an official violation form citing the specific rule breached with any evidence attached, must be submitted to the designated Elections Board email.  All violations will be decided within 48 hours.
      3. Violations will be classified as one of two (2) types: 1) standard violations and 2) severe violations. Each violation will be reviewed by the Elections Board Violations Committee and classified as such following the report evaluating the 1) intent and 2) impact of the violation in question.
      4. For each standard violation a reduction in the total campaign budget and taking down campaign material in the following sequence: $50 reduction and three (3) yard signs as determined by the Elections Board, $75 reduction and four (4) yard signs as determined by the Elections Board, and $100 reduction and the Outdoor Theater banner. Each campaign has the right to request a meeting with the Elections Board to discuss any violation.
      5. Grounds for immediate disqualification will include (1) Failure to correct a violation as directed by the Elections Board; (2) Failure to turn in a campaign finance report; (3) Falsifying a finance report; (4) Accumulation of three standard violations or one severe violation will result in a hearing before the Attorney General, one Assistant Attorney General, Undergraduate Senate President, or an unbiased Senator chosen by the Senate President prior to the start of campaigning, and the Clemson University Undergraduate Student Government Advisor who have the discretion to issue an automatic disqualification by unanimous vote.
    2. If a candidate is disqualified before the polls open, the elections will beheld with the candidate’s name stricken from the ballot.
    3. If a candidate is disqualified after the polls have closed, the election will be considered null and void; however, if a qualified candidate has received a majority of all votes cast, the results of the election will stand. If a new election is required, all candidates’ names will appear except those who are disqualified.
  6. Appeal of Disqualification
    1. Grounds for appeal of elections
      1. Inaccurate vote count.
      2. Failure of the Elections Board or candidates to abide by the elections procedures or campaign guidelines.
      3. An election referendum, special vote or disqualification may be appealed by filing a written notice containing specific allegations with the Attorney general within 72 hours after the polls have closed. Any complainant in this matter shall be considered an adversary and shall be granted all applicable rights.
  7. Commencement of Duties
    1. Elected candidates shall assume their duties in the first week of April.
    2. An elected candidate for the Office of President shall be required to serve an internship as President-Elect under the current President.
    3. An elected candidate for the Office of Vice President shall be required to serve an internship as Vice-President-Elect under the current Vice President.
    4. Internships shall begin the day following the final election results and continue until the election candidates assume office.
  8. Vacancies
    1. If the office of Student Body President is vacated, the Student Body Vice President will assume office.
    2. If the office of Student Body Vice President is vacated, a new vice president will be appointed by the Student Body President upon ratification by two-thirds majority vote of Student Senate.