*Any student completing this form MUST also submit a completed SGA Application for the same position in order to be considered.
A fair and ethical SOWELA Technical Community College (SOWELA) Student Government Association (SGA) election is the foundation upon which this representative form of government is built; therefore, it is imperative that the elections have guidelines and codes to ensure that all candidates are elected in a fair and unbiased manner. Any actions or deviations from the election code may result in candidate disqualification. In accordance with the SGA Constitution and By-laws, the SGA advisor will organize and execute its prescribed duties regarding the election. The following guidelines are intended to promote a fair and impartial election process:
Section I: Voter Qualifications
- Students must be enrolled at SOWELA at time of election.
- Students may only vote once in each election.
- Persons with special needs will be provided assistance as needed through the Office of Student Support Services.
- Students must present SOWELA student ID if voting does not take place electronically through the SOWELA homepage.
- Electronic elections may be held and all currently enrolled SOWELA students during that semester may vote electronically.
- Students must be able to access their SOWELA student email address in order to vote.
Section II: Dates of General and Runoff Elections
- General elections will be held prior to the first full week in May on the official date announced by the Office of Student Support Services.
- Runoff elections, if necessary, will be held during the week following the General Election.
- The Director of Student Support Services shall retain and preserve all records and documents relating to candidate qualification, documentation, and the results of a general or runoff election for at least one year after the date of a general or runoff election. These records and documents, with the exception of candidate qualification records, shall be public record.
- SGA Elections
- Polls will open on the day of election at times announced in the Student Support Services office.
- Voting in a general or runoff election shall discontinue at the close of the polls.
- Students may vote at the designated voting areas using a current SOWELA student ID.
- Should electronic elections be held, both the candidates and student body will be notified by official SOWELA email.
- Electronic voting will begin and end at specified times.
- Special Elections (as needed)
- Special elections will be called for as needed in the fall semester by the Office of Student Support Services.
Section III: Candidate/Officer/Appointee Qualifications
- Each candidate running for office must be enrolled in and maintain at least 12 hours in the fall and spring semester, and must have completed a minimum of twelve credit hours in a SOWELA Technical Community College program area. Six (6) credit hours must have been completed within the SOWELA Technical Community College/LCTCS system by the end of the semester in which they are running.
- All candidates must have and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA at the time of election and a 2.0 GPA each semester during their term in office.
- All candidates must qualify by the deadline date, Friday, March 6, 2020.
- All candidates must agree to abide by campaign regulations and rules set by the SGA advisor. Any violations of these regulations will result in disqualification.
- All candidates must be in good standing with the College and the community.
Section IV: Candidate Certification
- Candidates applying for office must obtain an official candidate’s package, including a copy of the candidate election application, SGA candidate GPA verification form, candidate timeline, student conduct code, and the election code from the SOWELA website.
- The packet will be made accessible to all students accessing the SOWELA website.
- The application must be completed online and submitted, in its ENTIRETY, to Director of Student Support Services no later than close of business day, on the date listed on the official announcement in the election packet.
- No candidate may apply for more than one office in an SGA election.
- No elected or appointed SGA officer/student shall be compensated from more than one financial resource governed by SGA at any time.
- No elected or appointed SGA officer/student shall hold more than one position at any time.
- A mandatory candidates meeting will be held on the date listed on the official announcement in the Student Support Services offices at which time all candidates will have to submit a professional candidate photo.
- Candidates are responsible for all information covered during this meeting and the lack of knowledge will not be grounds for an appeal.
- The SGA advisor will be responsible for verifying the eligibility of all candidates. If a candidate fails to meet the qualification requirements, their name will automatically be removed from consideration and they will be notified via email.
- Photos will be used for election purposes only.
Section V: Candidate Expenditures
- Total expenditures for general, runoff, and special elections for SGA Officers will not exceed $150.
- Candidates will not solicit donations or support of any kind from private businesses or organizations. Candidates will not request or use SOWELA contractors or vendors for endorsement or dissemination of any campaign materials.
- An itemized list of all campaign expenditures must be submitted to the Director of Student Support Services no later than 4:00 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2020. Failure to comply may result in candidate disqualification.
- Failure to comply with the expenditure report guidelines will result in disqualification and not grounds for an appeal. This report should be inclusive of in-kind services.
Section VI: Campaign Materials
- Candidates can display and pass out approved campaign materials.
- Posters should be limited to no more than 20 per candidate. Posters are defined as any campaign material larger than 8.5″x14″ but smaller than 2’x3′. Banners will be limited to no more than two per candidate. Banners are defined as any campaign material larger than by 2’x3′. There is no limit on the amount of any campaign materials that are less than or equal to 8.5″x11″. Other campaign items, such as t-shirts and buttons, may be used as well.
- Defacing, removing, or otherwise tampering with any other candidate’s election material is prohibited. Upon the filing of a written complaint by any candidate of alleged tampering, the election Board will convene within 48 hours to determine the legitimacy of the complaint. A written response will be forwarded to the complainant.
- All campaign material must be removed by Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 4:30 p.m.
- Campaigning will contain only accurate and truthful information. All campaign materials must be pre-approved by the Director of Student Support Services or the Special Election Commissioner before being displayed.
- Campaign material cannot be posted to painted walls or glass of any campus property.
- No campaign paraphernalia may be worn while voting or brought to any area within 25 feet of the polls.
- All campaign material must be posted in approved/designated area. The candidates must follow the posting rules listed below:
- Students are allowed to distribute push cards and flyers.
- Students may place signs on campus lawn with wooden or metal stakes.
- Students are allowed to place signs on laminated columns in the student center.
- Students are allowed to campaign at designated areas in the Charleston building.
- Students are allowed to place campaign materials in designated areas in the bathrooms.
- Students are allowed to post campaign materials on designated SOWELA-sponsored bulletin boards.
- No postings allowed on any SOWELA campus walls, glass doors, vending machines, windows, trashcans, or benches.
- No campaign materials are allowed in the elevators. No signage is allowed outside campus building doors.
- Do not post signs over other postings.
- Posters, flyers, or push cards cannot be placed on windshields.
- Electronic Campaigning Etiquette
- The SGA Election Committee prohibits any kind of electronic campaigning, and campaigning materials discovered in any electronic medium will be brought before the Special SGA Election Committee. These rules apply to all means of electronic and Internet campaigning. This includes, but is not limited to FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, IM, emails, text messaging, telephone solicitation, or any other methods of social networking.
- Emails or use of information from SOWELA-related accounts whether candidate or member of candidate’s campaign team are not allowed.
- Links to electronic voting are not allowed.
Section VII: Solicitation at Polls
- No candidates or campaigning shall be within 25 feet of the voting polls, other than to cast their official vote or for official business in the designated area.
- No candidates or campaigning shall be within a college room that is equipped with a computer that is designated for student use. This applies to online elections only.
- Exceptions to this rule shall include:
- If a student must be in the designated room as part of their job description.
- If a candidate must pass through the designated room to access college services, only if other routes are inaccessible.
- If a student must use the designated room to utilize a computer for the advancement of their personal academic achievement.
- Exceptions to this rule shall include:
- No campaign materials may be displayed or dispensed by the candidate within a college room that is equipped with a computer that is designated for student use.
- Electioneering in general is not permissible within a college room that is equipped with a computer that is designated for student use. No candidate or campaigning should be in the immediate vicinity of any student who is actively using a computer for any reason.
- Electioneering in general is not permissible within 100 feet of the polls (Electioneering: See State of Louisiana, Election Code, R.S. 18:1462.rev 1992, regarding “Electioneering.”)
Section VIII: Appeals
- Written appeals must be submitted to the Student Support Services Director within 48 hours following the close of the polls. No appeal will be considered after the 48-hour time period has expired.
- A special committee will convene to review the appeal within 48 hours of its submission. A written response will be forwarded to the complainant within five business days.
A waiver of tuition, exclusive of student assessed fees, shall be granted by SOWELA for those elected positions of SGA President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The waiver of tuition shall remain in effect for the duration of the respective terms of office. Out-of-state tuition may be waived, if deemed appropriate, for the SGA President only.
Failure to perform duties as outlined in the SGA constitution or failure to perform the duties as set forth by the college shall result in a loss of the waiver.