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Election Administration: Legal Requirements

A glance at the bylaws or electoral code shows the complexity of an election. The election officer and committee have to adhere to the smallest details if they want to conduct a legally valid election whose result cannot be contested. Results of democratic elections can sometimes come under criticism and calls can be made to review the election process. Be sure to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings during the election administration process which may lead to a re-election.

The legal checklist for your election

An election should represent the will of the majority but also consider minorities. In this respect, voting is based on a sensitive understanding of justice. For this reason, elections are legally regulated and follow concrete guidelines upon which the totality of voters have agreed in advance. You should respect the formal aspects involved in conducting an election according to all legal requirements. 

Obeying the electoral code?

Your bylaws outline which conditions need to be fulfilled in a valid election. Go through it systematically with your election committee. Make sure you observe all legal requirements - especially those which are included in the bylaws. The election officer and election committee should know the electoral code and bylaws well – this ensures a legally valid election and displays a high level of competence to the voters. 

Is the voting procedure explained in the bylaws?

The planned voting procedure has to be transparently explained to voters in the bylaws. If you want to offer the option for online voting, you have to include it in the bylaws. The earlier you review your bylaws, the more time you'll have to make the necessary amendments. 

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Complete and ready-to-use electoral roll

The electoral roll is the most essential part of an election. Be sure to check regularly that all contact details and data is recorded accurately in the electoral roll, ensuring it is ready-to-use in the election. Bylaws typically include deadlines for announcements and notifications which must be adhered to. You can only ensure a smooth election if you're able to reach and offer all eligible voters the chance to cast their vote.

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Voting rights

Voting rights are divided into two categories - active and passive voting rights. The "active" category refers to a person's right to vote, whereas the "passive" category refers to a person's right to stand for election. The electoral code and bylaws contain explicit details about who can vote and be elected. To ensure the smooth running of your election, make sure all eligible voters are aware of both their active right to vote as well as their passive right to stand for election. 

Are candidates allowed to stand for election?

Requirements can vary from institution to institution, but one issue is often forgotten: are the candidates in the upcoming election actually eligible to stand for election? Restrictions can exist regarding who is allowed to stand for election. In associations, for example, candidates must have been members for a certain period of time or have obtained signatures of support from a certain number of other members.