Factsheet - School elections
If the students at your school elect House Captains or representatives to the Student Representative Council or the School Board why not use that as an educational experience. We can help you organise an election using either the Hare-Clark or single member system.
This will give your students the opportunity for a hands-on experience of voting the way they will vote as adults. You will also be contributing to the achievement of the Essential Content of ELA 22. This fact sheet sets out some of the things your school needs to do to have an election.
There must be time for candidates to decide to run in the election and time for them to campaign. Your students may wish to form parties. These parties would choose their candidates before the election and help them to electioneer during the lead up to the election. If you do not have parties, candidates can campaign on their own behalf.
On our website under education you will find a series of template documents with full instructions to assist schools to conduct elections for School Representative Council representatives in accordance with standard rules for single-member elections, and for multi-member elections using the Hare-Clark electoral system.
Formulate election rules
Your school may wish to make rules to suit your circumstances. The following are ones we recommend:
- dates must be set for opening and closing nominations, the campaign period and the election
- choose a voting system and decide on formality rules
- parties must register and be approved by the school
- a candidate nomination can be rejected by the school for defined reasons
- a candidate nomination can be withdrawn up to the time of the close of nominations
- no advertising material can be placed in a polling place or outside the door
- candidates should understand that they cannot use defamatory material, spread misleading information or disrupt other candidates' campaigns
- students and teachers must agree to abide by the result of an election
Designate the polling place
A polling place is an area used by voters to cast their vote.
We can assist you with the preparation of ballot papers and provide you with voting screens, ballot boxes and seals for the boxes.
A polling place needs:
- a roll of voters' names to identify those who can vote and ensure that no-one votes more than once
- polling officials
- ballot papers
- voting screens to ensure privacy while filling in the ballot paper
- ballot boxes
Organise the scrutiny
A scrutiny is the counting of the votes by officials (not including the candidates) and watched by scrutineers on behalf of the candidates.
Elections ACT can help you run election day or come at the end and assist with the count.
To conduct the scrutiny you need:
- secure space to count the votes at the end of the election
- people to count the votes and scrutineers to see that the count is fair
- a person who understands the counting procedure to calculate the quota and distribute the ballot papers until the required number of candidates is elected.