AAUP Election Rules

These Election Rules,1 which are from time to time revised, are established by the Council pursuant to the AAUP Constitution to govern the conduct of elections of elective members of the Council and Association officers. In the event of any conflict between these Rules and the Constitution, the provisions of the Constitution shall control. In addition, the Association’s Weighted Voting and Delegate Credentialing Procedures, hereby incorporated into these rules, set forth procedures for the registration and credentialing of, and the apportionment of votes to, chapter and section delegates voting in elections at the biennial Association meeting.

I.Nominations

  1. The Nominating Committee, formed in accordance with Article V of the Constitution, shall oversee the nominating process and complete its work and prepare its report in time for publication to the membership sufficiently in advance of the election. Members of the Nominating Committee are precluded from nomination for any office.
  1. Candidates for elective offices in the AAUP shall be nominated by the process described herein and in Article V of the AAUP Constitution.
  1. The membership shall be notified, on or before January 30, of the deadline for submission of candidate petitions and of the requirements for petitions as specified in the Constitution.
  2. All petitions for nomination as a candidate for Association officer shall be postmarked or sent via electronic mail by March 15 in the year of the election.   
  3. Petitions for Council member shall indicate whether candidacy is sought for a region-elected position or an at-large position.
  4. The Nominating Committee shall issue its report on or before April 1.
  5. In the event of the death, withdrawal, or ineligibility of the candidates nominated for a position prior to the election, leaving no eligible nominee for the position, the Nominating Committee will establish procedures for re-nominations for that office.

II.Expenditures of Association Funds

  1. No funds of the Association, its chapters, or its conferences may be expended in support of any candidate.
  2. Chapters and conferences may publish the statements of the candidates in their own newsletters and may solicit and publish additional statements provided that all candidates are afforded an equal opportunity to prepare such statements.
  3. Use of electronic discussion lists or listservs created or maintained by national, state, or local AAUP organizations for campaigning for or against any candidate in any manner is prohibited.

III.Candidates’ Campaign Rights

  1. Campaign Rights
  1. Candidates are fully responsible for the content of their election messages and materials. The AAUP will not edit the messages in any way. Candidates are also responsible for providing messages in an acceptable format, determined by the AAUP.  
  2. Each candidate shall be afforded the opportunity to prepare a single statement (not to exceed five hundred words) in support of his or her candidacy, together with the candidate’s relevant biographical information, the length of which will not exceed three hundred words. The AAUP will notify candidates of the due date for the statement and biographical information. The statements may contain links to a website for the candidate or to other candidate information. Statements and biographical information timely received by the AAUP will be posted on a campaign webpage on the website of the AAUP on or about 14 days after the Nominating Committee Report is issued, in the order of the offices and candidates on the ballot. (See Section VI, B, for information on ballot order.) Any statements received after the due date will be posted within 14 days of receipt.
  3. Candidates, or their designees, will be provided the opportunity to speak to the biennial meeting. The order of the speeches will be in the order of the offices and the candidates on the ballot. (See Section VI, B, for information on ballot order.)   Each candidate or designee will be given 3 minutes to speak.
  4. Candidates will also have the opportunity to campaign at and around the AAUP biennial meeting, subject to reasonable rules instituted by AAUP provided to candidates in advance.
  1. Chapter and Delegate Information and Campaigning
    1. No later than 30 days after the Nominating Committee Report is issued, AAUP shall provide to all candidates a list of chapters eligible to elect delegates to vote in elections at the biennial meeting. Candidates will be provided with a range or estimate of the number of members in the chapter for the purposes of the election. Candidates will also be provided the name and contact information for the chapter president as reflected in the AAUP national office records.
    2. No later than 10 days after the AAUP has determined the eligibility of the proposed delegates and alternates and so notified each chapter and section, all candidates shall be provided with the names and contact information for all delegates and alternates eligible to vote at the biennial meeting.
    3. Candidates have the right to mail or email literature to, and to otherwise campaign with, the chapter presidents, delegates, and alternates on the candidate’s own time and expense. Candidates may also have campaign literature mailed or emailed to chapter presidents, delegates, and alternates by the AAUP, at the candidate’s expense, under the same rules as applicable to member information and campaigning (Section III.C).
  1. Member Information and Campaigning

All candidates shall have the right to inspect at the AAUP’s national office a list of all AAUP members once, between January 30 and the start of the biennial meeting. Candidates have a right to email or mail campaign literature to all, or a portion of, the AAUP membership.

  1. Campaign Mailing
    1. Candidates have the right to have the AAUP’s national office arrange to mail campaign literature to AAUP members at the candidate’s expense.
    2. Electioneering mailings will be distributed by a third-party vendor retained by the AAUP.
    3. There will be a charge for this service. The charge must be paid by the candidate in advance of the mailing.  
    4. Expenses for which candidates will be responsible include any and all costs for staff time and vendor time to prepare such mailings.
    5. Procedures that apply to such distribution are available from the national AAUP.
  1. Campaign Emails
    1. The AAUP will comply with all reasonable requests of candidates to send electioneering emails to members using the members’ email addresses contained in the AAUP data base. The emails will be sent at the candidate’s expense.
    2. Members receiving election emails will not have access to the names or email addresses of other recipients of the message. They will, however be able to hit reply and respond directly to the candidate.
    3. There are no limitations on the length of messages, but documents may not be attached. Candidates shall determine the length and appearance of their messages.
    4. There will be a charge for this service. The charge must be paid by the candidate in advance of the email distribution.
    5. Expenses for which candidates will be responsible include any and all costs for staff time and vendor time to prepare such email distribution.

IV.Endorsements

Individuals serving on either the Election Committee or the Election Appeals Committee may not endorse candidates for any AAUP office. Other individuals may endorse candidates, but AAUP members who hold office in the Association at any level—national, state, or local—who wish to list their AAUP positions in such an endorsement may do so only if an asterisk is placed next to their name with the following statement: “The organizational affiliation is listed for identification purposes only and does not imply any endorsement by the organization.”

V.Election Notice and Schedule

Notice of the election will be distributed no less than 90 days before the date of the election. The election of officers and Council members shall occur at the AAUP’s biennial meeting to be held on even numbered years.

VI.Election Methodology

The method in which elections are conducted shall be at the discretion of the AAUP and in conformity with appropriate Department of Labor regulations.

  1. Elections for Association officers and Council members shall be conducted by secret ballot of the credentialed (also called accredited) delegates at the biennial Association Meeting casting the weighted vote of their chapters as specified in Article VI, Sections 3 and 4, of the AAUP Constitution.
  1. The members in each chapter may elect to each meeting of the Association not more than one delegate from that chapter for each 250 members or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of ten delegates. Delegates must be members elected by secret ballot, provided that no ballot need be taken if there is only one nominee. Chapter officers elected to their offices by secret ballot may serve as delegates by virtue of that election if authorized by the chapter.
  1. Chapters with fewer than 250 members each from within a state may form one section of chapters for the exclusive purpose of electing to each meeting of the Association not more than one common delegate for each 250 aggregate members, up to a maximum of ten delegates. No chapter participating in the section shall have any other credentialed delegates at the meeting. The section’s delegate(s) shall be entitled to a number of votes equal to the aggregate number of members in the chapters participating in the section. The section delegate(s) must be members elected by a secret ballot of all of the members of the chapters participating in the section.
  1. Only credentialed delegates from chapters in good standing or sections of chapters in good standing are entitled to participate in elections.
  1. The Association’s Weighted Voting and Delegate Credentialing Procedures sets forth procedures for registration and credentialing of chapter and section delegates for the biennial Association meeting.
  1. The ballot will include positions in the following order, as appropriate for that meeting: Officers, in the order listed in the Constitution; at large council member(s); and regional council members, in numerical order of region. The order on the ballot of the candidates for each position shall be determined by a lottery held no later than 7 days after the Nominating Committee issues its report. In the event of runoff election(s), the positions subject to the runoff will be listed in the order on the initial ballot, and the runoff candidates will be listed in the order on the initial ballot.
  1. Each candidate is permitted to have an observer present for the casting and counting of the ballots. A candidate may serve as his or her own observer, or he or she may designate an alternate observer. Observers should not interfere with or disrupt the casting or counting of the ballots. Their role is limited to observing the election process, asking procedural questions, challenging defective ballots, and lodging protests with AAUP election officials as appropriate.
  1. The casting of election ballots at the biennial Association meeting shall be conducted as follows: 
  1. The credentialed chapter delegates shall be entitled to cast ballots in an election vote equal to the number of members from the institution. The credentialed section delegates shall be entitled to cast ballots in an election vote equal to the aggregate number of members in the chapters participating in the section. The Association’s Weighted Voting and Delegate Credentialing Procedures provide further information on delegate apportionment and credentialing.
  2. A list of the number of votes to be cast by each chapter and section shall be available for inspection at the registration table, and a list of chapters and sections which have cast votes shall be maintained and available for inspection in the voting area and thereafter in the national office.
  3. Any challenges to the election or eligibility of a delegate, to the number of votes allocated to a chapter or section or its delegates, or to the eligibility of a chapter or section to vote must be filed with the Credentials Committee no later than 3 days prior to the first day of the biennial meeting, unless good cause is shown for a later challenge.
  4. A delegate may not split the votes to which that delegate is entitled between candidates for the same position.
  5. Ballots will be cast in a way that preserves the secrecy of the vote of the delegate.
  1. The counting of ballots shall be conducted in a way that maintains secrecy.  
  2. The records pertaining to the election shall be preserved for one year under seal in a secure place at the AAUP’s national office.
  3. The candidate for each officer and regional Council member position who receives a majority of the valid votes cast shall be declared elected. In the event that no candidate(s) for any of these positions receives a majority, a runoff election between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for that position shall be conducted at the biennial meeting.
  4. Candidates for at-large Council member positions who receive the highest number of votes corresponding to the number of positions to be filled in an election cycle shall be declared elected unless this would result in more than one at-large Council member from the same region, in which case the candidate not from that region with the next highest number of votes shall be declared elected. In the event that there is a tie for the final open position, a runoff election for that position between the tied candidates shall be conducted.

VII.Vacancies in Officer Positions

  1. A vacancy is created by death, resignation, or ineligibility of an incumbent or by declaration of the President, after consultation with the Executive Committee, in the case of an incumbent who had two unexplained absences from two consecutive meetings of the Council.  Individuals serving on Council as a result of the 2019 Constitutional Amendment Proviso on leadership transition, are not considered “Officers” for the purpose of this section, and any vacancy in any of those positions will not be filled.
  2. When a vacancy occurs in the office of the President of the AAUP, the Vice-President shall assume that office and there will be a vacancy in the office of Vice-President.
  3. When there is a vacancy in the office Vice-President or Secretary-Treasurer or among the elected members of the Council, the vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of the Council, in accordance with Article V of the Constitution.
    1. In filling such a vacancy the President shall ask the existing Nominating Committee to propose two or more candidates. 
    2. The Council shall vote by secret ballot in order to fill the vacancy expeditiously.

VIII.Election Committee

  1. There shall be an Election Committee composed of the General Counsel, who will serve as chair of the committee; the chairperson of the Committee on Membership; and one other member of the Association in good standing, elected by the Council at a meeting in odd-numbered years.
  2. No candidate for or incumbent seeking reelection to any office governed by these Election Rules shall be eligible to serve on the Election Committee during that election cycle. If necessary, other AAUP members shall be substituted by vote of Council to ensure compliance with this requirement.
  3. No member of the Election Committee may endorse a candidate for AAUP elective office.
  4. The Election Committee shall decide any questions which may arise under these Election Rules.
  5. Any member wishing to submit a protest regarding the manner in which an election is being or has been conducted must file such protest in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested, with the Election Committee, along with all supporting documentation, no later than ten business days after the date on which final vote totals are announced. The protest must clearly state that it is an “Election Protest” and must specify the particular Election Rule(s) or Constitutional provision(s) allegedly violated. At the same time, the protesting member shall provide a copy of the protest and supporting documentation by certified mail, return receipt requested, to any candidate(s) who may be affected by the disposition of the protest and shall certify to the Election Committee that he or she has done so. The potentially affected candidate(s) may submit an opposing statement in writing, along with any supporting documentation, to the Election Committee within ten business days of receipt of the protest. At the same time, such candidate shall provide a copy of the opposing statement and supporting documentation by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the protesting member and shall certify to the Election Committee that he or she has done so.
  6. The Election Committee will investigate each protest and report its decision to the protesting member and any affected candidate(s) no later than thirty days after receiving the protest and any materials submitted in response. At the same time, the Election Committee will report to the Council the results of its investigation(s) and its recommended disposition of each protest, which recommendation(s) shall be final and binding unless appealed in a timely manner to the Election Appeals Committee.
  7. The Election Committee also may recommend to the Council changes in the Association’s Election Rules and/or practices.

IX.Election Appeals Committee

  1. There shall be an Election Appeals Committee composed of three members elected from different geographic regions and one alternate. The members of the Election Appeals Committee will be elected by the Council in odd-numbered years. The Election Appeals Committee will select one of its members to serve as chair of the committee.
  2. No candidate for or incumbent seeking reelection to any office governed by these Election Rules or a member of the Election Committee shall be eligible to serve on the Election Appeals Committee during that election cycle.
  3. No member of the Election Appeals Committee may endorse a candidate for AAUP office.
  4. The Election Appeals Committee will consider appeals only after the final votes are announced and the Election Committee has made its final recommendation to the Council on any registered protest.
  5. Any AAUP member or affected candidate may appeal an adverse decision of the Election Committee involving a protest in which he or she is involved by submitting the appeal, in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Election Appeals Committee not later than ten business days after the date on which the final vote totals are announced or ten business days after the Election Committee has communicated its decision to the protesting member, whichever date is later.  The protest must clearly state that it is an “Election Appeal” and must specify the particular Election Rule(s) or Constitutional provision(s) allegedly violated.  Absent compelling circumstances, only evidence originally submitted to the Election Committee may be submitted to or considered by the Election Appeals Committee. At the same time an appeal is submitted, the member submitting the appeal shall serve a copy of the appeal by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon any candidate(s) who may be affected by the disposition of the appeal and shall certify to the Election Appeals Committee that he or she has done so. Any other member involved in the Election Committee’s investigation may submit an opposing statement in writing to the Election Appeals Committee within ten business days of receipt of a copy of the appeal. At the same time, that member shall serve a copy of the opposing statement by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon the appealing member and shall certify to the Election Appeals Committee that he or she has done so.
  6. The decision of the Election Committee will be sustained unless the Election Appeals Committee determines that the Election Committee’s interpretation and/or its application of the AAUP Election Rules was arbitrary or capricious.
  7. Two members of the Election Appeals Committee shall constitute a quorum for the disposition of an appeal. The Election Appeals Committee’s decision will be final and binding.
  8. The Election Appeals Committee will report its final decisions to the Council, the appealing member, and any other member involved in the appeal within three months of its receipt of the appeal.


[1] Adopted by the Council November 1979; amended November 1982, June 1984, November 1984, November 1985, June 1988, June 1991, November 1992, June 1994, November 1995, June 2003, November 2004, June 2005, November 2006, November 2007, February 2009, June 2009, June 2010, February 2011, November 2012, June 2013, and November 2019.