TUG Election Procedures

Background and history

Prior to 1991, elections were held during the business meeting of the TUG annual meeting. According to the Bylaws in effect at the beginning of 1991, elected positions comprised four officers: President and Secretary (to be elected in one year of a two-year cycle), Vice President and Treasurer (to be elected in the alternate year). Members of the Board of Directors were appointed by the Board, not elected.

Discussion began in September 1990 concerning the possibility of having all Directors elected by the full membership, and conducting elections by mail to ensure equal rights for all members. At the March 1991 Board meeting, several changes to the Bylaws were approved, among them

  1. reduction of the size of the Board to 15 elected Directors, plus the President, plus the non-elected (international) Vice Presidents;
  2. a requirement that the Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer be current Directors, and a provision that they be appointed by the Board rather than elected by the membership;
  3. provision for election of these 15 Directors and the President by written mail ballot.
An Election Procedures Committee was appointed to develop procedures for TUG elections and to devise a plan for implementing the first by-mail election in 1991. The first draft of the procedures in this document was the result of that Committee's work.

After the first election and board meeting, some flaws in the procedures and weak points in the underlying philosophy became obvious. An ad hoc committee was assigned to propose revisions based on current experience. Two principal changes have been made. The first was to provide for a full Elections Committee rather than one with responsibility for only Election Procedures. The second change was to the schedule, moving the start of the term of office from January 1 to the beginning of the annual meeting for the Board of the Directors, permitting the first meeting of the incoming Board to occur at the annual meeting. Interim procedures, to span the two years needed to complete the terms of incumbent officials, were provided.

Although approval of the procedures failed to be placed on the Board agenda for several years, the procedures were followed and further modified to deal with previously unforeseen contingencies that did occur during election cycles through 1995.

The procedures that governed the 1995 election were adopted by the Board at the 1995 meeting (Motion 95-7). At that same Board meeting, the proposal was set forth to change from an annual to a biennial election schedule, in part to decrease the expense, and to change the length of the Board term to four years, with the term of the President remaining at two years. After discussion, it was decided to remain with the annual schedule for the 1996 election, and include a referendum on that ballot to adopt the change or not. In the event, not enough candidates came forward in 1996, and no referendum was held. At the 1996 meeting, and by e-mail following the meeting, the intention to institute a biennial schedule was affirmed, and the 1997 election was announced on that basis.

The present draft of the procedures is became operational on July 31, 1997, upon adoption by the Board.


These election procedures are empowered by Article VII, Section 5, of the TUG Bylaws. These procedures must be approved by the TUG Board of Directors in order to take effect.


These procedures shall govern all aspects of elections for those TUG offices for which a written mail ballot is mandated by the Bylaws, and for any other purpose (such as referenda) for which a mail ballot is required. Aspects covered include scheduling, announcements, nomination requirements, ballot preparation, qualifications for voting, tallying of ballots, certification and announcement of results, and fallback procedures in the event of an insufficient number of candidates.

These procedures must conform to the TUG Bylaws; in case of conflict between these procedures and the Bylaws, the Bylaws govern.


The following definitions apply:

Ballot form
This form contains, for each office to be voted on in the current election, a list of candidates, ordered by lot, with a box by each candidate's name to be marked with an X by the voter. The form may also contain a list of referenda, with two boxes for each referendum listed, one labeled "Accept" and the other "Reject", to be marked with the voter's preference. Ballot forms are to be returned by voters in the return envelopes provided. Marks on these forms will be tallied by the teller to determine the outcome of the election. The ballot form as mailed will not carry any means of identifying a particular voter.
Ballot materials
The ballot materials consist of a ballot form, a return envelope, and an information brochure.
A candidate for TUG office is a current member of TUG who meets the qualifications for the office sought and has been nominated for that office in accordance with these procedures.
An Elections Committee, appointed by the TUG Board of Directors, is responsible for overseeing the conduct of elections, for maintaining these procedures, and for other tasks as specified herein. No person may be a member of this Committee whose name is on the ballot in the current election.
Committee chair
The chair of the Elections Committee may delegate responsibilities to any other member of the committee, including that of acting chair, as appropriate to assure that a task is carried out on schedule. Any duty ascribed to the chair may be carried out by such an appointee.
Current member
A current member of TUG is a named individual whose dues are fully paid for the year in which the election is held. Institutional members must have named specific individuals in order for those individuals to be eligible to participate in elections or referenda. A name such as "Library" on the roster of an institutional member does not qualify as a current member. Current membership is a minimum requirement for eligibility to be nominated for office or to receive a ballot.
Fallback procedure
In the extraordinary event that no candidate for President comes forward to be placed on the ballot, voting for Directors will proceed as planned, but the period for announcing candidacy for President will be continued through the beginning of the annual meeting. Candidates for President will then make their statements in person to the membership at the business meeting, after which the voting will take place.
Information brochure
The information brochure is a brochure or information sheet mailed to members as part of the ballot materials. It is intended to provide sufficient information about each candidate and/or referendum to permit voters to make an educated choice. For each candidate it identifies the office sought and contains a photograph, a biography and a personal statement provided by the candidate. Specific requirements concerning the biography and statement appear elsewhere in these procedures. For each referendum, the brochure contains the full statement of the question to be voted on along with the statement of support submitted with the question and a statement giving the position of the board, if different.
Nomination petition
A completed nomination petition is the method by which a candidate may be nominated for office. A nomination petition form will be made available for every election.
TUG elective offices are those of President and Director. Other offices (Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) are appointed by the Board of Directors. (Bylaws, Article VII, Section 4.)
Return envelope
An envelope addressed to the teller will be provided as part of the ballot materials. On the back of this envelope will be affixed a label identifying the member to whom the ballot was sent.
The teller for an election is the disinterested person or organization that certifies and counts the ballots, tallies the votes, and delivers the results to the proper authority for notifying the candidates and announcing the results to the membership.
TUG journal of record
TeX & TUG News, if it is in existence at the time when announcements are to be made, otherwise TUGboat.

Frequency and timing

An election will be held every odd-numbered year.

The President's term will be no more than two years. (Bylaws, Article VII, Section 4.)

The number of Directors will be no more than fifteen (15). (Bylaws, Article IV, Section 2.) However, the actual number may be less, as long as it does not fall below 50% of the specified number. (Bylaws, Article IV, Section 7.) The actual number is to be agreed by the Board before each election.

All Directors will be elected for four-year terms. (Bylaws, Article IV, Section 6.) Approximately half the agreed number of Directors will be elected at each election, or the number that will bring the total to the agreed level.

All terms of office begin at the opening of the annual Board meeting following the election, and run until the opening of the annual Board meeting of the last year of the term. Elections must be scheduled so that the results will be known and the newly-elected officers and Directors can be notified before their terms begin to permit arrangements to be made for attending the meeting; see Schedule.

Both outgoing and incoming officials are to be encouraged to participate in the Board meeting associated with the annual TUG meeting, in order to effect a smooth transition. However, under normal circumstances, only the incoming and continuing officials may vote at that meeting.

In the event that there is no candidate for President to place on the ballot, the fallback procedure will apply: All Directors, outgoing, continuing and incoming, will meet to prepare for the business meeting; the "old" Board will vote on matters that cannot be deferred until the new President, elected at the business meeting, can assume office.

An outline schedule appears in the Schedule.

Announcement of election

The first announcement of the annual election is to be published in an issue of the TUG journal of record that will reach most members no later the end of October. The announcement will consist of two parts:

  1. an informative article, signed by the chair or another member of the Elections Committee, stating
    1. what offices are open for election,
    2. eligibility requirements for candidates,
    3. the election schedule,
    4. instructions for filling in and returning nomination petitions,
    5. additional items that are required from candidates, namely a photograph, a biography, and a personal statement,
    6. encouragement to participate in the election, as either a candidate or a voter;
  2. a copy of the nomination petition form.

The announcement should also be sent to the major TeX-related electronic discussion lists and posted at the TUG Web site.

The deadline for receipt of nomination forms in the TUG office should be included in the TUG calendar published in the TUG journal of record and on the TUG Web site.

A sample article and nomination petition form appear in a later section.


Nominations are governed by the Bylaws: Article IV, Section 6, pertains to Directors; Article VII, Section 3 pertains to the President.

Only one method of nomination is recognized: nomination by petition.


A potential candidate must be a current TUG member. This implies that the member's dues have been paid for the year in which the election is being held, by the deadline for submission of nominations.

There is no restriction on the class of membership. Thus a candidate may be an individual member, an individual named by an institutional member, or a student member.

Nomination by petition

A petition for nomination must be signed by the candidate and by two (2) other TUG members. The completed nomination form must be received at the TUG office by the published deadline, which should be at least 30 days prior to the election.

Nomination petition forms

A nomination petition form will be prepared under the direction of the Elections Committee for each election; this task may be delegated to the TUG office. The form will be published in the TUG journal of record; additional copies of the form shall be available from the TUG office and in electronic form from the TUG Web site, CTAN and other appropriate archives.

The nomination petition form will contain at least the following information:

  1. year of the election, starting date of the term of office, and ending date or length of term;
  2. a space in which to indicate the office being sought, or identification of the office if only one is open for this election;
  3. a space for the candidate's name;
  4. statement that the candidate accepts the nomination and space for the candidate's signature affirming this statement;
  5. spaces for the appropriate number of signatures required for support of candidacy, and a statement that all signers must be current TUG members;
  6. summary instructions for filling out and submitting the form including deadline for receipt of the form and supplementary ballot information at the TUG office.

Acknowledgement and verification of nomination materials

Upon receipt of nomination materials, the TUG office will immediately complete and return to the nominee the Nomination Acknowledgement Form (see later section). Within one working day, the office will forward a copy of this form plus the biography/personal statement to the chair or other designated Committee member by e-mail or fax.

Eligibility, i.e., current membership, is to be checked in the database by the TUG office staff. Other required items are to be verified by the Committee.

In cases where a supporting name on the form matches a name in the database but the dues for that individual are not up-to-date, the second form letter, requesting immediate renewal of membership, must be sent to that individual within one working day by the TUG office.

In cases where a name that appears on the form is not exactly matched by a current member's name in the database, a copy of the form and membership information for names that most closely resemble the questioned name on the form are to be forwarded to (a designated member of) the Committee for a ruling and suitable action.

If the candidate information is not received by the announced deadline, the TUG office staff is to notify the Committee, who are responsible for informing the nominee that the nomination must be considered void. Copies of all correspondence, from both the TUG office and the Committee, concerning attempts to obtain information, are to be placed on file in the TUG office. The Elections Committee, in such a case, will provide the Executive Committee with a short report.

Shortfall of Nominations

In the event of there being the same number or fewer nominations as vacancies, all candidates nominated shall be declared elected without a formal ballot, and announcement to that effect shall be made in accordance with the relevant section.

In the event of there being fewer candidates for the Board than vacancies, additional Directors may be appointed by the President in accordance with the Bylaws, Article IV, Section 8.

In the event of there being no candidate for President, the election for the Board will proceed. Election of the President will revert to the fallback procedure.

Fallback procedure

When there is no candidate for President by the ballot deadline, the position will be omitted from the ballot, and the period for announcing candidacy will remain open until the first day of the annual meeting. Any candidate for President under this procedure must attend the annual meeting. An announcement of the extended period will be made as soon as the situation is known; such an announcement will be included with the ballot, and posted to all the same venues as the original announcement of the election.

Late candidates for President must deliver their nomination form to (a designated member of) the Elections Committee for validation prior to the start of the annual meeting; this requirement is waived if a candidate for the Board decides to become a candidate for President.

Candidates for President through this procedure will present their statements in person to the membership at the annual business meeting, after which voting will take place by paper ballot. If there is only one candidate, the office will be awarded by acclamation.

Preparation and mailing of ballots

Ballot materials are to be prepared by the TUG office staff, with assistance, if necessary, from the Committee. The final copy of the ballot materials is to be checked by (a member of) the Committee before printing.

Ballot form

The ballot form may consist of one or two parts, as necessary:

  1. election of officials;
  2. referenda.
The ballot form should contain only the following:
  1. title(s) of the office(s) for which the election is being held, each title followed by the names of the candidates for that office;
  2. title and short descriptive statement for each referendum item;
  3. summary instructions for completing and returning the ballot;
  4. deadline for latest postmark that may appear on a completed ballot envelope in order for the ballot to be counted;
  5. the address to which the marked ballot form is to be sent.
If the back of the ballot form is not needed for this information, it should remain blank.

Names of the candidates for an office are to be ordered randomly, with the order chosen by lot. An open square, in which the voter can make an "X" to indicate a choice, is to precede each name listed. An instruction for marking a vote with an "X" must be at the top of the ballot form.

For each office, the maximum number of candidates to be voted for should be indicated clearly.

Referenda, if more than one, are to be arranged in an order determined by the Committee.

For each referendum, the title is to be preceded by two open squares, the first marked "Accept", the second, "Reject", in which the voter's choice is to be indicated.

Information brochure

The information brochure is to be prepared for printing by the TUG office staff, with assistance, if necessary, from the Committee.

The information brochure is to contain information on returning the ballot, including the return address and the dates by which the return envelope must be (a) postmarked, and (b) received by the teller.

The information brochure will contain, for each candidate, a photograph, a biography, and the candidate's statement.

The photograph of the candidate should be passport size, showing the candidate's head and shoulders. For ease of manipulation, actual photographs are preferred.

The length of the combined biography and statement must not exceed 400 words. This must be stated very clearly in requests to candidates for the information. The Committee will assist the nominee in achieving the required length.

Candidates are to be listed alphabetically, with a separate list for each office on the ballot.

Candidate information is to be formatted in a uniform manner. Editing should be done only to insert tags required for proper TeX processing or to correct spelling. If there are any questions, the Committee shall be the final arbiter.

The information brochure shall also contain descriptive information for each referendum on the ballot. The text of this information is to be certified by the Committee; it may be proposed by the sponsor, or it may be drafted by a TUG member familiar with the intent of the referendum. If the Board wishes to take a position on a referendum question, text may be provided by the Secretary or by another Director assigned by the President.

Return envelope

The address of the teller will be printed on the front of the return envelope. Postage will not be provided (i.e., this will not be a business reply envelope), but a message such as "Place postage here" should be printed where the stamp should be affixed to avoid confusion.

A label with the member's name and address will be affixed to the envelope to permit the teller to match the returned ballot with a list of eligible voters.


Ballot materials are to be mailed first class, in a separate mailing.

The outside envelope should carry the notation "Ballot enclosed".

Counting the ballots

The TUG office will make arrangements for a disinterested person or organization to serve as teller for the election. (The TUG accountant may be authorized to serve in this capacity.) Ballots will be returned directly to the teller, and will not be handled by anyone associated with TUG until the results of the election have been certified by the teller.

The teller is expected to develop appropriate procedures for tallying votes. However, the following instructions are to be incorporated into those procedures.

  1. The member's name and address must appear on the return envelope. If the envelope is not the one supplied with the ballot materials, the name and address must be checked for validity against the TUG database, and additionally against the other returns to ensure that there is no duplication.
  2. Ballots received after a cutoff date specified by the Committee are to be set aside and tallied, but the votes not counted.
  3. The Committee may specify a cutoff date for receipt of ballots that allows a reasonable time for postal delivery, but does not unduly delay the completion of the vote count or announcement of election results. Ballots received after such a cutoff date, regardless of postmark date, are to be set aside and tallied, but the votes not counted.
  4. In case of multiple ballots from the same member, the one with the latest postmark is to be counted.
  5. Any ballot on which more votes are cast than the maximum permitted for any office are to be eliminated from the tally for that office.
  6. For President, the winner shall be the candidate for that office who receives the most votes.
  7. For Directors, the winners shall be the appropriate number of candidates for that office who receive the greatest number of votes, in descending order.
  8. For referenda, the position ("Accept" or "Reject") receiving the greatest number of votes wins.
  9. In the event of a tie, the winner shall be chosen by lot, by the teller.

The teller will inform the TUG office of the results as soon as the tally is complete, and the office will immediately forward the results to the Elections Committee.

In addition to the formal tally of votes, the teller is to be requested to compile demographic data, in particular, a tally of the geographic areas from which ballots were returned.

Acting on the results

The Elections Committee will prepare a notice and forward it to the successful candidates informing them of their election.

The Committee will prepare letters from the current President to the unsuccessful candidates, thanking them for participating in the election and inviting them to remain active members. These letters will be forwarded to the President for signature and mailing.

After the candidates have been notified, a message announcing the election results will be sent by (a member of) the Elections Committee to the tug-board electronic mailing list, with a request to Board members to keep the information confidential until the official announcement has been made by a representative of the Elections Committee.

The chair of the Elections Committee will prepare an announcement with the election results for the next issue of the TUG journal of record and forward it to the editor(s) for publication.

The chair of the Elections Committee will prepare an announcement suitable for electronic dissemination and send it to the principal TeX-related mailing lists that are not associated with specific user associations other than TUG, in particular TeXhax, Info-TeX and TeX-Euro.

The chair of the Elections Committee will direct to be updated the tug-board electronic mailing list to include the newly elected officials. If a new President has been elected, the tug-exec list should also be updated. A member of the Executive Committee should send a notice to tug-board announcing the update, and welcoming the newcomers to the list. It should state that the newcomers are welcome to participate in discussions but that they may not vote until their new terms begin, and give that date.

Summary of responsibilities

Elections Committee

The Committee is responsible for

  1. developing and maintaining these election procedures;
  2. creating the schedule for the election; this may depend on the dates of the annual meeting;
  3. preparing an announcement of the election for the TUG journal of record;
  4. preparing the nomination petition form for publication in the TUG journal of record to accompany the first announcement;
  5. assisting the TUG office in validating eligibility of candidates and supporting signers in cases where names on nomination petition forms do not agree with member names in the database;
  6. assisting the TUG office in obtaining satisfactory ballot statements from candidates;
  7. checking the ballot materials before printing and mailing;
  8. notifying the Executive Committee, the incumbent Board, and the successful candidates of the election results;
  9. preparing letters for the President to send to the unsuccessful candidates, and delivering these letters to the President for signatures and mailing;
  10. adding the addresses of the new officials to the appropriate mailing lists;
  11. preparing an announcement of the election results for the TUG journal of record and delivering it to the editor(s);
  12. preparing and distributing an announcement of the election results via the principal TeX-related electronic discussion lists;
  13. preparing and submitting a final report to the Board.

TUG office

The TUG office is responsible for

  1. supplying additional petition forms to prospective candidates on request;
  2. receiving and acknowledging nomination petition forms, and validating eligibility of candidates and supporting signers, with assistance from the Committee in case of problems;
  3. obtaining photographs and statements from the candidates, and preparing copy for the ballot, information brochure and return envelope; if problems arise, assistance is to be requested from the Committee;
  4. arranging for the teller;
  5. mailing the ballots;
  6. maintaining complete files of announcements, correspondence, and other documents related to the election; such documents may be kept in paper and/or electronic form, as appropriate.

Incumbent officers and Board

The President is responsible for

  1. signing letters prepared by the TUG office to the unsuccessful candidates and mailing them.
(A representative of) the Executive Committee is responsible for
  1. sending a message to the tug-board list after the new names have been added, welcoming the newcomers and stating their privileges and responsibilities.
The Board of Directors as a whole is responsible for
  1. appointing the Elections Committee;
  2. approving the election procedures document and subsequent updates.


Most dates are given relative to the deadline for receipt of nomination forms, designated below as "N".

The location at which items must be received by the various deadlines is assumed to be the TUG office unless specified otherwise.

first announcement reaches members
no later than October 1
deadline for receipt of nomination forms
January 5 =n
deadline for receipt of candidate information
n+1 week
ballot camera copy to printer
n+2 weeks
ballots mailed to members
n+4-5 weeks
(delivery and voting period)
5 weeks, minimum
postmark deadline
n+10 weeks
deadline for receipt by teller of marked ballots
n+12 weeks
(vote counting period)
2 weeks, minimum
notification of candidates
no later than 6 weeks prior to annual meeting
annual business meeting
between June 15 and August 30
announcement of election results
first available issue of TUG journal of record, TeX-related electronic discussion lists, TUG web site

Sample announcement and petition form

(Please see the TeX version.)

Form letters

(Please see the TeX version.)

Chronology and change history

This is a record of approval dates and changes to these procedures.

July 14, 1991
Board approval of preliminary outline on which this first draft is based
July, 1992
Board approval requested for procedures governing a full Elections Committee and incorporating schedule changes moving the starting date of terms from January to July; deferred.
July 1993
Board approval requested. Changes include dividing the Board into three "classes" of five members each, with each class term being three years in a steady state.
July 1994
Question inadvertently omitted from Board agenda; deferred.
July 1995
Board approval requested. Provisional approval given to carry out 1996 election according to draft as modified by hand at the meeting.
January 1996
Manuscript amendments from July 1995 meeting incorporated into draft, with annotations; draft read for a sanity check and discrepancies removed.
July 1996
Board approval to be requested; deferred.
May 1997
Additions and modifications made to incorporate fallback procedures in the event of no candidate for President.
July 1997
Board approval to be requested.

$Date: 2006/10/23 00:35:53 $;
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