Elections & Referenda
The UTSU’s Fall 2021 By-Elections are currently underway. Please visit our Upcoming Elections page under Get Involved to learn more. During COVID-19, all election activities will be held entirely online. Please stay tuned to this page, the UTSU’s social media and newsletters for timely updates year-round.
How Our Elections Work
Each year, the UTSU hosts elections so that students have the opportunity to make a difference in their student government, and to campaign on the issues that matter to them and their communities. You can nominate yourself and campaign to represent your fellow students at the Board or Executive level. These elections primarily take place in the spring semester of each year, but elections to fill vacancies are held in the fall semester as well. Every UTSU member is encouraged to run in our elections.
All voting takes place online using our online electronic voting service, Simply Voting. To view past ballots, assign proxies for general meetings, or vote in the UTSU’s elections, please visit utsu.simplyvoting.com (opens in new window) and sign in using your UTORid and password.
If you’re interested in our elections, but you aren’t sure whether or not you’d like to run, please consider attending an all-candidates meeting or an information session whenever they are held to learn more. These will usually be announced ahead of time on our social media and on our Upcoming Elections page .
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Board of Directors
The UTSU Board of Directors governs YOUR Students’ Union. It is composed of members, just like you.
Full-time status as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto St. George campus. Exceptions include
- Being enrolled as an M. Div. student in the Toronto School of Theology
- Being enrolled in the Transitional Year Program
- Being an engineer who is currently in their Professional Experience Year (PEY)
All students in these categories are included in the UTSU membership, regardless of their full-time or undergraduate status.
- All UTSU fees are paid in full
- 18 years of age at the point of ratification
1 – By Elections:
Most of the Directors on the UTSU Board are elected by our membership in the Spring elections. Visit the elections page on the UTSU website for details on which seats are open in the upcoming elections: utsu.ca/elections
The UTSU also holds elections in the Fall for by-elections and faculties that offer one (1) year programs. The existing Board, prior to the new terms of office, ratifies newly elected members.
2 – By Appointment:
Further, Directors may be appointed by the UTSU Board should a vacancy arise after the by-election period. Visit utsu.ca/jobs for more information.
Members can vote for individual seats if they belong to the constituency (e.g. members of St. Michael’s College can vote for directors from St. Michael’s College). All members can vote for every executive seat, with the exception of the Vice-President, Professional Faculties. Only members that belong to professional faculties elect the Vice-President, Professional Faculties.
If you did not receive a ballot for the director from your College/Faculty, this is because your College/Faculty has opted to run their own internal elections for their Director seat(s). You will have to contact your College/Faculty Student Association/Union for details on how to vote in their internal elections.
This depends upon whether you are a member of an Academic Constituency or a Professional Faculty. In the case of the Academic Directors, only UTSU members who are part of one or more of the academic constituencies may vote for candidates from those constituencies.
If you are registered in more than one (1) of the academic categories, you may vote in elections for Academic Directors in each category in which you are registered.
STV is a voting system that utilizes ranked balloting, allowing for proportional representation of the membership. If you wish to learn more about STV voting, click on the link provided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8XOZJkozfI (opens in new window)
On a ranked ballot, a voter indicates their preferences for who is to hold the position in question. As shown in the example below, a voter indicates their first choice with a numeral “1”, their second choice with a numeral “2” and so on for each candidate that they wish to select.
No, you may rank some, none, or all candidates on the ballot. The choice is yours.
How Can I Get Involved?
Obtain a nomination package, mark yourself down as a candidate by following the instructions provided at the top of this page, and attend an all-candidates meeting to learn all the specifics about running in our elections.
If you ever have any questions during the election season, please contact email@example.com (opens in new window) and you should receive a prompt reply. Should you have any questions outside of the election season, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window) or email@example.com (opens in new window).
Please note that late submissions of nomination packages will not be accepted, as procedures need to be followed carefully to ensure that elections are being conducted freely and fairly.
A full list of open positions can be found at the top of this page.
Positions from your college or faculty may be elected via your local society’s own internal elections, as we allow local societies to conduct elections for UTSU seats if that is their preference. Please visit your college or faculty-student association’s website or social media to learn more about their elections, and how you can get involved in your student community.
All UTSU members are eligible to vote in UTSU elections, with the exception of the UTSU’s General Manager. UTSU members are defined as the following (current to August 2020):
- All individuals who have registered full-time at the University of Toronto St. George campus, in a program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate, are taking the equivalent of a full-time course load at the University of Toronto for the current session, and who have paid membership fees to the UTSU.
- Registered students of the Toronto School of Theology.
- Registered students of the Transitional Year Program.
- Registered students of the Professional Employment Year program.
- Members of the Executive Committee during their respective terms in office, including the General Manager of the UTSU.
A referendum is a vote held by an organization to determine its membership’s position on a particular question. The outcome of a referendum is binding, i.e. the organization must take steps to comply with the outcome of the vote.
All referenda questions are phrased as Yes/No/Abstain questions. This means that there will be campaigning in one of two (2) categories: Yes or No. Anyone wishing to campaign on either side must form or join an advocacy committee and register its members with the Chair of the Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC) and the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) and declare its position.
You must provide the Chair of the ERC and the CRO the following information:
- The full name of the Advocating Committee.
- The name, address and telephone number of the chief agent of the committee.
- The names, addresses, telephone number and title of each member of the committee.
There can only be one (1) advocacy committee per position, i.e. Yes or No campaign. Therefore, if there is already a registered advocacy committee, all members will have to be registered and work together.
During the Spring Election Period (February-March), please email the Chief Returning Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window) for any questions regarding becoming a candidate, campaigning, or anything else, including election rules and regulations.
If you are seeking election information outside of an election cycle, please contact the Vice-President Operations at email@example.com (opens in new window).