The Countback Amendment

If you don't have any idea what this is, you should visit the Countback page first. First on this page is the actual text of the Countback Amendment, however, it has since been modified. Secondly, there is a quick walk-through of how the Countback Election actually works.

**IMPORTANT: This passed the Internal Affairs Commission on April 4, 2005 and the ASUCD Senate on April 7, 2005. It will be on the ballot in the Fall 2005 ASUCD election.

REVISED VERSION (DRAFT 3.8 – March, 7 2005)


Section 11

(1) Filling Vacancies — ASUCD Senate vacancies shall be filled by a "Countback Election" using the ballots cast by voters during the election in which the vacating candidate(s) originally ran. The Countback Election will be conducted in the following manner.

(2) For the purpose of this section, an "election cycle" shall refer to either of the pools of candidates running in the most recent Fall or Winter ASUCD General Election. For each election cycle, ASUCD shall maintain, for each ASUCD Senator or Senator-elect, a list of the weighted ballots assigned them at the conclusion of the most recent General Election or Countback Election. ASUCD shall also maintain, for each election cycle, a list of the weighted exhausted ballots at the conclusion of the most recent General or Countback Election.

(3) In the event of a vacancy or vacancies, all candidates of the election cycle that are eligible to assume ASUCD office and that have not won a previous General Election or Countback Election for that election cycle shall be contacted within two (2) academic days from the time at which the vacancy or vacancies occurred. All contacted candidates will be given one (1) week from the time at which they were contacted to respond as to whether or not they are willing to accept the position of ASUCD Senator should they be elected in the Countback Election. All candidates who decline to serve or do not respond within the one (1) week period shall be excluded from the Countback Election. ASUCD shall provide a public list, updated daily, of all candidates participating in the Countback Election prior to the Countback Election. After the one (1) week response period, or once all candidates have responded, ASUCD shall conduct, within (3) academic days, a Single Transferable Vote tally using the ballots of all vacating Senator(s) combined with all exhausted ballots of that election cycle. The number of winners of the tally shall equal the number of vacancies to fill from that election cycle.

(4) Each winning candidate that receives at least fifty percent (50%) of the threshold for the Countback Election will be issued a certificate of election at the next Senate meeting. Upon receipt of the certificate, each candidate will immediately assume office as an ASUCD Senator for the remainder of the original term. For each winning candidate that does not receive at least fifty percent (50%) of the threshold, the vacancy will be filled in the following manner.

(5) The ASUCD President shall have responsibility for filling the vacancy on an interim basis. The President shall exclusively appoint a successor from among applications received during a one week advertising period. The advertising period must being within two (2) academic days from the time at which the Countback Election was held and must be at least five (5) academic days in length during the regular academic year (summer sessions shall not be considered part of the regular academic year). The President must appoint an interim Senator within two (2) weeks from the time at which the Countback Election was held. Any appointments made by the President shall be confirmed by a majority of the remaining members of the Senate. In the event that five (5) or more vacancies exist on the Senate, a quorum need not be present in order to confirm the interim appointment of the replacement Senate members made by the President.

(6) The appointed replacement member shall serve as an interim member of the ASUCD Senate until the vacated Senate seat is filled on a permanent basis at the next regularly scheduled Senate election.

The Countback Election: A Simple Explanation by Jonathon Leathers

The Countback Election is a way to fill vacated Senate seats without the President appointing someone or having to hold a special election. Below is an example of how a Countback Election would fill the recent vacancies of Malik and Ruel.

Click here to follow along with this explanation: Fall 2004 Countback.

1) Once a Senator vacates, all of the non-elected candidates from the vacating Senator's election are contacted within two days and asked if they would be willing to serve out the rest of that Senator's term should they be elected in the Countback Election. They are given one week to respond at which point the following occurs.

2) The ballot data from the election in which the vacating Senator was elected is accessed within three academic days of the end of the one week response period.

3) The Countback Election begins by transferring all of the ballots used to elect Malik (513), all of the ballots used to elect Ruel (513), and all of the exhausted ballots from that election (484). The ballots that elected the non-vacating Senators are excluded from the Countback Election as those voters continue to have a serving representative. (Note: 513 was the threshold for the Fall 2004 election).

4) The first round of the Countback Election shows all of the transferred votes from Malik's pile, Ruel's pile, and the exhausted pile of ballots. Also notice that all elected and vacating candidates have been excluded from the Countback Election as they obviously cannot be elected again.

5) The election then continues until one of the remaining candidates meets the threshold to be elected as a Replacement Senator. In this case, candidate Manteghi is the first to meet the threshold and is thus elected. The next round sees candidate Chin as the only remaining candidate and since two seats must be filled, she is elected by process of elimination. (If a candidate is elected in the Countback Election without receiving at least 50% of the threshold, they will not be elected and instead the President will have authority to choose an interim Senator).

6) Assuming a Senator announces their resignation at a Senate meeting, the Countback Election would occur within two weeks and the winner would be announced thereafter. The winner would then be sworn in and assume office two Senate meetings from the time at which the vacancy occurred. (There would only be 2 Senate meetings with an empty seat; the meeting they resign and then the meeting during the one week response period).

** To see how the Ackerman, Barr, Malik and Ruel vacancies would have been filled using a Countback Election, visit:


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2005-02-05 18:38:03   This looks good to me. This ammendment will also have to remove the sections refering to the Presidential appointment. —PhilipNeustrom

2005-02-06 00:21:29   Yeah, I didn't get the formating right and didn't have time to fix it so I just put up this version for now. However, I have a .doc version with correct formatting for ASUCD legislation —JonathonLeathers

2005-02-09 18:28:46   I just changed the amendment so that when someone resigns, the non-elected candidates from the election in which the vacating candidate was elected are contacted and given one week to say if they will or will not accept the position of Replacement Senator should they be elected. After that, then the Countback Election is held and the only possible winners will be people willing to serve, which means there will only be one Countback Election. There is still a backup that states they have to get 50% of the threshold for the Countback Election, if they don't, then the President can appoint someone. —JonathonLeathers