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 July 1, 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. The steady-state procedures, upon adoption by the Board, will become fully operational July 1, 1994.


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.

Some interim procedures are required to effect a change in the election schedule as initially established. These interim procedures are isolated in a later section for ease of excision after the transition has been accomplished.


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, requirements for nomination of candidates, ballot preparation, qualifications for voting, tallying of ballots, and certification and announcement of results.

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. 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 BoD, 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.
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. Current membership is a minimum requirement for eligibility to be nominated for office or to receive a ballot.
Information brochure
The information brochure is a brochure mailed to members as part of the ballot materials. It is intended to provide sufficient information about each candidate 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.
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, a short statement certifying that the votes are the member's own choice, and a space for the member's signature.
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.

Frequency and timing

This draft of these procedures incorporates a change in the election schedule, affecting the beginning and ending dates of terms of office. The ``final'', steady-state schedule is stated below; the procedures by which the schedule is to be normalized appear in a later section.

An election will be held every year.

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

All 15 elected Directors will be elected for three-year terms. (Bylaws, Article IV, Section 6.) Board elections will be held annually, with five (5) Directors elected each year.

All terms of office begin on July 1 following the election and run through June 30 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. However, the actual date of the meeting will determine who may vote at that meeting: if June 30 or earlier, the outgoing officials will vote; if July 1 or later, voting is the duty of the incoming officials.

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 *TeX and TUG NEWS and/or TUGboat that will reach most members no later than 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 deadline for receipt of nomination forms in the TUG office should be included in the TUG calendar published in *TeX and TUG NEWS and TUGboat.

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


Nominations are governed by the Bylaws, with Article IV, Section 6, pertaining to Directors and Article VII, Section 3, to the President.

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.

Previous experience as a member of the Board of Directors is encouraged for a candidate for the office of President.

Nomination by petition

A petition for nomination must be signed by the candidate and by two (2) other TUG members. The completed nomination petition 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 *TeX and TUG NEWS and/or TUGboat as appropriate; additional copies of the form shall be available from the TUG office.

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 at the TUG office.

Acknowledgement of completed forms

Every nomination petition form received in the TUG office is to be acknowledged immediately, including a statement that the form is acceptable as received (i.e., all names are those of current members) or that there are problems, and citing the nature of such problems.

The TUG office may seek assistance from the Committee in cases where a problem is not able to be cleared up immediately, e.g., by payment of outstanding dues.

If the information required from each candidate for the ballot does not accompany the completed form, the letter of acknowledgement should include a request that it be sent, with a clearly stated deadline.

Verification of eligibility

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

In cases where a name on the form matches a name in the database but the dues for that individual are not up-to-date, that individual must be notified as soon as possible by the TUG office, and the choice given of paying the dues or finding another signer.

If the name of the unpaid individual is that of the nominee, the nominee and the Committee are to be notified in writing, and a copy of this notice placed on file in the TUG office. If the dues are not paid by the deadline for submission of nomination forms, that nomination is withdrawn, and a second notice in writing sent to the withdrawn nominee, to the Committee, and placed on file.

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.

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

Preparation and mailing of ballots

Ballot materials are to be prepared by the TUG office staff, with assistance, if necessary, from the Committee. 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;
  3. summary instructions for completing and returning the ballot;
  4. deadline for latest postmark that may appear on a completed ballot in order for it 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 ordered as directed 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.

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.

Specifications for candidate information

The photograph of the candidate should be passport size, showing the candidate's head and shoulders.

The length of the combined biography and statement should not exceed 400 words. This must be stated very clearly in requests to candidates for the information. Statements in excess of this length are to be forwarded from the TUG office to the Committee, for return to the candidate with a request for revision.

Obtaining candidate information

If a candidate does not submit the required ballot information along with the completed petition, this information should be requested in the acknowledgement sent from the TUG office on receipt of the form.

If the candidate information is not received by the announced deadline, the TUG office staff is to notify the Committee, which may decide to try one last time to obtain it, or ask if the candidate wishes to withdraw. If the information is not available by the time it is necessary to prepare camera copy, and the candidate does not wish to withdraw, the candidate's name and address are to be printed, with the notation ``[Candidate did not supply any information.]''. Copies of all correspondence concerning attempts to obtain information, from both the TUG office and the Committee, are to be placed on file in the TUG office.

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 back of the envelope, preceded by the printed message ``From:''. A statement certifying that the vote is the member's own, with a space left for the member's signature, should also appear on the back.


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. The statement on the envelope certifying that the votes are the member's own must be signed.
  3. Ballots received after a cutoff date specified by the Committee are to be set aside and tallied, but the votes not counted.
  4. 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.
  5. In case of multiple ballots from the same member, the one with the latest postmark is to be counted.
  6. 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.
  7. For President, the winner shall be the candidate for that office who received the most votes.
  8. For Directors, the winners shall be the appropriate number of candidates for that office who received the greatest number of votes, in descending order.
  9. For referenda, the position (``Accept'' or ``Reject'') receiving the greatest number of votes wins.
  10. 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 incumbent Board.

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 TUG office will prepare a notice informing the successful candidates of their election, and after approval by the Executive Committee, forward it to them.

The TUG office 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 the TUG office to the \verb|TUGBD-L| 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 TUG office will prepare an announcement with the election results for the next issue of *TeX and TUG NEWS and/or TUGboat 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 TUG office will update, or direct to be updated, the TUGBD-L electronic mailing list to include the newly elected officials. If a new President has been elected, the TUGEX-L list should also be updated. A member of the Executive Committee should send a notice to TUGBD-L 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 *TeX and TUG NEWS and/or TUGboat;
  4. 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;
  5. assisting the TUG office in obtaining satisfactory ballot statements from candidates;
  6. checking the ballot materials before printing and mailing;
  7. preparing and distributing an announcement of the election results via the principal TeX-related electronic discussion lists;
  8. preparing and submitting a final report to the Board.

TUG office

The TUG office is responsible for

  1. preparing the nomination petition form for publication in *TeX and TUG NEWS and/or TUGboat to accompany the first announcement;
  2. supplying additional petition forms to prospective candidates on request;
  3. receiving and acknowledging nomination petition forms, and validating eligibility of candidates and supporting signers, with assistance from the Committee in case of problems;
  4. 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;
  5. arranging for the teller;
  6. mailing the ballots;
  7. notifying the incumbent Board and the successful candidates of the election results;
  8. preparing letters from the President to the unsuccessful candidates, and delivering these letters to the President for signatures and mailing;
  9. adding the addresses of the new officials to the appropriate mailing lists;
  10. preparing an announcement of the election results for *TeX and TUG NEWS and/or TUGboat and delivering it to the editor(s);
  11. 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. approving the notice prepared by the TUG office informing the successful candidates of their election;
  2. sending a message to the \verb|TUGBD-L| 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.


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 May 1
annual business meeting
between June 15 and August 30
announcement of election results
first available TTN, TeX-related electronic discussion lists

Sample announcement and petition form

<Year> TeX Users Group Election

Accompanying this announcement is a nomination petition form for the TeX Users Group election for <year>. The officials to be elected this year are [President and] <number> members of the Board of Directors. [All current members of TUG are eligible to become candidates. or Some previous TUG Board experience would be helpful to candidates for President.]

Candidates for any open office may be nominated by petition. A petition must be signed by the candidate (to signify acceptance) and by <how many> other TUG members, and returned to the TUG office. The deadline for receipt of petitions for this year is <date>.

Three items pertaining to the candidate should accompany the petition: a photograph (passport size), a short biography, and a statement of purpose. Together, these last two items must comprise no more than 400 words, distributed as the candidate feels appropriate; longer statements will be returned to the candidate for revision. The photograph and statements will accompany the ballot sent to members, and may in some cases provide all the information that a member knows about a candidate.

Ballots will be mailed to all members about 30 days after the close of nominations. Marked ballots must be postmarked no more than five (5) weeks following the mailing; the exact dates will be noted on the ballots.

Ballots will be counted by a disinterested party not part of the TUG organization. The results of the election should be available by <general date, e.g. ``the end of November''>.

It is the Board's hope that every member of TUG will participate actively, either as a candidate or by supporting the candidacy of others, and certainly as a thoughtful voter.

<name of Committee member>
for the Elections Committee

Nomination for <year> TeX Users Group Election

Only TUG members whose dues have been paid for <year> are eligible to have their names appear on this petition, as either nominee or supporter. The signatures of two (2) members are required in addition to that of the nominee. By signing this form, the nominee certifies willingness to accept the nomination. Type or print names clearly, exactly as they appear in the most recent TUG membership list or on a TUG mailing label; new members should enter the name which they used on their membership application form. Names that do not exactly match the TUG records will not be accepted as valid.

The undersigned TUG members propose the nomination of: Name of nominee. . . . . . . . . . .(signature). . . . . . . . . . .(date)
for the position of <title of position> for a term from July 1 <starting year> through June 30 <ending year>.

Members supporting this nomination

Nominated by. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Signature. . . . . . . . . . .Date
(please print)

Return this petition to the TUG office (FAXed submissions will also be accepted). Petitions must be received in the TUG office no later than <nomination deadline>.

TeX Users Group
Nominations for 199x Election
1850 Union Street Suite 1637
San Francisco, California 94123 USA
FAX: (415) 982-8559

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.

Interim procedures changing schedule from January to July

At the time of this draft, all terms end on December 31, as specified by the original election procedures adopted July 14, 1991. For one election cycle, the terms of the replacements for these officials will begin on January 1 and run for an additional half year to end on June 30. This will bring the election schedule into conformance with the procedure as of January 1, 1994.

It is intended that this Appendix be deleted when the terms of all officials are aligned with the ``July'' schedule, that is, in 1994.

No election will be held in 1994, the transition year. Annual elections will resume in 1995, but in the Spring rather than the Fall.

The President will be elected in 1992, an even-numbered year, for a term of two and one-half years. (Bylaws, Article VII, Section 4, requires amendment, July 1992.)

All 15 elected Directors will be elected in 1993, an odd-numbered year, for terms of two and one-half years. (Bylaws, Article IV, Section 6, requires amendment, July 1992.)

Nomination from the floor of the annual meeting

Until the practice becomes obsolete, an individual nominated from the floor at the annual business meeting must notify the TUG office in writing before the deadline for filing of nomination petitions to accept the nomination.


The schedule below is the one contained in the first draft of these Procedures.

Most dates are given relative to the annual business meeting. The date designated ``M'' below is the date of the business meeting + 23 days.

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 March 31
deadline for receipt of nomination forms
M-23 days
annual business meeting
M-23 days
deadline for receipt of acceptance of nominations from the floor of business meeting
M+1 week
deadline for receipt of candidate information
M+1 week
ballot camera copy to printer
M+2 weeks
ballots mailed to members
M+4-5 weeks
(delivery and voting period)
5 weeks, minimum
deadline for receipt by teller of marked ballots}
M+10 weeks
(vote counting period)
2 weeks, minimum
notification of candidates
announcement of election results
first available TTN