Senate elections

Frequently asked questions

The following frequently asked questions about Senate elections are answered below:


Who is the Returning Officer?

The Secretary to Senate (Dr William Adams) is Returning Officer for Senate elections (clause 16 of the University of Sydney By-law 1999).

How are Senate elections managed on a day-to-day basis?

The day-to-day management of Senate elections is carried out by the Executive Officer to Senate (Lis Bergmann), University Secretariat.

How is the name, address and ID data for the electoral rolls obtained?

The name, address and ID data for the electoral rolls is provided by, and its accuracy the responsibility of, the following:

  • undergraduate student electoral roll – the Student Centre (FlexSIS database)
  • postgraduate student electoral roll – the Student Centre (FlexSIS database)
  • academic staff electoral roll – Sydney People (Talent2 database)
  • non-academic staff Fellow electoral roll – Sydney People (Talent2 database)
  • graduate electoral roll – the Development Office (Advance database)

Where are the election procedures set out?

The procedures for conducting these elections are set out in Chapter 4 (clauses 15 - 45) of the University of Sydney By-law 1999.

Why is there a 100 word limit for information about each candidate on the ballot form and how is it determined?

The ballot form includes a summary of information about each candidate which has a limit of 100 words. This is in accordance with clause 28(5) of the University of Sydney By-law 1999 which provides that 'At the time of nomination, the nominee may provide a statement of no more than 100 words ...'

The information included in the summary can include details for the following areas which are listed in clauses 28(5)(a) - (g) of the University of Sydney By-law 1999:

  • the nominee’s name
  • current occupation or position
  • if a student, the current course and year of enrolment
  • academic qualifications
  • honours and distinctions
  • employment experience
  • any other information the nominee thinks relevant.


However, in addition, candidates are invited to provide a longer statement (maximum 200 words) and photo which appear on the separate Senate elections website.

Which elections are electronic and which are postal?

By electronic ballot:
  • Election of one Fellow of Senate by and from the undergraduate students
  • Election of one Fellow of Senate by and from the postgraduate students
  • Election of four Fellows of Senate by and from the academic staff
  • Election of one Fellow of Senate by and from the non-academic staff
By postal ballot:
  • Election of five Fellows of Senate by and from the graduates

How will I know how to vote in an electronic ballot?

An email will be sent to voters on the day the electronic ballot commences with information and instructions on how to access the electronic ballot and complete an electronic ballot form, including the internet address of the election website (clause 36B of the University of Sydney By-law 1999).

In addition, a training video is available - the internet address is included in the email to voters.