Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature

Delegates Choose the TISL Executive Council

The election of officers for the coming year is one of the most exciting parts of the General Assembly for many delegates.

TISL elections are like legislative and congressional caucus elections, not like a political convention.



Zero-budget campaigns

Campaign spending


Signs and buttons


Freebies and giveaways

Meetings with caucuses and delegations


Distribution of resumes

TISL law bans campaign materials in the State Capitol and in other state facilities. Campaign materials elsewhere are discouraged.

Any TISL delegate can run for a seat on next year's Executive Council. Officers' terms begin when the General Assembly adjourns in November and continue until the end of the next General Assembly.

Officers are limited to a single term by the Constitution, so current officers won't be running for re-election.

Elections are governed by the TISL Constitution (particularly Article V) and the Election Procedures Act.

Candidates must win by a majority of votes cast. Sometimes a second-ballot runoff is necessary immediately after the first ballot.

All candidates must attend a candidates meeting on Friday night after adjournment. The time and place are on the General Assembly Schedule.

TISL's structure parallels the State of Tennessee, and officers are elected as they would be in state government.


Elected By

First Step


On Saturday by delegates at Large, as defined by TISL Code 1-2-16

Nominations in joint session on Friday night of the General Assembly

Secretary of State

Joint Session of Senate and House on Saturday

State Treasurer

Speaker of the Senate

On Saturday by members of the Senate

Nominations in the Senate on Friday night of the General Assembly

Speaker Pro Tem of the Senate

Speaker of the House of Representatives

On Saturday by members of the House

Nominations in the House on Friday night of the General Assembly

Speaker Pro Tem of the House

Chief Justice

Supreme Court on a schedule set by the Court

Being appointed to the Court, a process that begins in early fall

Attorney General

Established by the Court. Typically written applications are due on Thursday when the General Assembly convenes

Delegates At Large

The Governor is elected by "delegates at large" to approximate the concept of a statewide election used to pick the Governor of Tennessee.

Who are delegates at large?

Delegates at large includes:

  • All delegates included in each college's fee to participate in TISL. This is four to 16 delegates, depending on the size of the college. This includes the college's Senator, Alternate Senator, Representative(s) and anyone else designated by the Head Delegate. The Head Delegate can choose lobbyists, people in TISL Media and AMC3 teams beyond the first team to fill out this group.

In addition, members of these groups are automatically eligible to vote, over and above the basic group of delegates:

  • The first AMC3 team from each college.
  • Members of the Executive Council
  • Members of the Supreme Court
  • Chief Clerk of the Senate, Chief Clerk of the House and Clerk & Marshall of the Supreme Court

Someone who qualifies in more than one category can only vote once. For example, the Chief Justice is a member of the Supreme Court and a member of the Executive Council. Nonetheless, he/she gets one vote. Voting rights are non-transferable.


Who decides who votes from my college?

The Head Delegate, as designated by the college, decides who votes in the Senate, who votes in the House and who votes for Governor as a delegate at large.

Can lobbyists and TISL Media participants vote?

They can vote for Governor, if they are designated by the Head Delegate as part of the college's delegation.

Can AMC3 lawyers vote for Governor?

The first AMC3 team from each college can vote by law. Additional AMC3 lawyers may vote if they are designated by the Head Delegate as part of the college's delegation.

What if I am elected to the Executive Council and change colleges in the middle of my term?

In TISL's eyes, that doesn't matter as long as you transfer to a college in Tennessee.

It's not even necessary for the college to which you transfer to have a TISL delegation. You hold your office if you are enrolled in a Tennessee college or university for spring and fall semesters.

TSAC Elections

TISL nominates the student members of the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. Click here for a special web page about those elections.

Election Strategies

Before You Arrive

  • Bring a full delegation from your college.
  • Contact nearby colleges and encourage them to participate in TISL. People you meet before the GA are more likely to support you.
  • Contact friends at other colleges and encourage them to join their school's TISL delegation.
  • Attend the Regional Workshops and network.
  • Learn about TISL by reading the History of TISL and studying the TISL Constitution.
  • Prepare to excel in your TISL activities, whether it's legislative, judicial, lobbying or media.
  • Develop specific ideas for your campaign platform. How can you improve TISL and be a successful officer?

After You Arrive

  • Meet people, meet people, meet people.
  • Choose your race strategically. Small colleges, for example, have more clout in the Senate and therefore more sway over the races for Speaker and Speaker Pro Tem of the Senate.
  • Speak up in committees and on the floor so that people get to know you.
  • Organize coalitions with delegations and groups that have candidates in other races.

TISL is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) educational corporation chartered by the State of Tennessee.
©2006 et seq. Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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