Legal Code of TISL

Title 1, Chapter 2

Election Procedures Act of 1977

1-2-1. This act shall be known as the "Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Election Procedures Act of 1977."

1-2-2. Any delegate may run for any position and any current officer may seek another office, but all candidates are subject to the requirements of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Constitution.

1-2-3. Officers shall be elected in accordance with the TISL Constitution, including the Governor, Secretary of State and the State Treasurer in a Joint Session, a Speaker and Speaker Pro Tempore of each house and such other offices as may be specified in the Constitution.

1-2-4. An officer's term begins at the final adjournment of the General Assembly at which he/she is elected and continues through the end of the next General Assembly.

1-2-5. To be considered for a position, a candidate should be nominated. Nominations will be on the second day of the assembly. Nominations shall be opened by the presiding officer at the time designated in the official schedule of the General Assembly. There is no limit to the number of nominations for an office, and nominations shall remain open until the presiding officer shall announce that no additional nominations are to be had, subject to the right of appeal to the body. The presiding officer will not entertain a motion from the floor to close nominations. If a candidate is not nominated, he/she may still be considered through write-in votes. Further, all nominations must be seconded and accepted to be considered, and no speeches shall be allowed at the time of nominations.

(a) A candidate who has been properly nominated under this Act may formally withdraw as a candidate by notifying the chairman of the Election Commission in writing before 10 a.m. on Election Day. The name of any candidate who withdraws by the deadline will be removed from the printed ballot.

(b) Other provisions of this section notwithstanding, nominations will be reopened on Election Day for a specific office if either of these situations occur:

(1) All nominated candidates for a given office withdraw before the deadline in subsection 1-2-5(a); or

(2) An incumbent officer nominated for re-election withdraws before the deadline in subsection 1-2-5(a), regardless of the number of candidates remaining on the ballot.

(c) Should nominations be reopened pursuant to subsection 1-2-5(b), the Election Commission shall promptly publicize the fact, including, but not limited to, notifying TISL Media.

(d) In the event that nominations are reopened, candidates may qualify to be included on the ballot by filing a Declaration of Candidacy in writing with the chairman of the Election Commission. Such Declaration of Candidacy shall include the candidate’s name printed legibly in the form that it should be printed on the ballot, the candidate’s signature and the signatures of 10 delegates.

(e) A delegate who has already been nominated for another office may file a Declaration of Candidacy if nominations are reopened for a different office, in which case the candidate will automatically be withdrawn as a nominee for the previous office in accordance with section 1-2-14.

1-2-6. Elections shall be held on the third day of each assembly. All elections in each body shall be held at one time through a multiple-office ballot. The ballot must contain a space for write-in votes for each office. The ballot shall contain only the name of the candidate and the office he/she is seeking. Only Senators shall vote for officers of the Senate, and only members of the House of Representatives shall vote for House officers. Elections shall be presided over in each house by the Speaker. No officer may preside over an election in which he/she is a candidate. A ballot will be provided for each delegate with the name of each candidate on the left-hand side. Each voter will mark his/her ballot and deposit it into a ballot box to be provided by the Election Commission.

  1. Any proposed amendments to the TISL Constitution that shall have received the requisite approval from the Senate and the House of Representatives by noon of Election Day and that shall be required by the Constitution to be submitted to the delegates at large shall be considered in the annual General Election set forth in this section. A constitutional amendment may not be considered in conjunction with a run-off election. The style of such referendum will be ‘Shall the following amendment to the Constitution of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature be approved? {insert text or authorized summary of amendment} [Yes] [No]’

1-2-7. Immediately before elections, two speeches may be made on behalf of each candidate. The first is an introductory speech, not longer than two-minutes by a person of the candidate's choice. Then, a candidate will be allowed a five-minute speech. The speaking order shall be determined by lots, or any other impartial method agreeable to all candidates. No speaker may yield time to another speaker. The speaking order for elections shall be:

  • In joint session:
    1. Governor
    2. Secretary of State
    3. State Treasurer
  • In each house:
    1. Speaker
    2. Speaker Pro Tempore

1-2-8. Ballots shall be supervised by the Election Commission established by this Act and counted by the Commission or its designees. Each candidate may choose a representative to witness the counting of ballots. Issues that may arise will be decided by the Election Commission.

1-2-9. No candidate shall win with less than a majority of the votes cast. If no candidate receives a majority, a run-off election shall be conducted for the two candidates who received the most votes. In the event of a tie in the run-off election, the Election Commission shall administer an examination about the TISL Constitution, and the candidate with the higher score shall be the winner. If the candidates shall have the same score on said exam, the tie shall be finally resolved by the toss of a coin. [Ballots for run-off elections will not include space for a write-in candidate: TISC, Meinel v. Mayes, 2009.]

1-2-10. All candidates are bound by this act and as members of TISL to conduct their campaigns and their own behavior in an ethical manner. No official times, other than those scheduled, may be used for campaigning, distributing campaign material or campaign activities. Campaign materials may not be displayed or distributed in the Capitol or any other state building. However, a typed resume may be distributed outside official TISL meetings. Financial expenditures are discouraged.

1-2-11. Allegations of irregularities in the election process shall be submitted to the Attorney General. Thereafter, a petition for redress may be filed with the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court.

1-2-12. All officers shall take an oath of office on the final day of the assembly in a joint session.

1-2-13. If the Supreme Court determines that a violation of this Act or of the Constitution has occurred, it may impose an appropriate remedy including, but not limited to, a public reprimand, reducing a candidate’s speaking time in session, removing the candidate’s name from the ballot or ordering a new election.

1-2-14. No person shall be a candidate for more than one office. Accepting a nomination automatically withdraws the acceptance of any previous nomination.

1-2-15. Each candidate must be affiliated with a college that is participating in the General Assembly in accordance with TISL Code 1-50-1.

1-2-16. For purposes of elections and referendums, “delegates at large” specifically means delegates from each college, as designated by the Head Delegate, included in the basic fee each college pays to participate in TISL plus:

(a) Members of the Executive Council
(b) Members of the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court
(c) The Chief Clerk of the Senate
(d) The Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives
(e) The Clerk & Marshall of the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court
(f) Members of one team from each college competing in the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge

No qualified voter shall transfer voting rights to another person. A person who qualifies to vote under more than one provision of this act may vote only once. [Section 1-2-16 added by TISL Bill 9, 41st General Assembly, November, 2010.]

1-2-17. The TISL Election Commission (“the Commission”) is charged with conducting elections governed by the Election Procedures Act of 1977.

  1. The Commission shall have five members. Each of the following officers of TISL shall appoint one member:
    1. Governor
    2. Speaker of the Senate
    3. Speaker of the House of Representatives
    4. Secretary of State
    5. State Treasurer
  2. Each member of the Commission shall have been a delegate to a previous General Assembly. Preference shall be given to students in the senior class or beyond.
  3. The commissioner appointed by the Governor shall serve as chairman of the Commission unless he/she declines and the commissioners elect someone else to be chairman.
  4. Commissioners shall interpret the provisions of this Act, shall oversee the qualification of electors, the distribution, collection and counting of ballots and all other aspects of accurately determining the total votes cast for candidates for the TISL Executive Council mentioned in this Act and for the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation board of directors (“TSAC”).
  5. A member of the Commission who accepts a nomination for an office mentioned in this Act, including TSAC, shall automatically be disqualified from serving on the Commission. The original appointing officer may appoint another commissioner.
  6. A member of the Commission shall not participate in a decision specific to a candidate from the commissioner’s college of enrollment or for whom the commissioner has openly campaigned.
  7. A quorum of the Commission shall be three members, although a smaller number may adjourn from time to time.
  8. A majority of the Commission may adopt rules and procedures for the conduct of its business.

[Section 1-2-17 added by TISL Bill 1, 42nd General Assembly, November, 2011.]

1-2-18. A qualified voter may file a statement of religious exemption with TISL stating that the delegate will be religiously observant on Election Day and unable to vote in person. Such a statement shall be in the form of a letter signed by either (a) an official of the voter’s college, (b) the voter’s minister, rabbi or other faith leader, or (c) the voter’s parent. A statement from a college official may be perpetual and apply to all delegates from that college. A statement regarding an individual may be perpetual with regard to that individual. The Election Commission shall, within reason, cause a blank absentee ballot to be delivered to such a voter. The voter shall mark his/her ballot and place it in an envelope, which the voter will seal, sign on the flap and cause to be delivered to the Election Commission for counting. The Election Commission may adopt additional rules for the implementation of this section. [Section 1-2-18 added by TISL Bill 3, 43rd General Assembly, November, 2012.]

1-2-19. Every voter is entitled to cast a secret ballot without review or instruction from another delegate. A delegate who demands to see another voter’s ballot or requires another voter to change his/her ballot shall be guilty of voter intimidation. Upon conviction, he/she shall be punished for a Class C Major Offense under the Delegate Misconduct Act of 2013. [Section 1-2-19 added by TISL Bill 3, 43rd General Assembly, November, 2012.]

1-2-20. Delegates other than election commissioners and poll workers shall remain at least ten (10) feet from the ballot box except when depositing a completed ballot. [Section 1-2-20 added by TISL Bill 3, 43rd General Assembly, November, 2012.]


[Amended by the 40th General Assembly, 2008, et seq.]

© 1977 et seq. Tennessee