Voting Reform and Fair Political Practices Act
|Voting Reform and Fair Political Practices Act|
|Enacted by||Open Parliament|
|Date enacted||11 March 2018|
|Introduced on||8 February 2018|
|Voting began||4 March 2018|
|Required majority||Simple majority|
|Vote results||9 Yea, 3 Nay, 0 Abstain|
|Status: In force|
This Act codifies years of election precedent and tradition to ensure the fair, accurate, and impartial administration of all elections and legislative votes in the Social Liberal Union, including nominations, ballot specifications, voting locations, tabulation, and resolution of voting controversies. This Act also ensures basic standards for political campaigning are upheld, and additionally provides for a voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices.
Article 1. General Provisions
Section 1. Types of Elections
For the purposes of this Act, there are three types of elections related to public offices, as follows:
- Clause 1. Regular elections, which are held pursuant Article 2, Section 1 of this Act to execute various provisions of the Constitution.
- Clause 2. Approval elections, which begin as regular elections, but are modified pursuant to Article 8, Section 7 of the Constitution.
- Clause 3. Recall elections, which are held pursuant to Article 2, Section 10, Clause 2 of the Constitution.
Section 2. Anticipated Election Timetable
The Speaker of the Union shall regularly maintain a publicly accessible table of anticipated term, nominations, and voting start and end dates for all elective offices. This table shall assume that no early elections will occur for any reason and that no extended nomination periods will occur. The table shall contain anticipated term, nomination, and voting start and end dates for at least one year in the future.
Section 3. Provisions Severable
The provisions of this Act are severable. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any State or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
Section 4. Repeal of Another Act and Effect
A-16: Elections and Voting Act is repealed in its entirety. This Act shall not affect any election or vote commenced before its enactment.
Article 2. Nominations and Voting in Elections
Section 1. Nomination Period
The nomination period for all elective public offices under the law of the Social Liberal Union in a regular election shall commence no earlier than 21 days and no later than 14 days before the expiration of the current term for that office, or, no later than 5 days following a vacancy in that office. Provided, the nomination period for ministerial elections not triggered due to vacancy shall commence as immediately as practicable after the election of a World Assembly Delegate. Nomination periods, in general, shall last for 7 days, subject to extension as required by the Constitution or this Act.
- Clause 1. Where possible and permitted by this Section, the Speaker of the Union should endeavor to ensure that nomination periods for different offices are concurrent and that a nomination period is not partially or wholly concurrent with a voting period for another office.
Section 2. Informational and Nominations Thread
For each election, the Election Administrator shall create one thread on the regional forum accessible to all eligible Member States, containing general information about the election, qualified nominees, and qualified candidates.
Section 3. Manner and Validity of Nominations
All lawful and eligible nominations for that office shall be considered valid if they are posted as replies to the corresponding thread pursuant to Section 2 of this Article. The validity of nominations made on the Regional Message Board or via telegram are at the discretion of the Election Administrator. A Member State shall not be considered a legally qualified candidate for an office under the law of the Social Liberal Union unless that Member State has lawfully nominated themself, or, has publicly and affirmatively accepted the lawful nomination of another Member State.
Section 4. Applicability of Qualifications
No Member State is eligible to be elected or nominated to an elective office unless that Member State will satisfy the length of membership status qualifications for that office and any criminal sentence of ineligibility for elective office, if applicable, at or before the time of the conclusion of that election's planned voting period or the conclusion of the incumbent elected officer's term, whichever is later.
Section 5. Voting Period
The voting period for all elective public offices under the law of the Social Liberal Union in a regular or approval election shall commence no later than 2 days following the conclusion of the nomination period of the same election and no later than 7 days before the conclusion of the incumbent elected officer's term, if applicable, and shall last 7 days. The voting period for recall elections shall last between 3 and 7 days, as ordered by the Court of Justice, subject to applicable sentencing law.
- Clause 1. Even if voting in an election concludes before the end of the incumbent elected officer's lawful term, the officer-elect shall take office at the end of the incumbent's lawful term. Provided, if the office becomes vacant between the conclusion of an election and that of the planned beginning of the new term, the officer-elect shall immediately take office.
Article 3. Election Ballots
Section 1. Consolidation
If the alignment of their timing permits, two or more elections that could otherwise be held concurrently shall be consolidated into a single ballot with a common voting period, to the extent possible. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act but not applying to recall elections, no elections shall have partially concurrent but partially separate voting periods, unless enforcing this provision would violate constitutional requirements for the opening of voting. The order of precedence of offices on the ballot shall be as listed below for those offices:
- Clause 1. World Assembly Delegate
- Clause 2. Speaker of the Union
- Clause 3. Chancellor
- Clause 4. Minister of Immigration
- Clause 5. Minister of Domestic Affairs
- Clause 6. Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Clause 7. Other offices in alphabetical order by the constitutional or statutory title of the office
Section 2. General Form
The Election Administrator and designee(s) shall prepare the ballots or ballot templates in accordance with the Constitution and this Article. All ballots in an election shall be in a legible font, text size, and color. The font, text size, color, and spacing of all ballot options in an election shall be uniform, except to differentiate different ballot options for the convenience of the voter in a reasonably fair manner. Across the top or near the top of the ballot, in capital type, shall read: “OFFICIAL BALLOT.” Below this shall read the name of the election, or, if two or more ballots are consolidated, the name of the each election shall appear before each respective grouping of options.
Section 3. Regular Elections
For regular election ballots, Member States shall rank as many of the candidates, from one to the number of candidates, or abstain.
- Clause 1. The instructions shall read: "INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS: Rank as many of the following candidates as you wish to see elected, from most to least preferable (1 to no more than [number of candidates])."
- Clause 2. The options shall be the candidates in random or alphabetical order, as certified by the Election Administrator under penalty of perjury, followed by "Abstain."
Section 4. Approval Elections
For approval election ballots, Member States shall choose whether to approve the candidate, reject the candidate, or abstain.
- Clause 1. The instructions shall read: "INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS: Choose one of the following options."
- Clause 2. The options shall be: "Approve [name of candidate]," "Reject [name of candidate]," and "Abstain."
Section 5. Recall Elections
For recall election ballots, Member States shall choose whether to dismiss the officer in question, retain the officer in question, or abstain.
- Clause 1. The instructions shall read: "INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS: Choose one of the following options."
- Clause 2. The options shall be: "Retain [name of officer]," "Dismiss [name of officer]," and "Abstain."
Article 4. Legislative Votes
Section 1. Legislative Votes Defined
For the purposes of this Act, a "legislative vote" refers to voting on the following types of legislation:
- Clause 1. Acts of Parliament ("Acts")
- Clause 2. Amendments to Acts of Parliament ("Act Amendments")
- Clause 3. Resolutions of Parliament ("Resolutions")
- Clause 4. Amendments to Resolutions of Parliament ("Resolution Amendments")
- Clause 5. Constitutional Amendments
Section 2. Bill Debate Thread
For legislative votes, the author shall create a thread on the regional forum, accessible to all eligible Member States, for the bill to be subject to public scrutiny and comment. Any mandatory public debate period shall begin when such a thread is created. Once that period has elapsed, the author shall petition the Speaker of the Union to open voting on the bill. The Speaker or alternative Election Administrator shall open voting within two days of this petition. The author of the bill may, with cause, petition the Election Administrator to withdraw the bill from vote at any point before voting has closed.
Section 3. General Form of Ballot
For all types of legislative votes, except Constitutional Amendments, the question for the poll shall read: "Shall this bill be enacted into law?" For voting on Constitutional Amendments, the question for the poll shall read: "Shall this proposed amendment to the Constitution be passed?" The option in the affirmative shall read: "Yea," "Yay," or "Yes." The option in the negative shall read: "Nay" or "No." The last option shall read: "Abstain." No other options or wording are authorized for use in legislative votes.
Section 4. Restrictions on Deceptive Legislative Tactics
The Speaker of the Union or other Election Administrator for a legislative vote shall not remove a bill at vote or a prevent a bill from being voted on, except to enforce the requirements of the Constitution and other applicable law. Such removal shall only be done upon counsel of the Attorney General or Chancellor, if the position of Attorney General is vacant. The author of a bill or designee may correct typos in a bill, upon notifying the Speaker, at any time before it is passed, subject to judicial review. For the purposes of this Section, typos are defined as accidental errors in grammar, spelling, and formatting. Provided, no typo correction under this Section shall be permitted to materially or fraudulently change the intentions or effect of a bill, under penalty of prosecution for a Class 1 offence.
Section 5. Constitutional Requirements
No bill, including those which have special sponsorship, voting period, or majority requirements imposed by the Constitution, shall be considered passed or have any effect unless all applicable constitutional requirements were satisfied at the time of proposal, voting, or passage (as the case may be). The Speaker of the Union, the Speaker pro tempore, and the Attorney General, during their continuance in office, shall be deemed to have sufficient standing to commence civil actions to ensure constitutional requirements are upheld.
Section 6. Legislative Vote Election Administrator
The Speaker of the Union shall be considered the Election Administrator for each legislative vote, unless they should designate another Member State as Election Administrator for a particular item of legislation. Election Administrators for legislative votes and election administrators shall generally face the same restrictions upon political communications and other regulations of the position as would otherwise apply; provided, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Election Administrator for a legislative vote may be an author or sponsor of the same legislation and may send communications expressing opinions on it, so long as such communications are not represented as official communications of the Social Liberal Union government.
Article 5. Counting of Ballots and Announcement
Section 1. Retention of Ballots
Lists of voters and result reports for legislative votes and elections shall be maintained on the election website in the Election Administrator interface for no less than one month and no more than one year for purposes of correcting mistakes and providing accurate information during litigation, notwithstanding public result disclosure on the election website. Equivalent reports shall be maintained for at least one month for any legislative or electoral votes conducted via the regional forum.
Section 2. Canvass of the Vote Generally
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, all results of legislative votes and elections must be determined and verified by the Election Administrator and a Vote Verifier of the Election Administrator's choice.
- Clause 1. The Vote Verifier for a legislative vote shall not be a sponsor of the legislation voted upon.
- Clause 2. The Vote Verifier for an election shall not have been a candidate or otherwise listed on the ballot in the same election, whether the election was regular, for approval, or for recall.
- Clause 3. The Vote Verifier must be a Member State.
- Clause 4. The Vote Verifier shall never have been convicted of an offense provided for by this Act or otherwise related to conduct regarding legislative votes or elections, as interpreted by the Election Administrator but subject to judicial review.
Section 3. Counting of Regular Elections
- Clause 1. In a regular election with two candidates, the candidate which receives a majority of first preference votes shall be considered elected.
- Clause 2. In a regular election with more than two candidates, the candidate which receives an absolute majority of first preference votes shall be considered elected. If a candidate does not immediately win an absolute majority of first preference votes, the least preferred candidate shall be eliminated and their votes redistributed as provided for in the ballots cast. This process shall continue until only two candidates are left or one receives an absolute majority. In the event that two candidates remain but neither receive an absolute majority of first preference votes, the candidate with the most first preference votes shall be considered elected.
- Clause 3. If applicable, and after such ballot redistributions as have already been conducted under Clause 2 of this Section, the candidate with the absolute majority of votes not accounting for any candidate already elected shall be considered elected to such office as is granted to the runner-up in an election by law. However, if there is no majority, further ballot redistributions as described by Clause 2 of this Section shall take place until an absolute majority of votes (still not accounting for any candidate already elected) is established. The candidate with the absolute majority of votes after this process, if it is necessary, shall be elected. If such a majority still cannot be established, the ballots of any candidate already elected shall be redistributed to their next choice. The leading candidate after this process, if it is necessary, shall be elected.
- Clause 4. In such case as a tie arises in first preference votes for any office after all redistributions described in this Section have been exhausted, next-preference votes for all remaining candidates shall be totaled, and the candidate with the greatest number of next-preference votes shall be considered elected.
Section 4. Counting of Approval Elections
In an approval election, if the candidate receives more "Approve [name of candidate]" votes than "Reject [name of candidate]," they shall be considered elected. If they do not, the candidate shall not be considered elected, but shall still be eligible for re-nomination.
Section 5. Counting of Recall Elections
In a recall election, if the officer in question receives more "Dismiss [name of officer]" votes than "Retain [name of officer]," they shall be immediately removed from office. If they do not, the candidate shall continue in their office according to law.
Section 6. Counting of Legislative Votes
Given other Constitutional criteria for legislation have been met, the outcome of legislative votes shall be determined as follows:
- Clause 1. In legislative votes which a simple majority is required for passage, if more affirmative votes than negative votes are cast, the legislation shall be required passed. Otherwise, the legislation shall be considered not passed.
- Clause 2. In legislative votes with any threshold for passage other than a simple majority, the Election Administrator shall calculate the number of votes required for passage based on the number of valid affirmative and negative votes. If this number is a decimal, it shall be rounded up. If such a number of votes have been cast in the affirmative, the legislation shall be considered passed. Otherwise the legislation shall be considered not passed.
Section 7. Announcement and Certification of Results
An announcement of the results of each election and legislative vote shall be made no later than two days following the end of the voting period, and shall contain the following:
- Clause 1. The total number of valid ballots cast
- Clause 2. An official anonymized report of ballots received, containing an accurate representation of each ballot and including election access codes, if applicable, or a link to such a report
- Clause 3. A summary of the votes received for each option, and the level of preference for each, if applicable
- Clause 4. The number of invalid votes cast and a general reason for each invalidated vote
- Clause 5. The name of the Election Administrator and the Vote Verifier, with a certification of election or vote, as applicable, subscribed by both states under penalty of perjury, to the best of their knowledge
Section 8. Voter Guarantee and Extension of Deadlines
Each Member State that casts a valid vote in an election or legislative vote in the Social Liberal Union shall have that vote counted. If a post-election deadline imposed by this Act prevents the proper tabulation or recounting of ballots, the Election Administrator or Speaker of the Union may petition the Court of Justice for an extension sufficient to permit the tabulation or recounting of ballots. The Court may grant the petition if it finds that the time limitation would prevent the counting of all votes as required by this Section or Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution.
Section 9. Resolution of Ties
All ties in elections which cannot be resolved by regular methods of ballot redistribution provided for by law shall be resolved by the Cabinet, as provided for by the Constitution, where applicable. The Cabinet, by a majority vote of all members duly chosen, must determine the winner of a tied election no later than 3 days after an official demand being made by the Election Administrator. Any State which deliberately abstains or refuses to cast a vote in the Cabinet to break a tie may be subject to prosecution for a Class 4 offense, unless they are a candidate in the election. Provided, if the Speaker of the Union or a member of the Cabinet is serving as the Election Administrator and must cast a vote in the tiebreaker for an election they are administering, casting such a vote shall not result in disqualification of the Election Administrator for conflict of interest.
Article 6. Voting Location
Section 1. General Manner of Voting
The Open Parliament shall conduct voting in its legislative votes and elections on a secure election website ("election website", for the purposes of this Act), whose security and compliance with this Act and any other regulatory law has been certified by the Speaker of the Union. Should no such website be available or functional, the Speaker shall so notify the Open Parliament and authorize voting to be conducted on the regional forum.
Section 2. Security and Openness of the Election Website
The election website must have been issued an SSL certificate to ensure connection encryption, and must use NationStates API authentication to verify Member States' identities. A random election access code or hash shall be generated for each vote, but the code shall not contain information publicly traceable to the voter. To safeguard against misuse by a proprietary code author, the full code of the website, except information whose secrecy is critical to the anonymous nature of votes, must be made accessible to the Law Commission or Member States at-large.
Section 3. Voter Interface Specifications
The interface of the election website for voters shall generally meet the requirements of ballots, with necessary API authentication required before ballot access is offered. A voter's election access code or hash shall be made available to them directly before or after ballot submission, accompanying a recommendation to save the code should any difficulty be encountered in counting the voter's ballot. Ballot resubmission, while not a requirement, may be offered; the election access code should be maintained if a particular state casts a new ballot. In such case as a Member State documents that they are fully unable to submit a ballot and the Election Administrator and site owner are unable to correct this, the Election Administrator shall provide an alternative voting location at their discretion.
Section 4. Administrative Interface and Results Secrecy
Election Administrator and Vote Verifier interfaces shall exist for result and voter access. These interfaces shall require identity authentication through NationStates API, which may be provided through the regional forum, and verification of administrator or verifier status via forum role or an alternative method approved by the Speaker. Unless the Speaker determines such infeasible, these interfaces shall be the only means to access raw vote results, voter lists, and options to set up votes. Generally, only the election administrator shall have access to options to set up votes and to access voter lists; the vote verifier and election administrator shall have access to raw results. Whether and to whom access to results and voter lists during votes is provided shall be the discretion of the Speaker of the Union.
- Clause 1. Raw vote results shall be connected to the election access codes or hashes used, but not to voter lists, which must be randomized.
- Clause 2. Per the discretion of the Court of Justice during active litigation, the judicial officers may be granted access to the Election Administrator interface.
Section 5. Past Result Maintenance and Release
Results of elections and legislative votes conducted on the election website, raw or modified as appropriate, may be published for public viewing after voting. If such results are fully accurate, they should be used as the anonymized report of results published by the Election Administrator. Such result reports should not be deleted, but must never include lists of voters or any other information that could be used to identify voters' choices.
Section 6. Alternative Forum Voting Methods
If an elections website cannot be used as described in Section 1 of this Article, the regional forum shall be used to conduct votes. The methods for conducting votes shall be equivalent to those on the election website as much as possible, except that election access codes are unnecessary. Ballots in legislative votes shall be received via a poll whose results are concealed until voting closes. Ballots in elections shall generally be received via personal forum messages; provided, ballots in approval and recall elections may be received via a poll like that used for legislative votes at the Election Administrator's discretion.
Article 7. Controversies and Challenges
Section 1. Administrative Resolution
The returns from any election or legislative vote may be contested with the Election Administrator, and shall be contested no later than 4 days after the announcement of the final results of the count.
- Clause 1. The Election Administrator shall hear and may investigate any challenges resulting from the election or legislative vote they administered, and they shall notify the Member State which lodged the challenge of their decision to either uphold or modify the results thereof no later than 3 days after receiving notice of the challenge.
- Clause 2. If the results are modified in any way from the final results previously announced, the Election Administrator or a designee thereof shall make a public announcement to that effect.
- Clause 3. For the purposes of this Act, the Speaker of the Union (or their designee) shall be the Election Administrator for all legislative votes.
- Clause 4. If an Election Administrator in any election ceases to exist, becomes incapacitated, ceases to be a Member State, is ordered to discontinue service by the Court of Justice, or refuses to accept their office, a new one shall be appointed in the manner prescribed by Article 8, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution.
Section 2. Judicial Resolution
The Court of Justice may only hear civil cases contesting the results of an election or legislative vote once the petitioner has exhausted the administrative remedy option prescribed in Section 1 of this Article, or if they are a party with sufficient standing wishing to challenge an administrative decision already rendered and are commencing said case no later than 3 days after the administrative decision is rendered.
- Clause 1. The Court may rule conclusively on a challenged election or legislative vote following a civil trial which shall last no longer than 5 days, or, no longer than 10 days with the consent of all candidates in that election.
- Clause 2. In the event of substantial fraud or unlawful error in an election, proven to the Court beyond reasonable doubt, and at the request of at least one candidate in that election, the Court may order as a remedy that a new election be held according to law with a new Election Administrator.
- Clause 3. Provided, the Court may still hear civil cases contesting the results of an election or legislative vote after the 3 day period, but may do so no later than 14 days after the administrative decision is rendered if the party bringing the action can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence with leave of the Court that substantial fraud or error likely occurred, or that the Election Administrator flagrantly acted contrary to law.
- Clause 4. Further provided, no judicial officer shall preside over a case regarding a challenged election in which they are a candidate, or in which they are a sponsor of a bill in a challenged legislative vote.
Section 3. Subpoenas for Election Officials
If the returns from any election or legislative vote are incomplete, ambiguous, not properly authenticated, or otherwise defective, as part of a filed or anticipated civil case and at the request of the Speaker of the Union, a candidate in the election, an author of the bill voted on, or other Member State with reasonable standing, the Court of Justice may issue and serve subpoenas requiring the Election Administrator and other involved States to be examined under penalty of perjury concerning the manner in which votes were counted or the result of the count. This Section shall apply regardless of method of tabulation.
Article 8. Public Notices
Section 1. Voting and Results Announcements Generally
Announcements made regarding the opening and results electoral and legislative voting must be made by the Election Administrator on both the relevant forum threads and the Regional Message Board, within two days of the opening or closing of voting (whichever is pertinent). If the Election Administrator deems it appropriate, they may also announce openings of voting via regional telegram; provided, if they do not have communications authority, they may direct the Speaker or another officer with that authority to transmit such a telegram. Such a regional telegram must be sent to announce the opening of voting on a draft constitutional amendment. Public notices for the opening of voting described in this section shall link to the location of voting, and legislative vote result announcements should link to the legislation voted upon.
Section 2. Legislative Draft Announcements
States may announce the opening of debate on their bills on the Regional Message Board, but must not represent such announcements as official communications of the Social Liberal Union government, regardless of office.
Section 3. Bill Summary Announcement
If the Speaker is required to compile an impartial summary of a given bill, they must announce their compilation of that summary via Regional Message Board post and regional telegram within two days after the release of the summary. All such public notices shall either link to the summary in the legislation's general debate thread or contain the summary in full.
Section 4. Nomination Announcements
The Election Administrator shall announce the opening of nominations for an office via Regional Message Board post linking to the general information and nominations thread within two days of the opening of nominations. In the same manner as described in Section 1 of this Article, they may additionally send or direct the sending of a regional telegram with such information.
- Clause 1. If nominations for an office are extended for any period or reason, the Election Administrator must announce this within two days of the extension of nominations via Regional Message Board post and sending or direction for the sending of a regional telegram linking to the general information and nominations thread. The announcement shall encourage participation in the election.
Article 9. Campaigning and Fair Practices
Section 1. Code of Fair Campaign Practices
The text of the Code of Fair Campaign Practices (referred to in this Act as the "Code") shall read as follows:
"CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES:
There are basic principles of decency, honesty, and fair play which every candidate for public office in the Social Liberal Union has a moral obligation to observe and uphold in order that, after vigorously contested but fairly conducted campaigns, our Member States may exercise their constitutional right to a free and unfettered choice, and that their will may be fully and clearly expressed on the issues.
- (1) I SHALL CONDUCT my campaign openly and publicly, discussing the issues as I see them, presenting my record and policies with sincerity and frankness, and criticizing without fear or favor the record and policies of my opponents that merit this criticism.
- (2) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate.
- (3) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any appeal to negative prejudice based on a candidate’s actual or perceived race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity.
- (4) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any dishonest or unethical practice that tends to corrupt or undermine our system of free elections, or that hampers or prevents the full and free expression of the will of the voters including acts intended to hinder or prevent any eligible Member State voting.
- (5) I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support deriving from any State or group that resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent, to the methods and tactics that I condemn. I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this code or the laws governing elections.
- (6) I SHALL DISCLOSE any office, title, or position I hold in any and all other regions or organizations, except, if applicable, with regard to positions held in the course of my official duties with the Combined Union Security Agency, in the interest of full transparency and disclosure.
- (7) I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified Social Liberal Union voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process."
Section 2. Pledge to Honor the Code
At any time before the end of the nomination period, a qualified candidate in an election for any public office may, separately or as part of their self-nomination or acceptance of nomination, declare their intent to follow the Code by posting a statement on the informational thread for that election, in substantially the following form: "I hereby voluntarily endorse and pledge myself to conduct my campaign in accordance with the Code of Fair Campaign Practices."
- Clause 1. The Court of Justice, upon petition and showing of cause, may order the removal of any post, writing, image, or other material under the jurisdiction of the Social Liberal Union, which falsely and misleadingly claims or suggests that a candidate has officially declared their intent to follow the Code.
Section 3. Effect of Pledge and Voluntariness
The Election Administrator shall indicate on the informational forum thread for that election, but not on the ballot, which candidates have pledged to honor the Code in a timely manner, and shall provide a copy or link to the Code. Provided, in no event shall a candidate for public office be required by law or the Election Administrator to subscribe to or endorse the Code as requirement for running for, appearing on the ballot for, or holding office.
Section 4. Libelous Publications and Removal
Libel is a false publication by writing, picture, or other visual representation, which exposes any Member State to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or abuse, or which causes them to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure them in their occupation, office, profession, or reputation. Injunctive relief to remove libelous material may only be granted if the aggrieved party can proved they actually suffered damages as a result of the alleged libel, and no other reasonable cause.
Section 5. Disclosure of Positions of Interest
Within either three days of pledging to follow the Code or before closure of nominations, whichever period ends sooner, any candidate who has pledged to follow the Code shall disclose all current offices, titles, and positions ("positions of interest") they may hold in foreign regions or organizations. They shall certify the accuracy of such disclosure under penalty of perjury.
- Clause 1. Disclosure of positions of interest shall be posted on the general information thread for the election.
- Clause 2. Candidates shall not, and shall not be required to, disclose positions of interest held with relation to official involvement in the Combined Union Security Agency. Candidates with such positions of interest shall certify to the Election Administrator that they have such positions.
- Clause 3. Failure to properly disclose positions of interest or lack thereof within the required period of time shall result in removal from the list of candidates pledging to follow the Code.
- Clause 4. Any prosecution related to perjury committed under this Section may be commenced at any time after the acts or omissions at issue, notwithstanding otherwise applicable statutes of limitations.
Section 6. Political Communications Defined
For the purposes of this Act, a "political communication" includes the following with respect to candidate-based elections, and, to legislative votes as much as possible, with "candidate" being substituted with "bill" and "election" being substituted with "passage":
- Clause 1. Communications that contain express advocacy of the nomination or election of a candidate or the defeat of their opponent.
- Clause 2. Communications that contain reference to a candidate’s candidacy for elective office, the candidate’s election campaign, or the candidate’s or their opponent’s qualifications for elective office.
- Clause 3. Solicitation of political endorsements to the candidate or to third parties for use in support of the candidate or in opposition to their opponent.
- Clause 4. Arranging, coordinating, developing, writing, distributing, preparing, or planning of any communication or activity described in Clauses 1 to 3, inclusive.
- Clause 5. Recruiting or coordinating campaign activities of campaign volunteers on behalf of the candidate.
- Clause 6. Communications directed to voters or potential voters as part of activities encouraging or assisting States to vote if the communication contains express advocacy of the nomination or election of the candidate or the defeat of their opponent.
Section 7. Restrictions on Political Communications
Repeated and willful violation of any of the following restrictions on political communications may result in prosecution by the Attorney General for a Class 1 offence and civil action in the form of injunctive relief by the Court of Justice, upon petition and showing of cause:
- Clause 1. No State with communications authority may ever use their power to send a mass-telegram mailing containing a political communication.
- Clause 2. No State may post more than two political communications on the Regional Message Board per 24 hours, under penalty of suppression by any officer with proper authority.
- Clause 3. No State may send a mass-telegram mailing more than once every 60 days, but shall receive the permission of the Speaker of the Union at least 24 hours in advance of doing so, to prevent more than one non-official mass-telegram mailing from being sent out to the region more than once every 12 hours by any State. Provided, this Clause shall not apply to official government mass-telegram mailings.
Section 8. Impartiality of Election Administrators
During their service as Election Administrator, with relation to the election they are administering, a State shall not send or post any political communications on any communication platform or medium, public or private. Additionally, such a State shall not send or post prejudicial statements regarding a candidate or the election, statements advocating for the election or electoral loss of a candidate, statements expressing intent to advocate for the election or electoral loss of a candidate, or statements containing any conditions whatsoever for advocating the election or electoral loss of a candidate, on any regional communication medium or platform.
- Clause 1. Candidates may initiate civil action against any State violating this Section during service as Election Administrator, and shall have standing to do so in the public interest even if they are not injured or harmed by the actions of the Election Administrator. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Court of Justice may issue judgement requiring the appointment of a new Election Administrator in particularly egregious cases or where the conduct violating this Section is likely to occur again. In cases where evidence of conduct violating this Section exists in some classified or otherwise private component of a chatroom, the regional forum, or another medium, such evidence shall be introduced only under seal.
Section 9. Impartiality of Official Election Publications
All informational forum threads for an election and other official election publications and communications shall be in language that is neither argumentative nor likely to create prejudice for or against any candidate or option in an election.