Guidelines on Campaigning and Communications
Process & Activities
- To ensure fairness, the campaign period for ACS National elections shall be limited in time and begin on the same date for all candidates. Therefore, no candidates for President-Elect and the ACS Board of Directors may begin campaigning earlier than one week after the ACS Spring National Meeting. No petitions will be certified earlier than the date falling one month after the ACS Spring National Meeting. If petitions are received prior to that date, every effort will be made to certify them on that date. Petition candidates whose petitions were received and certified after this date may begin campaigning once their petition has been certified. Nominees, and those seeking to become candidates through the petition process, may not actively campaign.
- Candidates for President-Elect and the ACS Board of Directors shall provide the ACS Executive Director the following for posting on the ACS website: photo, ACS-style biography, candidate statement, contact information and, if desired, the URL to the candidate’s personal website. The ACS logo is prohibited on a candidate’s personal website. Petition candidates may provide the same information within two weeks of filing valid petition papers with the ACS Executive Director. In addition to the website, ACS will communicate the candidates’ position statements and biographical information to the Society membership by including these materials in C&EN, and in the ballot materials to members.
- Candidate position statements should address their qualifications and/or past or future ACS Position Statements, policies, or actions.
- Candidates shall receive equal consideration in Society publications. Paid advertisements at commercial rates are exempt from this space restriction. Candidates are encouraged to share information via the ACS Network in accordance with current guidelines.
- Membership lists for a select group of ACS members are available from the Executive Director free of charge to the candidate. Candidates must abide by the ACS usage restrictions associated with the release of membership lists. The mailing of campaign materials other than those sent by the Society, including mass emails, should be used judiciously, as many members consider this type of activity bothersome and intrusive.
The Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) has determined that it is permissible for a candidate who holds ACS office to engage in certain activities, and for there to be references to the individual’s involvement in these activities in ACS publications, if:
- The activity directly relates to the customary official duties of that particular incumbent and their involvement in the activity is an appropriate exercise of those duties;
- Their involvement in the activity is not discretionary, i.e., a substitute could not effectively take their place in the activity;
- Their involvement in the function is timely and could not reasonably be scheduled before or after the campaign period; and
- They will neither make nor exhibit any reference to their candidacy or campaign views during the activity.
It is requested that a candidate who is an incumbent submit to N&E for approval any paper or column for publication in C&EN (or other editorial publication related to ACS governance) prior to submission of the paper or column for publication. It is anticipated that no paper or column will be approved for publication within two months of the ballot mailing date through the end of the election period. Submission of the paper or column to N&E should be through the ACS Office of the Secretary. The Chair of N&E will respond to the candidate within one week by phone or email.
N&E has established the following guidelines for determining if an activity by a non-incumbent nominee or candidate could present an election violation.
The general question asked is: Will participation in the activity provide the nominee or candidate with an unfair advantage in the election?
Specific questions to assess whether the participation should be allowed include:
- Audience: Is there overlap with the electorate for that particular race? If so, to what degree?
- Timing: How close is activity to the vote in that race’s election, either to select candidates or the fall general election?
- Nature of participation: Absent invitation to all candidates, no candidate can participate in a campaign event put on by an official ACS entity, but what will the participation involve? For example, is it a speech about their career path or policy issues that could easily be a proxy for campaigning?
- Publicity: Will the event generate publicity for the nominee/candidate? Can that publicity be limited/controlled?
- Is the nominee/candidate’s personal involvement important to the activity’s success or can another individual be substituted without weakening the activity?
- Office sought: Activities involving prospective President-Elects receive a slightly higher degree of scrutiny than Board races, given the prestige of the president position.
- No Society funds, including Local Section or Division funds, or in-kind contributions (office space, supplies, etc.) may be used to support or oppose the election of a candidate except to cover the routine travel expenses required for the fulfillment of their governance responsibilities at the spring ACS national meeting, if applicable.
- All expenses incurred in the creation, production and distribution of a website and materials or literature to be used for promotion by the candidate shall be borne personally by the candidate, however, the use of personal funds for campaigns should be prudently limited. Solicitation of campaign funds by a candidate or his/her supporters is strongly discouraged.
ACS Meeting Activities
- Candidates may not make campaign statements at any ACS Regional meeting, Councilor Caucus, Division or Local Section meeting, or related meeting without the other candidates for that office being invited to be present and accorded equal time to speak.
- Meeting planners (specifically Regional meeting planners) should be familiar with and follow N&E guidelines that restrict ACS entities from publishing photos of or comments from candidates in their agenda books or other materials. In addition, there should be no reference to any such person as being a candidate for national office.
- Regional meetings should be discouraged from hosting candidate forums. However, if a regional meeting does include a candidate forum; it should only be held if all candidates agree to be present (emergency cancellations should not necessarily cancel the forum).
- Local Sections and Divisions requesting candidates’ Position Statements shall make such requests to the Secretary of the Society to ensure that all candidates are concurrently informed of the request.
Members of the Board of Directors, the ACS Executive Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Elected Officers of the Society, Members N&E, and all others having a similar status in the Society shall not endorse, support or oppose candidates, nor campaign on behalf of candidates for President-Elect and the ACS Board of Directors.
The endorsement of a candidate for an elected national ACS position by a Local Section, Division or national committee officer, and/or Councilor, must carry a disclaimer that it does not imply the endorsement of any ACS entity.
Suggested disclaimer for use by a candidate: “An endorsement by a Local Section, Division or national committee officer, and/or Councilor, solely represents the individual, and is not an endorsement of any official ACS group.”
Actions Resulting from Violation(s)
Any violation(s) can be reported to the ACS Committee on Nominations and Elections for review and discussion, and significant infractions that are verified by N&E will be reported to the ACS electorate and/or submitted to the Council Policy Committee for investigation.