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Provost Election: General Information

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page aims to answer the most common questions which may arise around the election process itself in the forthcoming Provost Election. It is a dynamic document and will be updated between now and election day in light of questions received from the electorate. 

Please click here to see the Statutes on the Provost Election (Chapter on Provost and Schedule 1 on the Process by which the Provost is chosen by College). The Statutes are the primary guide in all matters relating to the Provost Election. The guidance below is an informal summary for the purpose of aiding understanding; in the unlikely event of any disagreement between this webpage and the Statutes, the Statutes prevail.

For technical queries, please see the Technical FAQ.

Non-technical, non-urgent queries about the Provost Election should be emailed to provost.appointment@tcd.ie. Please note that capacity to respond to emails to provost.appointment@tcd.ie will be limited on election day.


VOTING QUERIES

Am I on the Electoral Register?

Please click here to see the definition of the electorate in the Provost Election, and to check if you are on the Electoral Register.

Please note that the deadline for appeals in relation to the draft electoral register has passed. The Electoral Register is now final.

What voting system is used for the Provost Election?

The Provost is elected by exhaustive ballot, also known as repeated balloting. This means that in each round of voting, you vote in favour of one candidate for Provost (or abstain). The person who receives the fewest votes in each successive ballot is eliminated, until the final ballot when only two names are before the electorate. The candidate who, on this ballot, receives the majority of votes shall be declared by the Chairperson of the Steering Committee to be the choice of the College.

The person who receives the fewest votes in each successive ballot is eliminated, until the final ballot when only two names are before the electorate. The candidate who, on this ballot, receives the majority of votes shall be declared by the Chairperson of the Steering Committee to be the choice of the College.

Each round of voting is a fresh ballot, i.e. votes from Round 1 are not counted in Round 2, and you are not obliged to vote for the same candidate in each round (though you can of course do so, if your preferred candidate has not been eliminated).

How many rounds of voting will there be?

In the 2021 Provost Election, there are three candidates for Provost and therefore there will be two rounds of voting, as follows:

  1. Round 1: Three candidates are before the electorate. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.
  2. Round 2: Two candidates are before the electorate. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.
  3. The candidate with the highest votes in Round 2 is declared to be the choice of the College.

How long does each round of voting last?

45 minutes has been scheduled for each round of voting. Going through the steps on the voting site normally only takes a few minutes, but ample time has been allowed to reduce the risk of voters accidentally missing the voting window, and to ensure that any voter experiencing technical issues has an opportunity to engage with the supports available (IT Service Desk are the first port of call: 01 896 2000).

Do Round 1 votes carry over into Round 2?

No - each round of voting is a fresh ballot.

Votes from Round 1 are not counted in Round 2, and you are not obliged to vote for the same candidate in each round (though you can of course do so, if your preferred candidate has not been eliminated).

Can I vote in Round 2 if I miss Round 1?

Yes, as in the paper-based system, the electronic system designed for the 2021 Provost Election will allow you to vote in Round 2 even if you haven't voted in Round 1.

Can I vote for more than one candidate in each round?

No - you vote only for your single most preferred candidate in each round (or abstain).

The voting site, by design, will not allow you to cast a vote for two candidates.

Can I abstain?

Yes - simply select "I wish to abstain" on the voting site during the relevant round of voting, rather than selecting one of the candidates. This will be recorded as "abstain" and will be counted among the total votes cast for that round.

If you make your declaration of identity on the voting site, but do not cast any vote at all (not even "I wish to abstain") in the relevant round of voting, this will not be recorded as "abstain" and will not be recorded among the total votes cast for that round.

Please see the Technical FAQ for more information on technical steps in the voting process.

Can I change my vote after I have cast it?

No - much like in a paper-based system, once you have cast your vote it cannot be undone.

To guard against errors, the voting site will ask you to confirm your vote by clicking a "Cast My Vote Now" button before it is formally cast and recorded.

You are advised to read all instructions on the voting site carefully, and take your time. There is a 45-minute window for voting in each round.

Is the voting anonymous?

Yes - voting the Provost Election is entirely anonymous.

The electoral service provider, Mi-Voice, are provided with your name and email address and they use these details to issue you a Unique Voter Code (UVC). College does not have any information which could link the UVCs to individual voters.

The College contract with Mi-Voice for the Provost election has a specific clause setting out that such information shall not be provided to the College, except in such highly exceptional circumstances such as a Visitors appeal or legal challenge to the outcome of the election. Even in such exceptional circumstances, this personal data would be handled in compliance with data protection law and with due regard for voter privacy.

Why am I asked to make a declaration of identity on the voting site?

Your voting email and Unique Voting Code (UVC) are unique to you. You must not vote with a link or UVC which was originally sent to another member of the electorate.

Much like in a postal ballot (e.g. in elections to the Seanad), the declaration step is a means of assurance against voter fraud.

Does the Registrar or the Provost vote?

Neither the Registrar nor the Provost are members of the electorate in the Provost Election.

However, the Registrar may make a casting vote in the event of a two-way tie.

ELECTION ARRANGEMENTS

Why is this election being conducted by electronic means?

Government restrictions due to be in place on 10th April, in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, do not allow for a gathering of nearly 900 people such as the Provost Election would be in normal circumstances.

In order to comply with government restrictions, and for the health and safety of Trinity staff and other members of the electorate, the 2021 election is being conducted by electronic means.

The Statutes still provide that the Provost Election will not be held electronically, except in such exceptional circumstances.

Should I vote from home or my office?

Due to the current government health guidelines you should vote from home if at all possible. 

If absolutely necessary you can vote from your office. If you are planning to vote from your office, please note the following important points:

  • If the computer in your office has not been used for a while, it may take several hours to install updates when first turned on, and you will most likely not be able to use it to vote if that happens on election day. Therefore, it will be necessary for you to visit College before election day to make sure that your computer is in full working order.
  • Any staff member wishing to vote from their office must follow all current College Covid-19 return to work guidelines. Please see Staff FAQ on Covid-19 for further details.
  • Access to campus is restricted at present. Please email provost.appointment@tcd.ie to ensure you are on the essential staff list. Please also bring a valid staff or student ID card with you.
  • Leave plenty of time for your journey and access to campus, to allow for any delays.

What is the schedule for election day?

The indicative schedule below is provided to assist members of the electorate with planning their time. However, the schedule is subject to change and you are strongly recommended to stay on the webinar on election day, with sound on, so that you can hear all announcements by the Registrar. Please also keep your email inbox open in case of email updates.

Please see "How do I join the webinar?" in the Technical FAQ if you have any difficulty joining the webinar.

9.20am Webinar begins
9.30am Voting opens for Round 1
10.15am Round 1 closes
11.00am Result of Round 1 announced
11.15am Voting opens for Round 2
12.00pm Round 2 closes
12.45pm

Result of Round 2 announced. Provost-elect to address the webinar.

13.00pm Webinar ends

What will be happening in the Public Theatre (Exam Hall) on election day?

A limited number of people will be physically present in the Public Theatre on election day, in accordance with social distancing requirements.

This will include the Registrar, the candidates, scrutineers, and staff involved in the practical running of the election process.

A livestream of the Public Theatre (Exam Hall) will be visible on the webinar in between announcements by the Registrar. Please refer to the Technical FAQ question "How do I join the webinar?" if you have any queries about joining the webinar.

Other colleagues such as the IT Service Desk, Security staff etc. will also be working on election day from other parts of campus.

Congregation in Front Square will not be permitted.

How and when will results be announced?

All results will be announced via the webinar. It is important that you keep the webinar running with sound on if you don't want to miss any announcements.

Please refer to the Technical FAQ question "How do I join the webinar?" if you have any queries about joining the webinar.

What happens after the Provost-elect is announced?

Once the Provost-elect is announced, the Registrar will invite them to say a few words to the electorate via the webinar.

They may then speak to media (details TBC). Please note that congregation in Front Square will not be permitted.

Board will appoint the Provost at its meeting of 21 April 2021.

The next Provost will take office on 1 August 2021.