American Sociological Association

Sections Elections Guide

Section Elections are a crucial part of how sections govern themselves. They are the most high profile way in which members guide the growth and future of their sections. Each year, section members choose more than 200 leaders from a slate of more than 550 candidates. Each Section selects its candidates through a nomination process defined by its bylaws. This is typically done through a Nominating Committee appointed by the Section's Council or Chair. Candidates may also be added to a section's ballot via petition.

Sections are obligated to adhere to ASA election deadlines and to work with the Sections Coordinator. Failure to meet the Association-wide deadlines will result in Sections having to conduct separate balloting at their own expense. The Executive Office will administer the balloting and all associated costs will be charged to the Section.

Section Elections are conducted simultaneously with "national level" elections, such as for ASA President and must be competitive. Unless stated otherwise in the Section Bylaws, an election must be conducted each year.


Putting together an election for ASA's sections is truly a team effort. With so many different people involved it is easy for some tasks to slip between the cracks. This section details some of the roles played by different participants in the election.

Section Nominating Committees

  • Section Nominating Committee Chairs are responsible for recruiting at least two candidates per open position. For example, if there are two Section Council positions open, they must recruit at least four candidates.
  • They are responsible for collecting all required information from the candidate, including ASA ID number and Email address.
  • They are responsible for notifying the candidate that they have been nominated for the position.
  • They are responsible for forwarding the candidates' information to the Executive Office within a reasonable timeframe.

The Section Chair

  • The Section Chair is responsible for contacting candidates and informing them of the result of the election before notifying the section.
  • He or She is responsible for informing the Section Membership of the election's results. According to ASA policy, the outcome of the election is publicized, but not the vote counts. A candidate may request that results be made public however.

The Sections Coordinator

  • The Sections Coordinator is responsible for notifying all participants and sections of deadlines, results, and any issues that may arise.
  • He or She is responsible for verifying the membership status and eligibility of all candidates and notifying candidates and nominating committee chairs of any problems early enough to resolve them.
  • He or She is responsible for responding to any questions regarding the election, and facilitating the Section's
  • He or She is responsible for sending all of the candidates' information to the election vendor and working with the vendor to resolve any problems.
  • He or She is responsible for validating all petition signatures and voter lists.

The Candidate

  • Is responsible for entering and editing their biographical information.
  • Is responsible for maintaining an active full or student membership in their section during the election year and all years of their term in office.
  • Is responsible for learning and understanding the responsibilities of the position to which they have been nominated before accepting the nomination.


Section Elections Timeline

Actual dates may vary from year to year. The Election can start no later than May 15 and members must have at least 30 days to vote.


August at the Annual Meeting
Many Sections engage in bylaws writing, nominating committee nominations and other important activities at the ASA Annual Meeting.

November 10th
Information on section Nominating Committee Chairs is due. In addition, Bylaws Amendments for next election are due to the Executive Office by November 10.

November 15th
Initial Email sent to Section Nominating Committee chairs informing them of how many positions they need to nominate and the rules for nominating them.

January 15th
All Section candidate slates are due for the next year's election.

Candidates are invited to enter their biographies on the official ballot site.

March 15th
Deadline for Candidates to enter their biogrpahies online.

April 22nd*
The ASA Elections Open. Members will be sent emails with special links to their online ballots.

June 1st*
Voting  in the current year's elections ends at 5 pm.

June 3rd*
Section Chairs contacted and notified of the election results. The Chairs should make an effort to contact all candidates and inform them of the results before announcing them to the section.

* These deadlines may move slightly to ensure that the election starts on a weekday, and that members have at least thirty days to vote.


ASA Section Election Requirements

According to the ASA Sections Manual all elections must be competitive. This means that at least two persons must be nominated for each open position.

In addition ASA Bylaws indicate in Article I, Section 2 that “Only Members, Emeritus Members, and Student Members of the Association shall have the right to vote and to hold elected office in the Association.” Associate members cannot vote in the general ASA election (but can vote in Section Elections). They cannot hold office at either the ASA or the Section level.

No candidate may run for chair-elect of two sections simultaneously, nor serve as chair of two sections in the same year. However members are permitted to serve at both the ASA level and the section level simultaneously.

In addition, Sections may have additional election requirements enumerated in their bylaws.

All candidates are invited to include a brief biographical entry, which will be listed on the website alongside their ballot.


Petitions and Candidates
Candidates and Ballot initiatives may also be placed on the ballot via member petition. Each section's bylaws should have procedures established for doing so. The membership of petition signatories must be verified by the Governance Office. In addition petition signatures may be accepted in electronic formats as well as via handwritten signatures. Please see the Petition Guide or contact the Sections Coordinator at for more information.


Diversity Standard

In August 2010 Council adopted the following diversity statement:

“Much of the vitality of ASA flows from its diverse membership. With this in mind, it is the policy of the ASA to include people of color, women, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, persons with disabilities, sociologists from smaller institutions or who work in government, business, or other applied settings, and international scholars in all of its programmatic activities and in the business of the Association.”

Election Results

The Section Coordinator will provide Section chairs with full election results as they become available. Each Section chair is responsible for notifying all Candidates and Section Members of election outcomes. It is ASA practice not to release election results (vote counts and percentages) unless requested by at least one candidate. Additionally members may request records of election outcomes from the Executive Office via

Services the Executive Office Provides

The Executive Office is obligated to inform Section officers and nominating committee chairs regarding upcoming deadlines and the elections process. This is done through the Sections Coordinator. Notifications regarding the upcoming year’s elections will begin in October of the proceeding year. At the end of October the Sections Coordinator will provide this guide to the section nominating committee chair along with the relevant candidate biographical forms.

In addition the Sections Coordinator is also available to answer questions and provide information. The Governance Department maintains detailed records of previous candidates and election slates for at least five years and records of former section officers going back to the each section’s founding. The office can also provide copies of sections and ASA bylaws as well as assistance in interpreting them.

Bylaws Amendments

Bylaws Amendments are conducted through a somewhat different process and must be approved by the Committee on Sections and ASA Council. For more information on amending bylaws, please see the Section Bylaws Process Guide (Appendix A of the Sections Manual).

Get Involved


ASA needs you to serve the discipline

Join a Section

Explore ASA's community of specialists in the discipline

Join ASA

Join or renew your membership