McGraw Tower, Uris Library and Ho Plaza in fall, shot from Barnes Hall.

Elections and voting

The 2019 Alumni Trustee Election will begin February 1 and run through February 28, 2019. Meet the 2019 candidates. Download their bios and learn more about why they want to be your next alumni-elected trustees.

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Why vote?

  • Cornell is one of the few major universities that offer their alumni an opportunity to vote for alumni board members. By voting, you are helping to select members of the Cornell University Board of Trustees who guide the future of our alma mater.

How to vote

  • Look for an email from Cornell on or around February 1. Alumni without an email address on file will receive a postcard or paper ballot. Follow these instructions to vote.
    1. Go to the web link featured in the communication you receive.
    2. Enter your NetID and password.
    3. Follow the online voting instructions and vote!
    4. Get out the vote! Help spread the word with social media. Tell fellow Cornell alumni you’ve voted.

  • Do you need help?

    Need help activating your NetID or setting up your password? Chat online with Cornell’s IT services or call them at 607-255-5500.

    Need a replacement ballot or have voting questions? Please email Election Services or call toll-free 1-866-720-4357 Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT.

    All other questions can be sent to us! Email electalumtrustee@cornell.edu.

    Thank you, in advance, for voting!

Election definitions and guidelines

  • These guidelines are reviewed periodically by the Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations.

  • Alumnus/alumna

    An alumnus or alumna of Cornell University is someone who has matriculated at the university. All alumni may vote in the annual alumni trustee election. In order to be eligible to be on the ballot as an endorsed or unendorsed candidate, an alumnus must have attended the university for a minimum of one year at one of the Cornell University campuses and meet the other points of eligibility (as outlined below). Current Cornell University students are not eligible to run on the alumni-elected trustee ballot.

  • Endorsed candidate

    A nominee placed on the ballot through the CATN process of nomination and review as explained above.

  • Unendorsed candidate

    A nominee placed on the ballot through self-nomination and petitioning Cornell alumni for signatures. An unendorsed candidate (an alumnus as defined below, who has not been nominated and endorsed by the CATN) must submit a nomination petition with signatures from at least 400 alumni. Signatures may be gathered once the open nomination period closes and must be submitted by the petition closing date. The closing date for filing the petition with the Office of Alumni Affairs is one month prior to the first CATN meeting. If more than four unendorsed candidates submit petitions with at least 400 alumni signatures, the four unendorsed candidates with the greatest number of valid signatures will appear on the ballot. Unendorsed candidates must submit a petition that includes the first and last name of the alumnus/a, the last name of the alumnus/a when a student, the class year and NetID of the alumnus/a, and his/her signature. The completed form must be mailed (or scanned as a PDF and e-mailed) to the Office of Volunteer Programs in Cornell University’s Office of Alumni Affairs. A Google document is not permitted.

  • Candidate obligations

    All candidates, endorsed and unendorsed, are bound by the rules of the election, including the campaigning policy and must meet eligibility guidelines.

  • Unsuccessful candidates

    Unsuccessful endorsed candidates who have been on the ballot in the past can be re-nominated, but must have a one-year hiatus prior to being placed on the ballot again. CATN shall not take into consideration that a candidate was unsuccessful in a previous election in determining whether to endorse the candidate. An unsuccessful unendorsed candidate must also wait a year before petitioning to be on the ballot again.

  • Number of candidates

    There may be no more than four endorsed candidates, and no more than four unendorsed candidates on the ballot in any election cycle.

  • Ballot

    The ballot will list each candidate on the ballot in an identical manner and format. Endorsed and unendorsed candidates will be identified as such on the ballot.

  • Vote for two candidates

    In order to prevent bullet voting, which could be perceived as benefitting one candidate over another, all voters are required to vote for two of the candidates on the ballot. Voters also have the option of adding a “write-in” candidate to the ballot in place of voting for a candidate already listed. (NOTE: Bullet voting is the practice of choosing just one candidate despite the ability to choose or rank more. The practice of bullet voting leads to the same outcome as plurality voting, since plurality voting restricts voters to choosing one candidate. – The Center for Election Science)

  • Campaigning

    The Cornell Alumni Association desires that the most highly qualified and dedicated men and women serve as alumni trustees of the university. Many who might be superb trustees are financially unable and/or do not desire to engage in campaigning. It is for these reasons, as well as having candidates considered solely on their merits, that the Cornell Alumni Association prohibits campaign activity of any kind by or on behalf of any candidate. Campaigning includes, but is not restricted to, soliciting endorsements of one's candidacy, written or oral contact with alumni about one's candidacy, statements to the press, advertising, posts on social media and other networking technologies, press releases, etc. If publishers of college, unit, class, or club newsletters, e-mails, social media posts, or their like wish to print any candidate information, they must give the same information in the same space for all candidates in that election. Questions should be directed to the Office of Alumni Affairs. Candidates, whether endorsed by CATN or not, will be asked to sign an agreement that reflects the anti-campaigning policy in this paragraph. Failure to sign the agreement may result in elimination from the ballot.

  • Publishing results

    In early 2014, President Skorton charged the Task Force on Alumni Trustee Elections to consider the issue of transparency as it relates to the alumni trustee election. After research and deliberation, the task force made recommendations to increase transparency in a variety of ways, but did not agree that there was benefit in publishing the number of votes each candidate receives. For further details, see the Report of the Task Force on Alumni Trustee Elections.

  • Recent election data

young woman holding mobile phone with voting screen

Your vote can change Cornell’s future!

The Cornell Alumni Trustee Election is among the most important opportunities for influencing the strategic direction and governance of the university. Voting takes only minutes, but by casting your ballot you will influence the university for years to come.

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