Association News
APA Election Guidelines
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 20 page 17-17

The intent of the guidelines is to encourage fair and open campaigning by APA members on a level playing field; foster opportunities for candidates to educate their colleagues about the issues and about their experiences and views; keep costs down; and maintain dignified and courteous conduct appropriate to the image of a profession. Candidates are encouraged to state their own positions on issues and their own plans for the Association directly and positively, but may not make personal attacks against their opponents. Third-party endorsements are not allowed.

Candidates are encouraged to send a copy of these guidelines to members they ask for support.

Campaigning (written or e-mail solicitation of votes or support) is discouraged until after Nominating Committee nominations are reported to the Board of Trustees. Members are encouraged to withhold commitments of their final support or votes until after all candidates are known. Members circulating petitions may not use the petition process for campaign/electioneering purposes beyond asking for signatures on petitions.

1. Money/resources: Candidates/supporters must use their own resources for election activities. Fundraising is not permitted, nor is sharing of materials, such as letters, postcards, stamps (with the exception of mailing address labels or disks of mailing address labels). Candidates/supporters may not organize campaign committees, and candidates may not enter into agreements to campaign together. Use of APA, Area Council/state association, or district branch resources or personnel is prohibited.


Candidates and their supporters using electronic media for campaign purposes are expected to comply with the guidelines set forth in Section A.

E-mail and list serves: There are no limits on the number of campaign messages sent by e-mail. E-mail used for campaign purposes must comply with the intent of the guidelines with regard to content and must start with the words "APA Campaigning" in the subject line. Obtaining email addresses is the responsibility of the candidates and their supporters; such addresses may not be as readily available as mailing addresses and are not to be provided by APA, district branches, or Area Councils/state associations. See also Section C.

Candidates may create their own list serves to facilitate communication with and among their supporters.

APA list serves created for conducting business of an APA component or list serves using APA technology (except Member-to-Member) may not be used for campaigning. This includes district branch and Area Council/state association list serves. List serves of other psychiatric organizations may be used for campaigning if permitted by those organizations. See also Section D.2 below.

2. APA's Web site: APA will include information on all candidates (the photos, biographies, and statements printed in Psychiatric News) and on the election itself (campaign guidelines, ballot mailing and return dates, etc.) on its Web site. This election information can be accessed through the homepage and linked to other information as appropriate.

3. Candidates' homepages: APA will provide links from its Web site to the individual homepages of the candidates. Each candidate is responsible for setting up and financing his/her own homepage, as well as any campaign communication on Member-to-Member. There will be a disclaimer on APA's Web site stating that candidates' homepages are their own creation and responsibility, and that APA takes no responsibility for information posted on them. APA reserves the right to cut the link between its Web site and a candidate's homepage if a candidate violates the campaign guidelines. No other individual, institutional, or organizational homepages will be used for campaigning.


1. Letters: Election "letters" include letters, postcards, and faxes asking for a member's election support. Follow-up mailings of a c.v., fact sheet, or bio are permitted and are not included in the letter limits. Handouts may be made available at meetings attended by the candidate.

Each candidate/supporter generates his/her own "letters" with his/her own personal resources; no APA, Area Council/state association, or district branch resources may be used.

Each candidate/supporter may write up to 400 letters for candidates for national office or 100 for candidates for Area trustee.

Mailing address labels or disks of mailing address labels may be purchased from APA, Area Council/state associations, or district branches and may be shared but not before the Nominating Committee has announced the candidates.

Duplicated material may accompany each letter as a single attachment, but not multiple copies of attachments intended for further distribution.


1. Presentations: Candidates may attend no more than four mutual presentations with their opponent(s). All candidates must attend to present. Presentations made via proxy statements of modes other than physical attendance are prohibited. If all candidates have been given equal opportunity to attend and one cannot attend, the other candidate(s) may present but must count the presentation as one of eight made in his/her professional capacity (see below). The annual presentation at the Assembly counts as one of four mutual presentations by candidates for president-elect. In addition, grand rounds, lectures, presentations at APA meetings, and other kinds of presentations made in one's professional capacity should be limited to no more than eight during the campaign period. "Presentations" are those made to an audience with a significant number of psychiatrists, academic/psychiatric gatherings such as grand rounds, hospital lectures, etc. Running for office should not inhibit or prohibit candidates from conducting their usual professional business; every effort should be made to define" usual professional business" in the narrowest sense.

2. APA members in other organizations: All APA members are expected to abide by the APA election guidelines in APA elections, including in their capacity as officers and members of other organizations. APA requests that other organizations adhere to the intent of the campaign guidelines and provide fair and equitable coverage of opposing candidates.

3. Compliance: Each candidate receives a copy of these guidelines and a statement to sign, certifying that he/she has read the guidelines; promises to abide by them; will immediately report any deviations of which he/she becomes aware to the Elections Committee; and will notify and try to correct any supporter upon learning of an actual or potential deviation. The Elections Committee investigates any potential violation of which it becomes aware and reports violations to the Board of Trustees. The procedures used by the Elections Committee to investigate and report campaign violations are in Chapter 2 of the Operations Manual and will be sent to candidates with these election guidelines.


1. Money/resources: APA, Area Council/state association, or district branch funds, services, or staff cannot be used to endorse, support, or promote any candidate; however, Area Council/state association or district branch funds—not APA funds—may be used to support the expenses of candidates invited to the Area Council/state association or district branch meeting for election purposes (see #3 below). APA, Area Council/state association, or district branch organizational stationery cannot be used. Candidates/supporters who hold appointed or elected APA, Area Council/state association, or district branch positions may refer to their titles in the body of the letter, but if they choose to sign the letter, they may not do so over their APA organizational title. Likewise, e-mails should not be" signed" using an APA organizational title.

2. Newsletters: Area Council/state association or district branch newsletters may announce as news items of up to 150 words per candidate the candidacy for national office or Area trustee of member(s) of that Area Council/state association or district branch, with pictures. Editorial endorsement of candidates is prohibited, as are letters to the editor in support of or opposition to candidates. Newsletters may print statements or other materials by or about a candidate only if they give equal opportunity to opposing candidates. Newsletters cannot be distributed beyond the usual newsletter distribution.

3. Meetings: Candidates invited to attend Area Council/state association or district branch meetings to campaign may do so only if their opponent is also invited to the same meeting. Candidates invited to make scientific presentations at Area Council/state association or district branch meetings may not discuss election issues unless their opponents have been given an equal opportunity to do so and must count them as one of their eight presentations.

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