The commission is a five-member committee that consists of one tenured faculty member, one nontenured faculty member, one student (who customarily serves as the chair, although the commission itself is free to elect its chair), one administrator, and one member of the administrative, library, or research staff; members are usually nonsenators. The duties of the commission include the following.
• to declare dates and supervise the conduct of elections to the Senate
• to declare vacancies when they arise and direct by-elections
• to advise on apportionment of seats and determine constituencies into which members fall if in dispute or ambiguity
• to adjudicate grievances of procedural error or challenges to credentials of successful candidates
• to review and approve any preliminary election literature submitted by an election commissioner
• to certify validity of elections
• to amend or add to elections code as necessary and pending approval of full Senate.
Most of these functions are performed by the staff of the Senate office or, in the case of disputes, are very rare. In an active year the commission meets once to receive a report on the status of elections, certify the elections, and address any issues, otherwise it meets as required.