I'm hoping that the information in this post will be outdated before long but, at the current time, running an election is a highly manual process. We have a handful of guides for how to run an election and, well... sometimes even those aren't enough to keep us from dropping a piece of it.
The election page persists between elections so when a CM schedules an election, they edit the prior one to remove the links to the old questionnaire and chat room - I usually just remove everything below the horizontal rule, myself, because having the text there with no links can be confusing.
These pages are editable (you can see the edit link there) by anyone with a diamond on the site, so even mods can make changes to these pages. There's also a history view to track the changes.
Once the election starts the nominations period, that's the day with "ALL THE THINGS", as our internal documentation says (see above). The person running the election has to:
- Assemble the questionnaire from the questions proposed by the user (non-beta sites only), which requires evaluating the questions and compiling them into a meta post.
- This includes updating the question collection page with a notice pointing at the questionnaire.
- Create the chat room and pin a few messages.
- Add the links you removed (or the entire section) back into the election page.
If you're doing this right and not in a rush the way I just did for the Skeptics election, it can take 30-45 minutes per election. This is why we don't run many elections at the same time.
Fortunately, the most important part - making it possible for people to nominate - is completely automated, so even if we fail to do the above... the election will still move forward just fine. This is also why beta elections don't include chat rooms or questionnaires - none of the stuff that takes up lots of time needs to happen.
As to the Ask Ubuntu election - remember how I said that mods can edit the Elections page and that it persists between elections? Well, that's what happened there. During the prior election, one of the mods helpfully added the link to ArtOfCode's site and when the new election started, it just didn't get removed. That's why you won't see it on Photography.