Weldon Merritt

Waiver of Ballot Vote

41 posts in this topic

4 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I can't imagine what might have prompted this response.

We have all agreed that a ballot vote must be held to determine which of the three nominees will fill the partial term.  I just don't believe that having a ballot vote in which voters are instructed to vote for up to three persons from among the nominees (which is what Mr. Merritt has told us he has in mind) is the way to go about doing it. 

Yes, while I was hoping that there might be a way to avoid a ballot vote, I was not at all confident that there would be. The responses I have received have all confirmed that indeed a ballot vote is required, with the only issue being exactly how it is conducted. I was preceding under the assumption that if a ballot vote is required voters would have to be instructed to vote for up to three candidates, and we would need to hope that the election would not result in repeated three-way ties. Thus my follow-up question whether, in the event of a tie on the initial vote, the rules could be suspended to provide for a different way to select which candidate gets the short term so that repeated balloting would not be necessary. The answer to that question seems to be yes; but the suggestion to instruct voters to vote for only two candidates (to get the full terms) seems to be a better suggestion.

I still have a couple of remaining questions

  1. Would the rules have to be suspended to require (rather than just suggest) that voters vote for no more than two candidates? One of your responses implies that you don’t think suspending the rules would be necessary.
  2. If voters are instructed to vote for up to two candidates, and some of the voters ignore the instructions and vote for all three, how should those ballots be treated? As abstentions (as Shmuel suggests) since they do not indicate a presence among the three? Or as illegal votes, since they voted for too many candidates?

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13 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

And while I don't necessarilly agree with them all of the time, I do put a lot of credence in their opinions, especially when they agree with each other. Now if any of the other authors would care to weigh in, so much the better.

Keep in mind that the bulk of this question is not about interpreting Robert's Rules of Order but rather a provision in the bylaws of a particular organization whose bylaws we haven't even read. We haven't even seen the entire article, or even the entire section, or even the entire paragraph(s) of the relevant rules.

I'm not saying to discount my opinion (and certainly not Dan Honemann's), but I don't think it would be professionally responsible to rely on it or to say, "Members of the authorship team said that this is what your bylaws mean."

Dan already made this disclaimer yesterday, but we never believe him when he says he might not know what he's talking about. :)

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1 hour ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

Keep in mind that the bulk of this question is not about interpreting Robert's Rules of Order but rather a provision in the bylaws of a particular organization whose bylaws we haven't even read. We haven't even seen the entire article, or even the entire section, or even the entire paragraph(s) of the relevant rules.

I'm not saying to discount my opinion (and certainly not Dan Honemann's), but I don't think it would be professionally responsible to rely on it or to say, "Members of the authorship team said that this is what your bylaws mean."

Dan already made this disclaimer yesterday, but we never believe him when he says he might not know what he's talking about. :)

Fair enough. But I wasn't really thinking of your opinions as an interpretation of the bylaws, but rather whether the RONR rule on non-supendability of a ballot vote must be taken literally in  the particular circi\umstance I described. What I have gleaned so far (if I am understanding you and Dan correctly) is:

  1. The requirement for a ballot vote cannot be suspneded, but the voters can be instructed to vote for just the two candidates that they want to have take the full terms. But it still is not clear to me whether this would require a suspension of the rules.
  2. Once it is determined (by ballot) which two of the three candidates will get the full terms, the chair may declare the sole remaining canddidate elected to the sole remaining position (the unexpired term), even if he or she received less than a majority.

If my understanding of your opinions is incorrect, please let me know. I know that Mr. Novosielski, and possibly others, probably will disagree, but it makes sense to me. I find it hard to believe that RONR would require a reballiting for the third position when the only possible outcoime is election of the sole remaining candidate.

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I was responding to the scenario in this post where two members are elected to full terms, but the lone remaining candidate failed to get a majority, and so was not elected to the partial term.  Mr. W. wondered if the chair could declare him elected by acclamation since he was the only remaining candidate. 

My position is that even though he is now the only candidate, the fact that he is seeking a partial term requires another ballot vote, according to the clear language in the bylaws, which provide that whenever there are partial terms to be filled a ballot is required.  So acclamation is not an option.  

That's all I'm saying.

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5 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

Fair enough. But I wasn't really thinking of your opinions as an interpretation of the bylaws, but rather whether the RONR rule on non-supendability of a ballot vote must be taken literally in  the particular circi\umstance I described. What I have gleaned so far (if I am understanding you and Dan correctly) is:

  1. The requirement for a ballot vote cannot be suspneded, but the voters can be instructed to vote for just the two candidates that they want to have take the full terms. But it still is not clear to me whether this would require a suspension of the rules.
  2. Once it is determined (by ballot) which two of the three candidates will get the full terms, the chair may declare the sole remaining canddidate elected to the sole remaining position (the unexpired term), even if he or she received less than a majority.

If my understanding of your opinions is incorrect, please let me know. I know that Mr. Novosielski, and possibly others, probably will disagree, but it makes sense to me. I find it hard to believe that RONR would require a reballiting for the third position when the only possible outcoime is election of the sole remaining candidate.

I still fail to see how #2 is possible if the candidate did not receive a majority, and the byaws say that a majority is required to elect. I also fail to see how the chair can declare the candidate elected by acclamation when the bylaws say a ballot is required.

I don't think we can blame RONR for requiring a second ballot, when all RONR is saying is that the bylaws must be obeyed, and that such rules are not suspendible.  

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If one bothers to spend about five seconds thinking about this, it will become apparent that, under the circumstances described, the only decision that the assembly will be called upon to make is to choose, voting by ballot, which one of the three nominees will fill the partial term, or, to put it another way, which two of the three nominees are to fill the two open positions for a full term. It's not possible to make either of these choices without automatically and simultaneously making the other.

A ballot election to decide which one of the three nominees is to fill the partial term will finally resolve both questions. A ballot election to decide which two of the three nominees are to fill the two open positions for a full term will finally resolve both questions.

Please take to heart, however, what Shmuel Gerber has said in his most recent post above. Based solely upon the facts which have been posted, I believe that conducting either of the two ballot elections which I have described above is a viable option, but the facts which have been posted are not sufficient to support an opinion upon which anyone should rely.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Gary Novosielski said:

And what of the language "a majority is necessary to elect", which apparently applies to all candidates.

That was the part that initially had me puzzled as well. While I don't purport to speak for Dan, what I understand from his most recent post is that, with only three candidates for three positions (one of which is the unexpired term), and no opportunity to nominate anyone else or to cast a write-in vote, the same majority that elects two of the three to full terms simultaneously elects the third one to the unexpired term.

As it turns out, however, the issue is now moot, except possibly for future reference. The senior minister informed me yesterday that there actually will be four candidates for the three terms. Given the rush of the Christmas service, I didn't get all of the details, but either the nominating committee submitted one more candidate than required (which is, of course, their right) or someone took advantage of the alternate nomination by petition process. Either way, we now clearly will need to have all three positions filled by majority vote, with the full terms filled by the candidates with the two largest majorities, and the unexpired term filled by the one with the next largest. Or, of course, we may need to revote if fewer than three receive a majority.

As for the future, I am going to recommend that we amend the bylaws to go back to letting the board choose which newly-elected trustee will get the unexpired term if the same situation arises in the future (which it quite likely will).
 

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I may not be understanding this correctly, but what would prevent the church from balloting on the partial term first?  There could be a ballot tio vote for X, and if write-ins are not credited, X should be elected. 

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12 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I may not be understanding this correctly, but what would prevent the church from balloting on the partial term first?  There could be a ballot tio vote for X, and if write-ins are not credited, X should be elected. 

Nothing would prevent the church from balloting on the partial term first. That is one of the two alternatives I suggested.

 

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8 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Nothing would prevent the church from balloting on the partial term first. That is one of the two alternatives I suggested.

 

It seemed like the optimal solution.

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I must admit, however, that I have no idea what you have in mind when you say that "There could be a ballot tio (to?) vote for X, and if write-ins are not credited, X should be elected."

 

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On 12/30/2016 at 11:45 AM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I must admit, however, that I have no idea what you have in mind when you say that "There could be a ballot tio (to?) vote for X, and if write-ins are not credited, X should be elected."

 

First, it should be "to."

 

I am saying that, if there is only one nominee, X, and write-in votes are not permitted (and not credited), if X gets one vote,  X is elected. 

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

I am saying that, if there is only one nominee, X, and write-in votes are not permitted (and not credited), if X gets one vote,  X is elected. 

But there wasn't just one nominee, there were three.

Actually, there were eventually four nominees, but what made the question interesting was that it appeared that there would only be three.  :)

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
Added the last sentence.

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On 1/2/2017 at 7:54 PM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

But there wasn't just one nominee, there were three.

Actually, there were eventually four nominees, but what made the question interesting was that it appeared that there would only be three.  :)

If I understand correctly, there was one nominee for a partial term.

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45 minutes ago, J. J. said:

If I understand correctly, there was one nominee for a partial term.

Not quite. There initially were three (now four) nominees for three terms, one of which is a partial term. Although it is expected that the person who was appointed to fill the partial term in the interim (until the election) is one of the nominees, which one receives the partial term and which two the full terms will be determined by the election.

When I thought there would be only three nominees (based on inaccurate information I was given), I was trying to see if there was a way to avoid the possibility of multiple tree-way ties. Dan and Shmuel came up with a good suggestion, but since I now know that there will be four nominees, the election will need to be held in the usual manner. Then the two nominees who receive the largest majorities will get the full terms, and the one with the third largest majority will get the partial term. 
 

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