CJD

Elections

12 posts in this topic

I have a question about nominations / elections.  In our fire department, we have a process for elections where in November we have nominations from the floor, then ballot elections in December for our officers. The question is this. If a candidate nominates himself, for a position, which would be an unopposed position, how can the body not elect them. I know one way is the run someone against the person. But trying to find people to hold office is difficult if not impossible. The problem is that 90% of the department does not like the individual. The problem is that the person meets all the election requirements but he has poor leadership skills. Since we cannot use "yes/no" votes during the elections, what do we do? Can we not accept the person during the nomination process? 

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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You've answered your own question.  Someone is going to hold the position (presumably), and if there are no other nominees, what's the plan, exactly?  You could, I guess, amend your bylaws so that people can vote for "leave it vacant."

Edit:  As Mr. Mervosh points out, assuming the balloting is in the bylaws, a write-in candidacy is a possibility.  If no one runs such a campaign, a group of people could still get together and write someone in, and see if they accept.  

Edited by Joshua Katz
Missed that it's a balloted election

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Since write-ins are always permitted under the rules in RONR, and a requirement for a ballot election cannot be waived even if there is only one nominee (the bylaws would have to permit not using a ballot for an unopposed candidate), either he will receive a majority of the votes cast, or someone else might.  

Since yes/no is not an option, leaving the position blank when voting is proper, but you don't count the blanks, you count the number of votes cast for that position.  If, for example  5 people cast votes for that office he only needs three votes to be elected.  So casting a blank ballot for that office isn't going to really keep him out.  A successful write-in campaign is probably going to be needed to defeat him.

You cannot refuse to accept a nomination for a member eligible to be elected.

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Okay... so if I have an election with ballots, if the electors do not cast a vote (leave ballot blank), thats proper. When tallying the ballots, the blanks are not counted as no votes. But, when I determine the majority vote, are the blanks considered as the total number of members voting so as to determining the majority vote? Or do I need to change the majority vote based on the number of members present at the elections? 

If I can't use the blank ballots, then it would require one vote by the candidate to be elected.

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7 minutes ago, CJD said:

Okay... so if I have an election with ballots, if the electors do not cast a vote (leave ballot blank), thats proper.

Yes, it's proper.

7 minutes ago, CJD said:

When tallying the ballots, the blanks are not counted as no votes. But, when I determine the majority vote, are the blanks considered as the total number of members voting so as to determining the majority vote?.

You do not count the blanks in determining the vote necessary to elect.  You only count the ballots where a member has indicated a choice for that office.

7 minutes ago, CJD said:

If I can't use the blank ballots, then it would require one vote by the candidate to be elected.

Assuming there are no write-ins for another person, only one ballot contains his name, there are no illegal votes, and you have a stack of blanks from floor to ceiling, that's entirely possible. 

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Yep, the blank ballots are not counted at all.

If one ballot is cast for X and all the rest of the ballots are blank, only one vote has been cast. A majority of one is one, and so X is elected.

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1 hour ago, CJD said:

Okay... so if I have an election with ballots, if the electors do not cast a vote (leave ballot blank), thats proper. When tallying the ballots, the blanks are not counted as no votes. But, when I determine the majority vote, are the blanks considered as the total number of members voting so as to determining the majority vote? Or do I need to change the majority vote based on the number of members present at the elections? 

If I can't use the blank ballots, then it would require one vote by the candidate to be elected.

You might look at FAQ # 4 and FAQ # 6 for more information on what constitutes a "majority vote" and the effect of an abstention.

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If I use FAQ #6, and put into the bylaws that the majority would be based on members present at the election, does that mean that absentee ballots could not be used? Or in order to use absentee ballots, I would have to word it so that it is a majority of the membership (whether they are present for elections or they are not). The way we are currently doing it is having the winner determined by the majority of those who casted votes. 

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2 minutes ago, CJD said:

 The way we are currently doing it is having the winner determined by the majority of those who casted votes. 

A majority of the votes cast (excluding blanks) should be the case even if your bylaws authorize absentee voting, which I do not recommend.

Edited by George Mervosh
Reworded the sentence.

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4 minutes ago, CJD said:

Why do you not recommend absentee ballots?

It just adds another layer of potential problems and your fire company seem to have enough already.  Read RONR (11th ed.), p. 423, l, 17 through p. 424, l. 2.  

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43 minutes ago, CJD said:

If I use FAQ #6, and put into the bylaws that the majority would be based on members present at the election, does that mean that absentee ballots could not be used? Or in order to use absentee ballots, I would have to word it so that it is a majority of the membership (whether they are present for elections or they are not). The way we are currently doing it is having the winner determined by the majority of those who casted votes. 

I don't understand how absentee votes came into this. Neither of the proposed wordings would permit absentee votes. That would need to be specifically stated in the bylaws. I also don't see how absentee votes would help anything.

What you really seem to be getting at is that the proposed wordings would mean that blank ballots could be used to prevent an election, and this is correct. In the event that no candidate is elected, however, another round of voting is immediately held, so this doesn't really accomplish anything except making your elections take longer.

Ultimately, if you want to prevent this person from being elected, you should elect someone else. If you need to stall for time to find candidates, a member may move to postpone the election. Majority rules.

If you are unable to find any candidates and still insist on refusing to elect this person, you've apparently decided it doesn't really matter if this position is filled, so perhaps you should consider amending the bylaws to eliminate the position. That would solve the problem.

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