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Should an Elected Director be censured for breaking the rules to prove a point?


Guest KelsoH

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Hi,

I'm in an organization with a Board of Directors elected by the student body. Elections are competitive and a costly affair that cost tens of thousands to conduct. Recently an elected director of the board objected to the lack of ballot security put in place to prevent fraudulant voting. His concerns were not addressed and the elections went forward.

Now the director has admitted to voting multiple times to prove that security was inadequate, in addition to "stuffing" the ballot box with additional spoiled ballots to show any student could successfully vote multiple times.

There is no proof that the director actually cast a real vote more than once. Instead, all that was found were more ballots than voters which contained as he told the Electoral Office, 20 additional ballots that have his signature on them without any votes towards any candidates.

There is now a motion to censure this elected director for his actions. Is this action justified? If an elected director commits 'election fraud' without actually casting real votes to one individual or another, does this director have a duty to resign, or should they be commended for exposing a flaw that kept falling on deaf ears? Debate has been raging on this issue on campus, and frankly, as a member of the assembly, I can find no parliamentary or constitution interpretation to this issue that provides clear guidance as to whether this action should be prosecuted or commended.

Thoughts?

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Hi,

I'm in an organization with a Board of Directors elected by the student body. Elections are competitive and a costly affair that cost tens of thousands to conduct. Recently an elected director of the board objected to the lack of ballot security put in place to prevent fraudulant voting. His concerns were not addressed and the elections went forward.

Now the director has admitted to voting multiple times to prove that security was inadequate, in addition to "stuffing" the ballot box with additional spoiled ballots to show any student could successfully vote multiple times.

There is no proof that the director actually cast a real vote more than once. Instead, all that was found were more ballots than voters which contained as he told the Electoral Office, 20 additional ballots that have his signature on them without any votes towards any candidates.

There is now a motion to censure this elected director for his actions. Is this action justified? If an elected director commits 'election fraud' without actually casting real votes to one individual or another, does this director have a duty to resign, or should they be commended for exposing a flaw that kept falling on deaf ears? Debate has been raging on this issue on campus, and frankly, as a member of the assembly, I can find no parliamentary or constitution interpretation to this issue that provides clear guidance as to whether this action should be prosecuted or commended.

Thoughts?

Censure means you are saying he was a bad boy. It is not a disciplinary action. It could be amended to change Censure to Commending.

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There is now a motion to censure this elected director for his actions. Is this action justified? If an elected director commits 'election fraud' without actually casting real votes to one individual or another, does this director have a duty to resign, or should they be commended for exposing a flaw that kept falling on deaf ears? Debate has been raging on this issue on campus . . .

That's what debate is for. Then you vote. And note that RONR specifically says (p. 131) that a motion to censure can be amended into a motion to commend (actually, it says the reverse but the principle is the same). So make the motion, debate and possibly amend it, and vote.

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Debate has been raging on this issue on campus, and frankly, as a member of the assembly, I can find no parliamentary or constitution interpretation to this issue that provides clear guidance as to whether this action should be prosecuted or commended.

That's not surprising, as there is nothing in RONR that provides such "clear guidance" either.

But you can certainly decide the issue using parliamentary procedure: Motion, second, debate, vote.

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Yeah, I guess my question stemmed more from broader principles regarding the duty of an elected director to the organization that he's with. It's not necessarily a Robert's Rules question specifically, but more a question for people on here who have a long history of experience working in organizations like this about their opinion on a director doing such an action. This issue seems to hit directly on debates about whether 'civil disobedience' can be justified by an elected director. Likely more of a political theory question than a procedural law question, but I'd be very interested to hear the initial opinion of people here on the issue.

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Yeah, I guess my question stemmed more from broader principles regarding the duty of an elected director to the organization that he's with. It's not necessarily a Robert's Rules question specifically, but more a question for people on here who have a long history of experience working in organizations like this about their opinion on a director doing such an action. This issue seems to hit directly on debates about whether 'civil disobedience' can be justified by an elected director. Likely more of a political theory question than a procedural law question, but I'd be very interested to hear the initial opinion of people here on the issue.

As stated on its Introductory Page, “this Forum is provided to allow an open exchange of views relevant to specific questions of parliamentary procedure under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised”.

This question is not one concerning what is or is not proper parliamentary procedure under the rules in RONR. As a consequence, we respectfully request that those interested in pursuing this question do so by private email, or other means outside of this forum.

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Yeah, I guess my question stemmed more from broader principles regarding the duty of an elected director to the organization that he's with. It's not necessarily a Robert's Rules question specifically, but more a question for people on here who have a long history of experience working in organizations like this about their opinion on a director doing such an action. This issue seems to hit directly on debates about whether 'civil disobedience' can be justified by an elected director. Likely more of a political theory question than a procedural law question, but I'd be very interested to hear the initial opinion of people here on the issue.

I believe you would be better off discussing this issue with the members of your assembly, as they will be the ones who will ultimately be making this decision and are better informed about the history and culture of the organization, the characteristics of the individual, and the facts of the particular case. Without this information, I couldn't even begin to suggest whether disciplinary action would be justified. If you have any contacts with similar organizations, you might wish to see if they have any advice as well.

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