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Reopen Nominations for vacancies after voice vote held?

Guest Steve Delegate

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Guest Steve Delegate

I recently attended my Republican County Assembly as a delegate for my precinct and an issue came up that I would like to hear some experts opinion on. Since I am a layman regarding parliamentary proceedings please excuse any layman terms I may use unintentionally.

I arrived at the Assembly and there was a table with many clipboards on it that people could use to nominate themselves as delegates. There was a State District, House District, Judicial District, and Congressional District. I nominated myself for the State District delegate position by signing the State Delegate clipboard.

After sitting down and listening to several speeches the Co-Chairman took the podium and reminded people that he would soon close the nominations and to write in your name if you wished to do so. After a while longer he took the podium again and closed the nominations. After some time he then took to the podium again and stated that because the Congressional District Clipboard had 5 vacancies that there was no need to hold a ballot vote on those who signed up to be nominated and we took a voice vote to approve that a ballot vote would not be required and that the nominees would be elected because they were uncontested. The majority of the assembly agreed with a voice vote.

All of the remaining paper ballot voting was completed and the votes for all the Districts were sent to the Tellers to be counted which took several hours. During the course of this time some of the remaining delegates who were waiting for the results had a discussion about the unfilled vacancies in the Congressional District and a guy named John had mentioned that there was a way to reopen the nominations to fill those vacancies if someone still wanted to nominate themselves for the positions.

There was approximately 30 delegates still present when the voting was completed by the Tellers and when the Chairman took the podium. Before the Chairman announced the results one of the Delegates made a motion to reopen the nominations for the Congressional District to fill the vacancies because we had volunteers to fill those vacancies and would like full representation for our County. That's when all heck broke loose. The Chairman said there was no way to do that and one of the Delegates asked to see the rule that prohibited the reopening of nominations. No rule was ever provided. Another Delegate asked to make a new rule or amend a current rule so that reopening vacant nominations could proceed. After a good 20 minutes of back and forth between Delegates and the Chairman, she refused to hear anyone else regarding the subject without providing any real reason why it could not be done.

The obvious question is: Can vacant nominations be reopened after a voice vote has been held?

Here are the rules that were provided on a single sheet of paper at the County Assembly.

  1. The Quorum at this County assembly shall consist of those delegates present;

  2. From the convening of this county assembly until its final adjournment, the assembly shall have the power and authority to determine its own controversies;

  3. Except as otherwise provided in these Rules, the proceedings of the Assembly shall be governed by the most recent edition of Roberts Rules of Order, newly Revised.

  4. The total time allotted for nominating, seconding, and acceptance speeches for each candidate is eight(8) minutes;

  5. A motion to amend a resolution shall not be in order. A motion for cloture shall not be in order. Debate on a resolution shall not be in order.

  6. A resolution shall be deemed to be adopted only if approved by 2/3rds vote of the delegates present and voting.

  7. Committee reports may be received at any time during the assembly.

  8. No standing rule shall be changed, suspended, or rescinded unless by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Assembly, in which case, the suspension shall apply only to the matter specified.

  9. Nominations and seconds shall be made only by registered Republican who reside within Fremont County;

  10. No proxies shall be allowed or recognized in any assembly or convention. Any vacancy shall be filled by an alternate present, in their numerical order, beginning with the first alternate;

  11. When voting for delegates to higher assemblies, if a tie vote occurs for the last available delegate position the delegate shall be determined by lot. In the case of a tie for alternate positions, the order shall be determined by lot. In case of a tie between three or more persons for the final delegate place, the delegate shall first be determined by lot. The remaining persons who were tied shall then determine their order as alternates by lot.

  12. “Unit Rule” voting, “Cumulative” voting, and fractional or proportional voting shall not be permitted

  13. Voting shall be by paper ballot unless a motion for the casting of a unanimous ballot is in order.

  14. The Credentials Committee shall have the responsibility of determining whether a delegate has been chosen in accordance with the applicable rules and FCRCC and CRC Bylaws. Final certification shall be on a vote of the Assembly to accept the report of the Credentials Committee.

  15. The Chairman (or designate) may recognize candidates for election, elected officials, party officials, any member or any other individual to speak.

  16. The Assembly may not be adjourned until the order of business has been completed.

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Normally speaking an election can't be Reconsidered after it has become final (by the elected being at the meeting and not immediately declining or the elected is absent but had consented to his candidacy) which would apply to the people who were on the clipboard and the assembly voted to elect. However, I would suspect that the bylaws (or Constitution) for the organization would have something to say on how there being more seats available than nominees would be handled and if there is even a requirement that a delegation be fully populated.

So this is a question that we really can't answer here without having read all of the applicable governing documents (please don't post them here because it is beyond this forum's scope to provide interpretations). I would suggest you take a look at all of the governing documents you can get your hands on to see what they have to say and also you might want to contact a higher ranking branch of the organization to see if they can provide any guidance.

Also, if you all thought the Chair's ruling that nominations couldn't be reopened was in error that ruling should have been Appealed (RONR pp. 255-260) and if she had refused to recognize the Appeal you all could have implemented RONR pp. 650-651 to handled the situation. Also, if you all thought it necessary you could have Suspended the Rules to allow someone else to preside even though the Chair was there (RONR pp. 651-653). Of course, before you all undertook an Appeal you probably should have your ducks in a row to make sure there isn't some rule floating around preventing nominations from being reopened.

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