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Validity of a vote


Guest Karen Top

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Guest Karen Top

A recent vote was taken to change the way a committee handled it's returned winning entries (not affecting judging). The person who wanted the change and brought it to a vote did not disclose that she had many entries in the competition; she did not recuse herself and voted for the change. Is the vote valid? Can it be rendered null and void based upon the lack of information prior to the vote?

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A recent vote was taken to change the way a committee handled it's returned winning entries (not affecting judging). The person who wanted the change and brought it to a vote did not disclose that she had many entries in the competition; she did not recuse herself and voted for the change. Is the vote valid? Can it be rendered null and void based upon the lack of information prior to the vote?

What rule was violated?

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Also, what was the vote margin? Was this one person's vote enough to change the outcome?

Another way to approach this is to see if the vote was properly taken in the first place. It sounds as though the committee already had a (previous) way of handling the entries. If that previous rule was the result of an earlier motion (maybe even something voted on years ago), then a change in the rule would have required a motion to amend something previously adopted. The motion to amend something previously adopted has a higher voting threshold than an ordinary motion -- two-thirds vote without notice OR majority vote with notice OR majority vote of the entire membership. If the vote to change the rule didn't meet those criteria, then it could be found null and void on that basis (see RONR 11th ed. p. 251 ( b )).

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A recent vote was taken to change the way a committee handled it's returned winning entries (not affecting judging). The person who wanted the change and brought it to a vote did not disclose that she had many entries in the competition; she did not recuse herself and voted for the change. Is the vote valid? Can it be rendered null and void based upon the lack of information prior to the vote?

No rule in RONR requires that a person who makes a motion disclose any personal interest in the subject matter of the motion, or to "recuse herself", or to abstain from voting on her own motion. None of these things would invalidate the vote.

The answer to your question is no, the vote to which you refer cannot be rendered null and void based upon "the lack of information prior to the vote."

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What rule was violated?

A recent vote was taken to change the way a committee handled it's returned winning entries (not affecting judging). The person who wanted the change and brought it to a vote did not disclose that she had many entries in the competition; she did not recuse herself and voted for the change. Is the vote valid? Can it be rendered null and void based upon the lack of information prior to the vote?

In light of Mr. Honemann's reply, you will see the purpose of Mr. Cisar's question -- does your organization have a rule that was violated here? (Because RONR does not). RONR does say that 'no member should vote on a question in which he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest not common to other members of the organization.' (RONR 11th ed. p. 407 ll. 22-25). However, the member cannot be compelled not to vote in such a situation.

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Thank you all.. What is being contested is - can you change a procedural rule of an ongoing competetion (not judging rules)?

The descent to the vote to change the procdure is from the committee who is in charge of all aspects fo the competition. They feel that you cannot change rules of an ongoing competetion. Note: The procedures were in place until a member of the voting board (an entry) felt that the procedural rules should changed. There were 7 who vote - 6 for; one abstained.

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Firstly, RONR recommends that a direct with a direct interest not shared with other members abstains, but RONR does not force the member to do so, or to even make the issue known. That would be up to each individual organization to decide.

Secondly, where are these procedural rules for the Committee found? If they are found in the orginal motion creating the Committee then the group would have to pass a motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted. However, if the Committee is found in the By-laws, and its procedural rules are found there, then the By-law would need to be amended.

Lastly, what was the final vote? If the single vote affected the outcome, the vote could be null and void. But otherwise no.

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