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Nominations and elections

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Guest Scared

In our organizations, that consists of about 12 members, we have by laws that are not too specific. In October, we took nominations from our floor of those interested in board positions; without having our nominating committee appointed in September. The President took the roll on as "chair" for this situation, but was never stated in our meeting she was chair.

We had one member decline President but offered herself as Vice President and was also nominated for Treasurer. At the November meeting, the nominated individual was not present at this meeting to rescind her name from either list or to accept the nomination again. The quorum of members went into a discussion regarding if she defintiely wanted any of these positions or not. Afraid that she may not want them, the membership took a vote to see if we should keep them on the ballot. The decision was denied so the floor was reopened for nominations.

Did our organization handle this situation the correct way according to Robert's Rules? Should they have been left on as a nominee, or is the voting nulled and void?

To throw another loop in the situtation; It states in our by laws "if only one name is submitteed by commitee [which we didn't have] for an office and there are no nominations from the floor for that office, the Secretary may cast a ballot." Does this mean that the Secretary has to cast a unanimous ballot in order for the nominee to be elected for the position? At the November election meeting, the Secretary did not cast a unanimous ballot and it was assumed by all members present that they automatically were elected at their positions. Are we correct or are the elections null and void also for this reason?

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In the order that you asked:

1) No, you did not handle the situation in accord with RONR. Firstly, I'm not sure if "offering herself as vice president" qualifies as a valid nomination or not in your organization, depending on what, if anything, your bylaws say about the nomination process. But RONR says that nominations are made at meetings and it's not clear whether her offer occurred at a meeting. But you do say that she was nominated for the position of treasurer. RONR has no procedure for removing a nominee after the fact, and certainly does not require acceptance of the nomination by the nominee (even though it's usually a good idea). So yes, the name should have been left on, but I don't think that will invalidate the election.

2) RONR states rather bluntly that "Whenever a vote is to be taken by ballot, it is out of order to move that one person - the secretary, for example - cast the ballot of the assembly" (RONR, 11th. ed. p. 413, ll. 10-12). Now, while your bylaws can say anything you want, including overriding this statement, you would be much better served to get rid of this practice. It would be far better to allow that, in the case of a single nominee for any office, a ballot vote is not required and that nominee can be declared elected by acclamation. I can't tell what really happened at this election, so it's impossible to say what the status of the election is. I will say, though, that if a ballot vote was required, and any member was denied his or her right to vote, the election is probably null and void and needs to be repeated.

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In the order that you asked:

1) No, you did not handle the situation in accord with RONR. Firstly, I'm not sure if "offering herself as vice president" qualifies as a valid nomination or not in your organization, depending on what, if anything, your bylaws say about the nomination process. But RONR says that nominations are made at meetings and it's not clear whether her offer occurred at a meeting. But you do say that she was nominated for the position of treasurer. RONR has no procedure for removing a nominee after the fact, and certainly does not require acceptance of the nomination by the nominee (even though it's usually a good idea). So yes, the name should have been left on, but I don't think that will invalidate the election.

It sounds to me like she was nominating herself (i.e. volunteering) to run for Vice President to me.

As for removing a nominee, RONR does not specifically talk about it, there is a way around not dealing with electing a nominee - it's called electing someone else. IF you are not sure if she would accept election, then vote for someone else.

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Guest Scared

The individual did nominate herself for the Vice Presidents office after declining the Presidents position. The following is a brief idea of what is in our by laws:

1. THe age limit

2. September- nominated committee appointed; October submission of the nominations; November elections with the ballot being open until election meeting

3. Committee makes decision onhow to vote- ballot or by vote

4. Lastly- Secretary MAY cast a ballot when only one name is submitted for an office

After reading this I feel our by laws are very "plain jane" and need to br revamped drasticly!

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After reading this I feel our by laws are very "plain jane" and need to br revamped drasticly!

Don't be in too much of a rush -- take a look at the (very good for small organizations) bylaws in RONR, p. 565 ff. -- and then adjust your bylaws accordingly.

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4. Lastly- Secretary MAY cast a ballot when only one name is submitted for an office

In that case it's probable that while you didn't conduct it "properly", it was "good enough", although you should definitely strive to improve, so that you don't have this sort of ambiguity come up again.

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I'm concerned that the rights of the person who was nominated for Vice President and Treasurer may not have been respected.

She apparently was properly nominated for these two positions in October, but then wasn't there for the November meeting. Was she actually elected to either position, or were other people nominated, and then elected to these positions? Was anyone given the chance to vote for her, or were people told that because she wasn't there, she couldn't be voted for?

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One of the duties of a vice president is to step into the office of president should a vacancy occur. I would suggest that anyone who would refuse the presidency would probably make a poor choice for vice president.

If this is someone who hasn't been on the board before, they may well prefer to serve on the board in some position before taking on the greater responsibility of chair.

I do agree, though, that if your vice chair is completely unwilling to serve as chair (should that occasion come up) they are not suitable for the job of vice chair.

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