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Write in voting


Guest Linda Rose

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If a person has been nominated and said he doesn't know if he will run or not be a write in vote? At two nomination meetings he gave the same answer. He said if I decide I will just be a write in. Long time board member who when people don't agree with him he gets rid of them by write in vote of someone new ad brings in all his cronies to vote. In the past we have been blindsided but we are on to him now. So as well as doing that to someone on the board we are sure he doesn't want anyone to know he is running so he can do the same for himself. There is someone running against him.

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If a person has been nominated and said he doesn't know if he will run or not [will he] be a write in vote?

It really doesn't matter.

Firstly, if he's nominated, he's nominated, whether he likes it or not.

Secondly, whether he's voted for as a nominated candidate or as a write-in candidate, all the votes count.

If you think someone else should be elected, campaign and vote for someone else.

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If a person has been nominated and said he doesn't know if he will run or not be a write in vote? At two nomination meetings he gave the same answer. He said if I decide I will just be a write in.

Where does it say he gets to decide? If someone nominates him, he is nominated. No need for him to answer anything or decide anything. He can "run" (whatever he perceives that to mean) as hard or as lazily as he likes, but he doesn't get to control whether he's nominated, unless you have a special rule about that.

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Firstly, if he's nominated, he's nominated, whether he likes it or not.

I disagree on this point. If a member wishes to withdraw his name from nomination, he may do so. I grant, however, that this candidate does not seem to have done so.

This makes little difference, of course (except perhaps if the organization prints ballots with the names of nominees), since members are free to vote for any eligible person.

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I disagree on this point. If a member wishes to withdraw his name from nomination, he may do so.

I think this only applies to selections of the nominating committee (whose task is to find candidates willing to serve). There is also reference to withdrawing one's name from a ballot in an incomplete election. But I would appreciate some citation which indicates that, if I nominate John Doe, John Doe can do anything to my nomination (other than protest that, if elected, he will not serve).

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I think this only applies to selections of the nominating committee (whose task is to find candidates willing to serve). There is also reference to withdrawing one's name from a ballot in an incomplete election. But I would appreciate some citation which indicates that, if I nominate John Doe, John Doe can do anything to my nomination (other than protest that, if elected, he will not serve).

There is no such citation. This all hinges on our interpretation of what is said in RONR, 11th ed., pg. 435, lines 4-7. You've made it clear that your interpretation is that since this is the only reference to withdrawal and since it is placed in the context of the rules for the nominating committee, then only candidates nominated by the nominating committee may withdraw. The reason for this is that the nominating committee is obliged to find a new candidate.

Personally, I think the reason this is included in the context of the nominating committee is that if elections are conducted by blank ballots (which would generally be the preferred method, since ballot voting permits members to express their true preference and RONR permits nominations from the floor), withdrawal is essentially meaningless unless a candidate is nominated by the nominating committee. As you have noted, the nominating committee is obligated to find a new candidate. If a member "withdraws" from a nomination from the floor, this doesn't do much of anything, since members are still free to vote for him and the assembly doesn't really do anything with the nominations.

There are other situations, however, where withdrawal is not meaningless. Many organizations which require nominations to be submitted well in advance of the election meeting will use pre-printed ballots with the names of the nominees. In such a case, it seems silly to include the name of a candidate who has already indicated that he will not serve if elected. Indeed, all this would seem to accomplish is to potentially waste the assembly's time, since members may be unaware of his intentions. If his name is not included, members are still free to vote for him, of course.

If an election is conducted by voice vote or show of hands (which is not recommended for elections to office, but which is frequently used to elect committees), whether a candidate is nominated is even more important, since only the names of the nominees will be voted on. In such a case, it once again seems to waste the assembly's time to include the names of candidates who have already indicated that they will not serve if elected.

So I maintain that a candidate is free to withdraw his name from nomination regardless of how he was nominated. Of course, if the election is taken by ballot or roll call, members are still free to vote for any eligible person.

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. . . if elections are conducted by blank ballots (which would generally be the preferred method, since ballot voting permits members to express their true preference and RONR permits nominations from the floor), withdrawal is essentially meaningless unless a candidate is nominated by the nominating committee.

. . .

There are other situations, however, where withdrawal is not meaningless.

. . .

So I maintain that a candidate is free to withdraw his name from nomination regardless of how he was nominated.

Fair enough. But I think, at least for now, I'll continue to think he can only do so in those situations where it's not meaningless. Which is not to say I don't feel the ground shifting beneath my feet.

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RONR says, on page 434, that “It is desirable policy for the nominating committee, before making its report, to contact each person whom it wishes to nominate, in order to obtain his acceptance of nomination—that is, his assurance that he will serve in the specified office if elected.” RONR does not say that a person’s refusal to accept nomination precludes his nomination by the committee (unless the bylaws say it does).

RONR says, on page 435, that “A nominating committee is automatically discharged when its report is formally presented to the assembly, although if one of the nominees withdraws before the election, the committee is revived and should meet immediately to agree upon another nomination if there is time.” This does not confer upon a nominee the power to withdraw the nomination itself if he is nominated by the committee (only the bylaws can give him such extraordinary power). It simply means that he is himself withdrawing as a candidate and indicating that he will not serve if elected. If the committee is unable to meet again, or if it does meet and still decides to nominate the reluctant nominee, he remains a nominee, whether he likes it or not.

But I don't think that any of this matters much, no matter what you guys say. :)

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The ground beneath my feet has stopped shifting.

Well, what Josh Martin has said still makes lots of sense (as he always does), and what I have said both here and in Making and Accepting Nominations from the Floor could have been more carefully phrased, but I just seem to lose interest in it.

Maybe we should get into some deep, philosophical discussion of the differences between being a nominee and being a candidate. That ought to clear things up. :)

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Maybe we should get into some deep, philosophical discussion of the differences between being a nominee and being a candidate. That ought to clear things up. :)

I prefer the age-old discussion of why it's proper to "run" for an office which the bylaws say you are not eligible to hold if you do get elected. :)

Dittos on Josh making sense....it's nice to have someone here who likes to type too! :)

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