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Three Vacancies; Three Candidates; Plurality Vote


Guest Bruce

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Bylaws require directors to be elected to the board by ballot.  Bylaws also require plurality vote when there are more candidates than vacancies.  Statute requires that meetings be governed by the latest edition of RONR.

 

Thre are three vacancies and three candidates.  Fifty ballots are cast.  The results are: candidate A, 45 votes; candidate B, 30 votes; candidate C, 20 votes.

 

1. RONR, 11th ed., pp 404-405 (I believe that is correct, I don't have my book with me) states that any candidate not receiving a majority is not elected to office.  A majority of what?  A majority of the ballots that were cast?  Does this mean that candidates A and B are elected and candidate C is not?

 

2. Since there are three candidates for three vacancies, is a motion for the secretary to cast one ballot for all three candidates in order?  If so, and the motion passes, are all three candidates elected?

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1. RONR, 11th ed., pp 404-405 (I believe that is correct, I don't have my book with me) states that any candidate not receiving a majority is not elected to office.  A majority of what?  A majority of the ballots that were cast?  Does this mean that candidates A and B are elected and candidate C is not?

 

A majority is a majority of votes cast.  Or more than half the total votes.  With 50 votes, that means that 26 is a majority, and anything less means that the motion is defeated - or in this case an incomplete election. 

 

In your case that means that the first two candidates (at 45 and 30 votes respectfully) would be elected.  Another ballot, if the By-laws require a ballot vote for election, would be required to elect the third candidate to offce.

 

2. Since there are three candidates for three vacancies, is a motion for the secretary to cast one ballot for all three candidates in order?  If so, and the motion passes, are all three candidates elected?

 

Unless the By-laws require a ballot vote, then the Chairman would simply state that the candidates are elected by acclamation.  The Secretary would not cast a vote.  Thus all three members would be elected.

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It seems to me that, with a plurality vote, whenever there are an equal number of candidates as positions available, all of the candidates will be elected. What I'm not sure about is whether the statute requiring meetings to be governed by RONR overrides the bylaw requirement for a plurality vote.

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Unless the By-laws require a ballot vote, then the Chairman would simply state that the candidates are elected by acclamation.  The Secretary would not cast a vote.  Thus all three members would be elected.

 

Since the bylaws DO require a a ballot vote, the chairman cannot declare the candidates are elected by acclamation.  I was asking if one could then make a motion to have the secretary cast a single ballot which would then meet the bylaw requirement but avoid having all members cast individual votes.

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It seems to me that, with a plurality vote, whenever there are an equal number of candidates as positions available, all of the candidates will be elected. What I'm not sure about is whether the statute requiring meetings to be governed by RONR overrides the bylaw requirement for a plurality vote.

Doesn't RONR discuss plurality vote on pages 404-405?  How, then are the bylaws in conflict with the statute?

 

It appears as if I have differing opinions.  Anyone else?

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Thre are three vacancies and three candidates.  Fifty ballots are cast.  The results are: candidate A, 45 votes; candidate B, 30 votes; candidate C, 20 votes.

 

1. RONR, 11th ed., pp 404-405 (I believe that is correct, I don't have my book with me) states that any candidate not receiving a majority is not elected to office.  A majority of what?  A majority of the ballots that were cast?  Does this mean that candidates A and B are elected and candidate C is not?

 

Yes, a majority of the ballots cast. So in the example provided, candidates A and B would be elected, but candidate C would not be. Another round of balloting would then be held for the remaining position.

 

Bylaws require directors to be elected to the board by ballot.

 

2. Since there are three candidates for three vacancies, is a motion for the secretary to cast one ballot for all three candidates in order?  If so, and the motion passes, are all three candidates elected?

 

Since the bylaws require a ballot vote, no, such a motion is not in order.

 

What I'm not sure about is whether the statute requiring meetings to be governed by RONR overrides the bylaw requirement for a plurality vote.

 

A closer look at the bylaws may also be wise. According to the OP, the bylaws provide for a plurality vote "when there are more candidates than vacancies." If this is an accurate and complete statement of what the bylaws say on the subject, it would seem that this rule may not apply here.

 

I was asking if one could then make a motion to have the secretary cast a single ballot which would then meet the bylaw requirement but avoid having all members cast individual votes.

 

A motion to order the secretary to cast a single ballot for the three declared candidates does not meet the bylaw requirement and is not in order. The purpose of such a rule is to grant each member the right to cast a secret vote for a candidate of his choice. I would note that write-in votes are in order unless your bylaws specifically provide otherwise, so a ballot vote is not entirely pointless in this situation.

 

If the organization wishes, it may amend the bylaws to provide that the chair may declare the candidates elected by acclamation if there are no more nominees than available positions, and that would avoid this situation in the future. Until that happens, a ballot vote is required.

 

Doesn't RONR discuss plurality vote on pages 404-405?

 

Well, yes, but in that discussion it says that plurality voting is only permitted for officer elections if authorized in your bylaws. It is unclear whether your bylaws authorize it in this case.

 

How, then are the bylaws in conflict with the statute?

 

Questions about applicable law should be directed to a lawyer.

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Yes, RONR does discuss plurality voting and requires it to be specified in the bylaws for use in elections. The same section also strongly recommends that plurality voting not be used for electing officers, but that is just a recommendation, not on the level of a rule. So maybe there is no conflict with the statute.

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