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The bylaws of an organization to which I belong closes nominations three months prior to the AGM and does not allow for nominations from the floor.

 

The current members of the board are tired and could use some fresh voices and energy.

 

Would write-in votes on the ballots be considered valid, even though the assembly as a whole would not have been aware of them?

 

Oh - one more point: Traditionally, elections are held by marking "yes" or "no" beside each name, with the candidates receiving more "yes" votes being elected. Does this practice (which I have not been able to find in the bylaws anywhere) complicate any possible write-in votes?

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Would write-in votes on the ballots be considered valid, even though the assembly as a whole would not have been aware of them?

 

Yes. Write-in votes are valid unless the bylaws provide otherwise.

 

Oh - one more point: Traditionally, elections are held by marking "yes" or "no" beside each name, with the candidates receiving more "yes" votes being elected. Does this practice (which I have not been able to find in the bylaws anywhere) complicate any possible write-in votes?

 

Ugh. This practice is improper and should be ceased immediately. If this practice is called for in your rules, the rules should be amended to remove it. So far as RONR is concerned, the only way to vote against a candidate is to vote for someone else.

 

If this practice is called for in your rules, it may complicate things, but otherwise I don't think it should.

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Someone pointed out to me the following in the bylaws under the Nomination of Directors subsection of the Election of Directors section:

  1. All candidates shall put forward their name to the Nomination Committee by January 1 preceding the AGM at which he will be standing for election. 
  2. All candidates shall provide information through a questionnaire and interview to the Nomination Committee by January 15.
  3. No other nominations shall be accepted.

Would point #2 preclude write-in votes, or - since this section is under the heading "Nomination of Directors" as opposed to just "Elections" - is this (as I suspect) a situation where the organization will be required to interpret what this particular section means?

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Someone pointed out to me the following in the bylaws under the Nomination of Directors subsection of the Election of Directors section:

  1. All candidates shall put forward their name to the Nomination Committee by January 1 preceding the AGM at which he will be standing for election. 
  2. All candidates shall provide information through a questionnaire and interview to the Nomination Committee by January 15.
  3. No other nominations shall be accepted.

Would point #2 preclude write-in votes, or - since this section is under the heading "Nomination of Directors" as opposed to just "Elections" - is this (as I suspect) a situation where the organization will be required to interpret what this particular section means?

 

See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 588-591 for some Principles of Interpretation. The answer to this question will hinge on whether "candidates" means essentially the same thing as "nominees" or if the purpose of these rules is that members must "provide information through a questionnaire and interview to the Nomination Committee by January 15" in order to be eligible for office.

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In general (not commenting on these bylaws in particular) I think that a restriction specifically against nomination would prevent someone's name from appearing on the ballot, which in most organizations would be an uphill climb on the path to election.  But I don't think it would necessarily prevent someone from being elected if enough write-in votes were cast.

 

But yes, you do have to interpret your own bylaws considered as a whole, to determine exactly what that language actually means.

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