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Guest Lori Riley

adding name to ballot or write-in votes

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Guest Lori Riley

Let me explain the situation and then I will ask two questions at the end of my post.  Officer elections are coming up and things have gotten contentious.  Nominating Committee met and presented a slate with one name for each position.  The sitting President was on the slate as the nominee for President next year, as is our custom. A nomination from the floor was made to run against the sitting President.  While this is allowed in our bylaws, it has never been done before.   According to our bylaws, nomination from the floor are made at the September meeting and the Election is at the October meeting.  We do allow absentee voting.  Our bylaws specifically state that nominations from the floor will only be accepted at the September meeting (which has already occurred).  Immediately after nominations from the floor the campaigning from the additional nominee's team began, and it started pitting neighbor against neighbor.  The sitting President stated via email to the membership that she was removing her name from the ballot in order to end the contention.  Unfortunately that appears to have only emboldened the other candidate's team.  As a result, many of the members are starting a campaign for the sitting President to again run against the new nominee so that members will have a choice.  Sitting President is very willing.  Our bylaws state that within 7 days of the nomination meeting, that the Nominating Committee Chair will send to the President the final ballot.  That has been done, and the sitting President's name is not there as she had removed her name.  Our bylaws also state that within seven days of the President receiving this information from the Nominating Committee Chair, that the President will announce th final ballot to the membership via email and posting on our website.  This has not been done as it is not due yet. Questions:  1)Is there any way to add the sitting President's name back onto the ballot?  Or is the only option as a write-in candidate?  and 2) If the only option is for the sitting President to be a write-in candidate, is there any way to prepare the ballot or handle the vote and protect anonymity?  For instance, everyone will know if I vote for the candidate on the ballot or the write in candidate based on my simply making a check or writing a name.

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You should have a secret ballot.  The current president's name may be written in by anyone.  The tellers are not going to know who voted for whom.  The tellers should be selected from the various factions so there is no doubt as to the result.

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Do you not vote by secret ballot?  If your custom is not to vote by secret ballot, anyone can make a motion at the next meeting (which I assume is the election meeting) that the vote be by secret ballot.  It requires a majority vote to order that the vote be by secret ballot.   btw, a vote by ballot is  defined by RONR as a secret ballot unless specified otherwise, such as by using signed ballots.  See page 412 of RONR.

 

As the others have said, the ballot does not have to be anything fancy and can be simply pieces of paper upon which the members write down the names of their choices for the various offices.  After members vote, they fold their ballots so that their choices cannot be seen by others and the ballots are deposited into a receptacle of some kind or the tellers go around the room and collect the ballots.  RONR sets out the proper method of handling a mail ballot on pages 424-425. 

 

How have you been doing it?

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1)Is there any way to add the sitting President's name back onto the ballot? Or is the only option as a write-in candidate?

I don't think there is any way to add the President's name to any physical, pre-printed ballots at this time, if that is your question. It might be possible to Suspend the Rules to reopen nominations, but I think members are still going to write in his name. Blank pieces of paper could be used in place of preprinted ballots (at least for the in-person ballots), so that this at least does not put the President at as much of a disadvantage.

2) If the only option is for the sitting President to be a write-in candidate, is there any way to prepare the ballot or handle the vote and protect anonymity? For instance, everyone will know if I vote for the candidate on the ballot or the write in candidate based on my simply making a check or writing a name.

If your concern is that members will figure out who you voted for though handwriting analysis, that seems... a little paranoid, to be honest. Just make sure that the tellers are trusted people.

Do you not vote by secret ballot? If your custom is not to vote by secret ballot, anyone can make a motion at the next meeting (which I assume is the election meeting) that the vote be by secret ballot. It requires a majority vote to order that the vote be by secret ballot. btw, a vote by ballot is defined by RONR as a secret ballot unless specified otherwise, such as by using signed ballots. See page 412 of RONR.

As the others have said, the ballot does not have to be anything fancy and can be simply pieces of paper upon which the members write down the names of their choices for the various offices. After members vote, they fold their ballots so that their choices cannot be seen by others and the ballots are deposited into a receptacle of some kind or the tellers go around the room and collect the ballots. RONR sets out the proper method of handling a mail ballot on pages 424-425.

How have you been doing it?

Since the OP's concern is specifically regarding the secrecy of write-in votes (and not votes in general), I suspect the concern is that tellers will be able to tell who voted based on the handwriting on the ballot.

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Guest lori Riley

Thank you for all of the replies.  Let me clarify my concern about anonymity.  At the General Meeting we are all sitting together at tables.  Ballots will be distributed.  Everyone at the table will be able to tell if someone simply makes a check on their ballot or if they write out a name. Blank paper solves this problem, but I have two questions with that:  1)We are allowed to vote absentee.  It doesn't seem practical for the absentee ballot not to have the official slate written on it.  Is there another way?  If not, must the General Meeting Ballot and the absentee ballot be the same -- or even if we print the slate on the absentee ballot can we use plan paper at the general meeting.  2) We have six positions that we are voting on.  I am assuming that if we are able to use just blank paper, that the Chair would just go office by office and state the nominee for that office verbally, allow people to write down their vote, then go to the next office and state the nominee verbally, and so on.

 

Thank you in advance.  Our little group is going through a bit of a mess right now.  I want to make sure we are using the right procedure.  I want to make sure that anonymity is protected.  And I want to make sure that if we do not print ballots but state nominees verbally that that is done without flaw.

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Since your organization authorizes absentee voting, it will be up to your organization to determine the details of voting by such a method. Note that RONR recommends against combining the votes of those attending the meeting with absentee votes because the question being voted on may be somewhat different.

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Guest Nancy N.

.... Note that RONR recommends against combining the votes of those attending the meeting with absentee votes because the question being voted on may be somewhat different.

 

And in this instance, there's clearly another reason.

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I'm a bit puzzled as to why the organization finds itself so befuddled by the concept of a contested election, to the point where people would watch your hand for movement in order to figure out your vote.

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Guest Nancy N.

... Blank paper solves this problem, but I have two questions with that:  1)We are allowed to vote absentee.  It doesn't seem practical for the absentee ballot not to have the official slate written on it. ..

 

Why would it be impractical?  The ballot lists all the offices and candidates at the top, and below that, line by line, each office with a line next to it on which to write the name of the person the voter wishes to vote for.  LIke this (if it prints right: let's see):

 

President:  Lori Riley, Guest_P Woodworth_*; Vice-President: Hieu H. Huynh; Secretary: Richard Brown; Treasurer:  Godel Fan; Sgt-at-Arms, Transpower; Nostrand Avenue:  Nostrand Avenue; Plenipotentiary:  Nancy N.

 

 

                                                   ___________________________

 

 

 

President:  _________

 

Vice-President:  _________

 

Secretary:  ___________

 

Treasurer:  ___________

 

Sgt.-at-Arms: ________

 

Nostrand Avenue:  ____________

 

Prenipotentiary:  _Me_______

 

 

(I listed Nostrand Avenue because it's one block over from here.  Most organizations that I know of function fine with tihis office vacant, and the others don't know what to do with it.  The nominee for Plenipotentiary is just a suggestion, you can leave that out.  Of course I"m assuming that the ballots have not been printed yet, or that you can trash what's been printed and you can run off another set.)

 

For that matter, the ballots at the election can be exactly the same, so that there will be no visible distinction between the absentee and the in-person ballots.  Or, as you ask, different -- if you prefer, for whatever reason.

 

...  2) We have six positions that we are voting on.  I am assuming that if we are able to use just blank paper, that the Chair would just go office by office and state the nominee for that office verbally, allow people to write down their vote, then go to the next office and state the nominee verbally, and so on.

 

Thank you in advance.  Our little group is going through a bit of a mess right now.  I want to make sure we are using the right procedure.  I want to make sure that anonymity is protected.  And I want to make sure that if we do not print ballots but state nominees verbally that that is done without flaw.

 

What's Question #2???

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Thank you for all of the replies.  Let me clarify my concern about anonymity.  At the General Meeting we are all sitting together at tables.  Ballots will be distributed.  Everyone at the table will be able to tell if someone simply makes a check on their ballot or if they write out a name. Blank paper solves this problem, but I have two questions with that:  1)We are allowed to vote absentee.  It doesn't seem practical for the absentee ballot not to have the official slate written on it.  Is there another way?  If not, must the General Meeting Ballot and the absentee ballot be the same -- or even if we print the slate on the absentee ballot can we use plan paper at the general meeting.  2) We have six positions that we are voting on.  I am assuming that if we are able to use just blank paper, that the Chair would just go office by office and state the nominee for that office verbally, allow people to write down their vote, then go to the next office and state the nominee verbally, and so on.

 

Thank you in advance.  Our little group is going through a bit of a mess right now.  I want to make sure we are using the right procedure.  I want to make sure that anonymity is protected.  And I want to make sure that if we do not print ballots but state nominees verbally that that is done without flaw.

 

In post #1 you say that your bylaws state that within 7 days of the nomination meeting the Nominating Committee Chair will send to the President the final ballot, and that has been done. If this is so, I don't see how you can properly make any changes in the ballot which has been submitted.

 

Or maybe your bylaws don't say what you said they say?

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Guest Lori Riley

I think that the style of ballot described above solves our problem where each official nominee is listed at the top, and then voting is underneath by writing in names.  We are a small club with a divisive situation unfortunately.  I just want to make sure that we are handling everything with proper procedure, fairly, and protecting the secrecy of the ballot.  I hope this is not insulting to ask, but I would really like to have a Parliamentarian on this site to concur that the ballot style above is a "legal" ballot style.

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  I hope this is not insulting to ask, but I would really like to have a Parliamentarian on this site to concur that the ballot style above is a "legal" ballot style.

 

Visit www.parliamentarians.org  for a referral.

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I think that the style of ballot described above solves our problem where each official nominee is listed at the top, and then voting is underneath by writing in names.  We are a small club with a divisive situation unfortunately.  I just want to make sure that we are handling everything with proper procedure, fairly, and protecting the secrecy of the ballot.  I hope this is not insulting to ask, but I would really like to have a Parliamentarian on this site to concur that the ballot style above is a "legal" ballot style.

 

Well, I don't think it will be "legal" if the bylaws say what you said they say and there is any variation from the ballot submitted by the Nominating Committee.

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Visit www.parliamentarians.org  for a referral.

 

Lori said she would like to have a parliamentarian on this site concur that the ballot style referred to is a "legal" ballot style.

 

As of now, I suppose you may be right that she will need to visit the site you referred to in order to get a referral to someone who will concur.  :) 

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Guest Nancy N.

On the other hand, Lori, Mr. Honemann did (twice, and almost cheerily, in posts 11 and 15) point out that my proposed ballot (Post 10) will not be valid since, as you say in your Original Post, "Our bylaws state that within 7 days of the nomination meeting, that the Nominating Committee Chair will send to the President the final ballot.  That has been done...."

 

So whether or not what I proposed is an acceptable ballot style is moot, in your case, if we understand your bylaws provision about "the final ballot" correctly.

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