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Guest Shef

Was this method for nominating candidates improper?

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Guest Shef

I was at a recent state convention which was charged with sending delegates to a national convention. There was a nominating committee which selected a slate of delegate candidates to present to the full convention on the floor.

They used an unusual procedure within the nominating committee. First, they asked members to make nominations. The Chairman recognized one particular member first, who made a lengthy list of nominations. Other members were then recognized who made more nominations.

On the Chairman's authority, he decided to proceed as follows. The committee would have a vote on each delegate candidate in the order in which they were nominated. If any delegate candidate got more than a majority of votes, then that candidate would become part of the slate.

It became very clear that the fix was in. The Chairman ran through the list of nominations presented by the first member. Most got a majority of votes. Once the slate was full, the Chairman ended the meeting and none of the other nominees were considered or voted upon.

Many of the later nominees would also have gotten a majority, but they were never given a chance. Many people left angry.

The parliamentarian declared that "Robert's Rules allows us to do it this way." I've run through my copy of RONR and can't find it.

Did they cheat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Guest Shef said:

I was at a recent state convention which was charged with sending delegates to a national convention. There was a nominating committee which selected a slate of delegate candidates to present to the full convention on the floor.

They used an unusual procedure within the nominating committee. First, they asked members to make nominations. The Chairman recognized one particular member first, who made a lengthy list of nominations. Other members were then recognized who made more nominations.

On the Chairman's authority, he decided to proceed as follows. The committee would have a vote on each delegate candidate in the order in which they were nominated. If any delegate candidate got more than a majority of votes, then that candidate would become part of the slate.

It became very clear that the fix was in. The Chairman ran through the list of nominations presented by the first member. Most got a majority of votes. Once the slate was full, the Chairman ended the meeting and none of the other nominees were considered or voted upon.

Many of the later nominees would also have gotten a majority, but they were never given a chance. Many people left angry.

The parliamentarian declared that "Robert's Rules allows us to do it this way." I've run through my copy of RONR and can't find it.

Did they cheat?

 

As noted on page 432:

"Where more than one person is to be elected to an office, such as to a board of directors or trustees, or to a position, such as to a committee, no one may nominate more than one person for the office or position, if an objection is made, until every member wishing to nominate has had an opportunity to do so."

Did anyone object?

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1 hour ago, Guest said:

No one objected. No one knew to do so.

So now you will know better next time.  :)

By the way, it's not clear to me what the "parliamentarian's" declaration that "Robert's Rules allows us to do it this way" was in reference to, or what prompted it. It may or may not have been erroneous or misleading.

 

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

As noted on page 432:

"Where more than one person is to be elected to an office, such as to a board of directors or trustees, or to a position, such as to a committee, no one may nominate more than one person for the office or position, if an objection is made, until every member wishing to nominate has had an opportunity to do so."

Did anyone object?

But the OP describes that this was the procedure used within the nominating committee, rather than a process of nominations from the floor. Would the limit of one nomination be applicable within the proceedings of the nominating committee?

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The procedure you have described is more or less the process for a viva-voce election, described on pg. 442 of RONR, beginning at line 10. If that is what they were doing, then the breach was in allowing one person to nominate multiple people, since in the section on nominations from the floor, RONR states, "no one may nominate more than one person for the office, if an objection is made, until every member withing to nominate has had an opportunity to do so. In no event may a member nominate more persons than there are places to fill" (RONR pg. 432, ll.10-14).

However, what you are describing is not the election process, but only the nominating process, and RONR really doesn't address what kinds of internal processes a Nominating Committee might use to come up with its slate of nominees. Since no one apparently called a point of order to object to the process at the time (which might or might not have been ruled as well taken), and since the ultimate election would still require the opportunity for nominations from the floor, I don't think the result is a clear violation of the rules. But it certainly doesn't seem to have been a fair and open process.

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18 minutes ago, 1stChurch said:

But the OP describes that this was the procedure used within the nominating committee, rather than a process of nominations from the floor. Would the limit of one nomination be applicable within the proceedings of the nominating committee?

Yes.

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Guest Shef

There was no opportunity for nominations from the floor. Under the bylaws, no such nominations would have been in order. This is not unreasonable because there were almost 1,000 people in attendance on the floor.

The only way to get an alternative slate on the floor would have been to get the signatures of the chairmen of at least 50 delegations. Only 100 or so delegations showed up, and it wasn't easy to communicate with them, so it was a burden that we were unable to meet in the few short hours between the adjournment of the nominating committee and the opening of the convention.

I'm trying to make the argument that the process was unfair and that it was essentially an incumbent protection scheme. I'll then propose changes to the bylaws so it doesn't happen again. But I need to be sure of my ground with regard to Robert's Rules.

 

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A bylaws amendment would certainly seem in order for future nominations and election processes. But if you are attempting to challenge the election, and the election is over, then you need to meet the standard for a "continuing breach," which I don't believe you have (see RONR pg. 444ff.).

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