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Voting by secret ballot


Guest Abed Medawar
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Hello, at a recent Rotary Club board meeting attended by ten board members, we held a secret ballot to decide on whether a member should be terminated. The vote needed 2/3 majority to pass. 6 members vote yes, 2 voted no, one member cast a blank ballot, one member did not vote at all. We collected 9 ballots. Does vote pass? There is obviously a major debate under way. Rotary HQ claim as The Standard Rotary Club Constitution calls for a vote determined by not less than 2/3 of the board members present and voting, at a meeting called for that purpose” (Article 15, Section 5a)- meaning that all members present count towards the denominator in the 2/3 count.  They say vote did not pass as they counted only 6 of 10 yes votes.  We say the member that was present but did not vote does not count in total who voted as he does not completely meet criteria of "present and voting"  and as such we have 6 of 9 yes votes so vote passed. Who is correct? thank you for your input.

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Unless you have a specialized rule to the contrary, abstentions, blank ballots, and people who do not vote do not count. A blank ballot is an abstention  An abstention is not a vote. Your interpretation is correct according to RONR .

Edited by Richard Brown
Corrected spelling error caused by voice to text
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If the statement in quotations is an accurate transcription of what the bylaws say, then it certainly does establish the same voting base as RONR - "2/3 of the board members present and voting". How your Rotary HQ can claim that statement means something other than what it says is beyond me.

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7 hours ago, Guest Abed Medawar said:

S1.) The Standard Rotary Club Constitution calls for a vote determined by not less than 2/3 of the board members present and voting, at a meeting called for that purpose”.

S2.) meaning that all members present count towards the denominator in the 2/3 count. 

Statement S1 is the cited customized rule.

Statement S2 is FALSE. -- It is a faulty interpretation of S1.

***

The phrase "present and voting" has a fixed meaning. It means that the members who count toward toward the denominator are only those members who satisfy the two criteria:

(a.) are they present?

(b.) are they voting?

   • If they are NOT present, then they do NOT count toward the denominator.

   • If they are NOT voting, then they do NOT count toward the denominator.

If someone were to argue that "all members present" count toward the denominator, then your constitution would be violated when/if any member present where to fail to cast an affirmative ballot or a negative ballot. -- They may be present, but they are not voting.

***

Your vote was 6-2 with two abstentions (namely, one blank ballot, and one member who failed to submit a ballot at all).

A vote of 6-2 does satisfy the requirement "vote of two-thirds of members present and voting."

The motion was adopted.

The member is terminated.

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It should be obvious, to native speakers at least, that someone who is present yet not voting is not present and voting.   You had two abstentions, one by casting a blank ballot and one by casting no ballot.  Those members were not voting, and were therefore not present and voting.

A 6-2 vote clearly meets the requirements of a 2/3 vote, and no reasonable case can be made to the contrary.

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