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Silvertomster

Biased design of election ballot?

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If I understand correctly, a written ballot form prepared in advance of a meeting to elect directors need only include (for each office) the names of all qualified nominees, a place for write-ins, and a way to vote "for".

It is proper for the ballot also to include statements that show partiality in some way, e.g., "The above nominees have been vetted by the Board Development Committee, whereas those below have not."? Note: vetting by the committee is not a qualification for office. Or, does the ballot design need to impartial, listing nominees alphabetically, for example, or in the order in which they were nominated?

What are the standards, if any, for the proper design of an election ballot form? 

 

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RONR on CD-Rom has some examples for election ballots, but I think if the assembly is dissatisfied with that format, they can direct that it not be used and I think a majority vote will suffice.

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I'm surprised that RONR doesn't contain more rules about ballot design to ensure fairness to all nominees. A person designing a written ballot form can have considerable influence on how the nominees are perceived by the electorate, especially if "editorializing" by the designer is allowed right on the ballot,  or if the ballot design relegates some nominees to second-class status. See initial post above.

How about a rule that a proper election ballot form must contain, for each office, ONLY the list of nominees (presented impartially), a place for write-ins, a method for indicating "FOR" each nominee, and instructions for the voter. There's too much potential for mischief if the ballot form gets much more complicated than that.

I'd argue that the place to editorialize about the candidates is on the floor, during debate, not on the ballot during the election.

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You make an entirely sensible argument.  Your next step is to draw up your rule, as a "Standing Rule" (p. 18), and propose it for adoption by your association.

It might also be defined as a "Special Rule of Order" (a little more difficult to adopt or amend later on - see p 15ff.).  Whether such ballot rules are indeed "Special" or "Standing" does not appear to be specified in the book.

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6 hours ago, jstackpo said:

You make an entirely sensible argument.  Your next step is to draw up your rule, as a "Standing Rule" (p. 18), and propose it for adoption by your association.

 

Rather than the need for every association to adopt a different standing rule, I was hoping to find a general rule in RONR that would help assure ballot fairness in all associations. Something like:

Unless otherwise provided for in the bylaws, an election ballot form (physical or electronic) may not:

  • Contain endorsements or commentary of any kind.
  • Contain information about any candidate other than his/her name.
  • Fail to present the candidates in an impartial manner.
  • Fail to allow for write-in votes
  • Fail to include instructions to the voter

I recently participated in an election in which ALL of these principles were violated, except for the provision for write-in votes. Elections matter, and I'm wondering, why doesn't RONR do more to prevent mischievous ballot design from swinging members' votes?

The proper place for commentary on the candidates is during debate, when any member can participate, not on the ballot, when everyone but the ballot designer is shut out.

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