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Church Council election


Guest Brenda
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At my church election, a slate of single nominations was given to the assembly. I nominated myself from the floor for the stewardship board for an open position. No other person made a nomination. The nominations were closed. Our constitution /bylaws state that we are to have a secret ballot. The men on the slate were voted in by a motion that one ballot cast by the secretary. Since my nomination came from the floor, and I was a women and they never have had women on council (women are allowed in our bylaws for any position  except president gp or elder) the president stated there would be a ballot for my vote and it would be a yes/no vote to see if I would be elected. I kept saying how  an this be, no one is running against me. What is my recourse? 

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If your bylaws state that you are to have a secret ballot, then the motion that the secretary cast a vote was not in order, as it violates the bylaws.  Unless the bylaws provide that someone running unopposed may be elected by acclamation, none of those men were properly elected.

And if the bylaws do so provide, then it was not proper to hold a ballot vote for your position.  If a ballot vote was proper, it was not proper to have a Yes/No vote.  At most, your name should have been on the ballot along with a line for write-in votes.

Unfortunately, asking "how [c]an this be" is not the appropriate response.  Instead a better response would be to raise a Point of Order that the bylaws or other rules are not being followed.  This forces the chair to rule on the issue, giving reasons for his ruling, and if the ruling is unfavorable, allows any two people (mover; seconder) to Appeal From the Ruling of the Chair, and by majority vote, overturn it.

I expect others to comment on whether, at this point, you have any recourse or whether a point of order would no longer be timely.

 

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I'm sorry for my incomplete responses. Everyone else on the slate was elected. The position I nominated myself for was left open. They quickly adjourned the meeting. Our bylaws state the Council can can appoint  a successor if there is a vacancy in any office. So they can put their own man in when they find someone. 

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6 hours ago, Guest Brenda said:

Do I have any recourse now that you know all the details? 

Well, we don't have all the relevant details, but it appears as if your nomination of yourself for the open position on the stewardship board was treated as if it were a motion that you be elected to this position. This motion was then voted on by ballot, and was soundly defeated. Although it may have been improper to conduct the vote as they did, I'm afraid it's too late now to try to do anything about that. 

It appears that what your church has now is an incomplete election for this position, and perhaps also a resultant vacancy on the stewardship board. More details are needed in order to determine what, procedurally, should be done next in order to fill this position, but you need to decide for yourself whether or not you, personally, should let it go. 

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42 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Well, we don't have all the relevant details, but it appears as if your nomination of yourself for the open position on the stewardship board was treated as if it were a motion that you be elected to this position. This motion was then voted on by ballot, and was soundly defeated. Although it may have been improper to conduct the vote as they did, I'm afraid it's too late now to try to do anything about that. 

It appears that what your church has now is an incomplete election for this position, and perhaps also a resultant vacancy on the stewardship board. More details are needed in order to determine what, procedurally, should be done next in order to fill this position, but you need to decide for yourself whether or not you, personally, should let it go. 

Everything you just stated is correct. There is no process if the election used incorrect procedures and the meeting was adjourned? Can the election be reopened? 

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16 minutes ago, Guest Brenda said:

Everything you just stated is correct. There is no process if the election used incorrect procedures and the meeting was adjourned? Can the election be reopened? 

As I previously indicated, more details are needed in order to determine what, procedurally, should be done next in order to fill this position. The election doesn't need to be "reopened", but it should be completed if possible, and there may or may not be a vacancy which can and should be filled either permanently or until such time as the election is completed, assuming it can be. All of this depends upon exactly what your bylaws say about a number of things, such as terms in office and frequency of membership meetings.

 

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Our voters meetings are only held annually in November, unless the majority of Council or the pastor call for a special meeting upon 2 hours  notice. 

The Board of Stewardship position is elected ever 2 years. Every position in Council is elected for two years.  In the event of a vacancy in any office, the Church Council shall appoint a successor to serve until the next annual election. Given this, what needs to be done for the election to be completed? The next annual election will be November 2018.

The slate of officers put forth by the nominating committee was put forth unapposed. And a single vote cast for them,  which I now l know is out if order. So it seems none of the nominations were elected orderly. 

The bylaws state.. The Election shall be by secret ballot and shall be determined by plurality. The secretary and two members appointed by the chairman shall act as tellers. 

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On 11/19/2017 at 12:52 PM, Guest Brenda said:

Our voters meetings are only held annually in November, unless the majority of Council or the pastor call for a special meeting upon 2 hours  notice. 

The Board of Stewardship position is elected ever 2 years. Every position in Council is elected for two years.  In the event of a vacancy in any office, the Church Council shall appoint a successor to serve until the next annual election. Given this, what needs to be done for the election to be completed? The next annual election will be November 2018.

If I understand correctly that there is no clause in the bylaws providing that council members shall serve “until their successors are elected,” then it would appear that the council should elect someone to serve until November 2018, at which time the membership may complete the election, and the person elected at that time shall serve the remainder of the term.

20 hours ago, SaintCad said:

You can raise a Point of Order that the election is null and void as it violated the bylaws.

I agree that the election of the other officers is null and void because a ballot vote is required by the bylaws and a ballot vote was not taken, but this would not seem to address the OP’s principle concern (that she was not elected).

 

Edited by Josh Martin
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So the other nominees need a ballot vote to comply with the bylaws. Does my yes/no ballot vote complies with the bylaws?  I thought for an election the only way you could vote against someone was to vote for another nominee for that position? And how does plurality work in this case of having a ballot for single nominations? There were approximately 75 voters. 

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26 minutes ago, Guest Brenda said:

Does my yes/no ballot vote complies with the bylaws?

No.

26 minutes ago, Guest Brenda said:

I thought for an election the only way you could vote against someone was to vote for another nominee for that position?

Correct, although I would say “eligible candidate” rather than “nominee.” Write-in votes are permitted.

26 minutes ago, Guest Brenda said:

And how does plurality work in this case of having a ballot for single nominations?

A plurality means that a candidate receives more votes than any other candidate. If there is only one nominee, then that nominee will most likely win, but there could be a very successful write-in campaign. The assembly could also vote to reopen nominations.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
On 11/19/2017 at 10:52 AM, Guest Brenda said:

Given this, what needs to be done for the election to be completed?

The proper thing would be for the council or pastor to call a special meeting for the purpose of completing the election. I'm not of the mind that failure to elect constitutes a vacancy which can be filled by the Council, although this is a matter of bylaw interpretation.

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15 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

The proper thing would be for the council or pastor to call a special meeting for the purpose of completing the election. I'm not of the mind that failure to elect constitutes a vacancy which can be filled by the Council, although this is a matter of bylaw interpretation.

Well, failure to elect doesn't necessarily result in a vacancy, but if the bylaws use the unqualified wording "for a term of ... year(s)" in fixing the length of terms in office, as described at the top of page 574, and at the end of that time no one has been elected to fill an office, there will certainly be a resultant vacancy in that office. I agree, however, that whether or not a vacancy caused by the failure to elect in such instances is one which the council is authorized to fill depends upon exactly what the bylaws say in this regard.

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On 11/20/2017 at 12:38 PM, Josh Martin said:

 

I agree that the election of the other officers is null and void because a ballot vote is required by the bylaws and a ballot vote was not taken, but this would not seem to address the OP’s principle concern (that she was not elected).

 

Because if a revote needs to be done, the OP can go back and when her nomination is rejected (again) then she'll know the correct way to handle the situation.  Specifically they MUST have a ballot with her name on it and a blank for write in votes.  She should also hold the assembly to the rule that no debate can occur during voting.  My question is: are members allowed who they are voting for or who to vote for DURING the voting by ballot?

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Here is a new wrinkle.. It has been announced that the church will be having another assembly meeting in two weeks to discuss what went on in the last meeting. I guess there was quite an uproar. Can I make a point of order in this meeting that the election is null and void as it violated our Bylaws and make a motion to complete the election? 

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6 hours ago, Guest Brenda said:

Here is a new wrinkle.. It has been announced that the church will be having another assembly meeting in two weeks to discuss what went on in the last meeting. I guess there was quite an uproar. Can I make a point of order in this meeting that the election is null and void as it violated our Bylaws and make a motion to complete the election? 

Yes.  And read up on how to Appeal From the Ruling of the Chair

Edited by Gary Novosielski
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What does OP stand for? And can the President (in our bylaws it states the president shall preside at all meetings of the congregation) give to the pastor the duties of moderator to preside at the next meeting? The president will be in attendance at the meeting, but has decided to give away his duty as president to the pastor for the evening. 

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"OP" refers to the Original Poster, the person who started this topic. In this case, you, Guest Brenda.

The topic of Temporary Occupants of the Chair is covered in pages 452-454. It considers the situation when the President is absent or vacates the chair. I would take particular note of page 452, line 35 - page 453, line 2: "The regular presiding officer, knowing that he will be absent from a future meeting, cannot in advance authorize another member to preside in his place."

Page 453, line 26 - page 454, line 2 cover the situation when the President is present but it is considered best to have "an invited nonmember who is skilled at presiding" (this is the closest analogy I could find to your situation). It's not just the President's decision: The assembly "can adopt such an arrangement for all or part of a session" by a majority vote if the President and all Vice-Presidents do not object (or by unanimous consent).

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