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This Hello. 

Last night I heard about a plan to fix our elections, next month. Chuck (a very popular member) is running for Prez. Mike, (unpopular) is running unopposed for vice prez. The theory is that when Chuck wins, he will resign within a month, and take a position at the state level, rather than stay as Prez at the local level. This will automatically move the vice prez into the prez position.  I feel that this is an attempt to fix the election, in effect making the memberships votes worthless. I feel that I must voice my concerns at the next general meeting. How should I procede? I'm lost. Mike

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51 minutes ago, Hansome said:

How should I procede?

Very carefully. :)

I would not advise repeating any of what you just said during the meeting. Such comments are, in my view, highly indecorous (even if true). What I would do instead is the following:

  • Raise a Request for Information asking all of the candidates for office whether they are willing and able to serve their full term if elected. (Do not contradict their answers.)
  • Nominate another popular candidate for President and/or Vice President and speak in support of those persons.

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Guest Zev

I would do as Josh suggests.

Also, what you heard may be a ruse trying to set you up for something.

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On 4/16/2018 at 7:33 PM, Hansome said:

This Hello. 

Last night I heard about a plan to fix our elections, next month. Chuck (a very popular member) is running for Prez. Mike, (unpopular) is running unopposed for vice prez. The theory is that when Chuck wins, he will resign within a month, and take a position at the state level, rather than stay as Prez at the local level. This will automatically move the vice prez into the prez position.  I feel that this is an attempt to fix the election, in effect making the memberships votes worthless. I feel that I must voice my concerns at the next general meeting. How should I procede? I'm lost. Mike

I fail to see how this could be characterized as "fixing" the election.  It might be that you don't like the outcome, but there's nothing about this that violates any rule that I can see.

If you don't feel the candidates will act properly, nominate and support someone who will.

Edited by Gary Novosielski

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On 4/16/2018 at 6:33 PM, Hansome said:

This Hello. 

Last night I heard about a plan to fix our elections, next month. Chuck (a very popular member) is running for Prez. Mike, (unpopular) is running unopposed for vice prez. The theory is that when Chuck wins, he will resign within a month, and take a position at the state level, rather than stay as Prez at the local level. This will automatically move the vice prez into the prez position.  I feel that this is an attempt to fix the election, in effect making the memberships votes worthless. I feel that I must voice my concerns at the next general meeting. How should I procede? I'm lost. Mike

I agree with the previous answers and would add that nothing prevents you from campaigning hard for or against a candidate or a position or a motion outside of a meeting.  It's called old fashioned politicking.  But, as others have pointed out, while in a meeting certain rules of decorum must be adhered to and those rules prohibit making disparaging comments about members.

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Agreeing with the others I'd also be careful in how you phrase your suspicions even outside of the meeting.   You said that the candidate for President is a very popular person and it sounds like you are suggesting that Chuck and Mike are conspiring to arrange things so an unpopular person can slip into the Presidency without the Membership's direct approval.  Just keep in mind that you can possibly get into trouble for what you say wherever you are (see RONR p. 649 onward).  Being popular usually means that you have friends who will take great umbrage to any suggestion you are doing something untoward especially if it can't be proved.

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I do. I see it as dishonesty also. I believe when you take a position, you should try to actually do the job. My thought is that i give up my time, to come and vote. It should mean something. For a candidate to capture an election, and quit so that his buddy can take over is contrary to electing a prez. The candidate has done this before. It created a huge divide. Voting members should know that this is happening again. It is setting up a puppet govt at our club, for the state guys to bully. My question was not "should i bring this up". My question was the proper way to let voting members know of this scheme, and then they can vote without being in the dark about candidates desires. 

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59 minutes ago, Hansome said:

My question was not "should i bring this up". My question was the proper way to let voting members know of this scheme, and then they can vote without being in the dark about candidates desires. 

I think you would do best to proceed through out-of-meeting politicking.  If at the meeting there is some sort of forum to speak in favor of candidates, and if the theory you mention isn't something the candidate has actually said in public, I would suggest treading carefully about making the accusation.  If it is a publicly-known plan, then I don't think it is a decorum issue to say why you dislike his plan.  But I do think it is a decorum issue to use terms like "a puppet govt at our club, for the state guys to bully."  That's suggesting motives rather than speaking to the merits.

You might, if there is an opportunity to ask questions of candidates, try something like asking all the candidates "do you plan to serve your full term?"  But then you'll have to live with whatever answer is given.

But it's most important to note that none of this will make any difference if there isn't another candidate for VP, since an unopposed candidate will win.

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5 hours ago, Hansome said:

I do. I see it as dishonesty also. I believe when you take a position, you should try to actually do the job. My thought is that i give up my time, to come and vote. It should mean something. For a candidate to capture an election, and quit so that his buddy can take over is contrary to electing a prez. The candidate has done this before. It created a huge divide. Voting members should know that this is happening again. It is setting up a puppet govt at our club, for the state guys to bully. My question was not "should i bring this up". My question was the proper way to let voting members know of this scheme, and then they can vote without being in the dark about candidates desires. 

I stand by my previous advice.

If you absolutely insist on bringing this up (which I do not advise), I would state only the facts as you understand them - that you have reason to believe that the candidate for President intends to accept an office at the state level, for the purpose of the newly elected Vice President becoming President. I think think this is still very dicey territory (especially if the candidates deny it, since it is indecorous to accuse them of lying), but it is the most careful path possible while still providing the information. Under no circumstances should you use words like “rigged,” “fix the election,” “dishonesty,” or “puppet government.” These are highly indecorous terms and the chair should call you to order immediately if you use them.

In addition to this, you should also nominate a different candidate for Vice President, since you have to elect someone. You could also nominate another candidate for President if you wish.

After the elections are over, you could pursue disciplinary action if you feel that strongly about the members’ actions. See Secrion 63 of RONR for more information.

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The most important part of this society is our right to vote for our leaders. When our leaders are untruthful, and have ulterior motives... I dunno I think it is disgraceful.  This unreal scenario was told to me by our bartender, who was waiting the table and thought it was funny. I think it shakes our belief in the goodness of our elected officers. I find it so bizarre, to run for an office that you really don't want in order to appoint officers who might not be loyal to the person who takes over the position. I cannot remain silent as that would be just as wrong. 

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Guest Zev

What happens if later you discover that the bartender lied or mistook the gist of the conversation given the brief period of time he was at the table? And what happens if they were actually talking about someone else? Hansome, nominate a pair of candidates yourself, or get your friends to do it and campaign for them. You must do everything to maintain a dignified posture even if it means suffering an momentary injustice. If they perform this act you have recourse to disciplinary measures. Remember, all of this is not about you, it is about what is best for the organization. Fight for them in the way our friends above have suggested.

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14 hours ago, Hansome said:

The most important part of this society is our right to vote for our leaders. When our leaders are untruthful, and have ulterior motives... I dunno I think it is disgraceful.  This unreal scenario was told to me by our bartender, who was waiting the table and thought it was funny. I think it shakes our belief in the goodness of our elected officers. I find it so bizarre, to run for an office that you really don't want in order to appoint officers who might not be loyal to the person who takes over the position. I cannot remain silent as that would be just as wrong. 

I understand your concerns, but the other concern is that “A member or officer has the right that allegations against his good name shall not be made except by charges brought on reasonable ground. If thus accused, he has the right to due process—that is, to be informed of the charge and given time to prepare his defense, to appear and defend himself, and to be fairly treated.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 656) Therefore, the appropriate way to handle charges of a serious nature is to follow the formal disciplinary procedures in Section 63 of RONR, not by bringing up accusations in the middle of debate on an election.

The following rules are particular applications of the above principle, and seem relevant to the current situation:

“If a member disagrees with a statement by another in regard to an event that both witnessed, he cannot state in debate that the other's statement "is false." But he might say, "I believe there is strong evidence that the member is mistaken." The moment the chair hears such words as "fraud," "liar," or "lie" used about a member in debate, he must act immediately and decisively to correct the matter and prevent its repetition (see 61).” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 392)

“For the protection of parties who may be innocent, the first resolution should avoid details as much as possible. An individual member may not prefer charges, even if that member has proof of an officer's or member's wrongdoing. If a member introduces a resolution preferring charges unsupported by an investigating committee's recommendation, the chair must rule the resolution out of order, informing the member that it would instead be in order to move the appointment of such a committee (by a resolution, as in the example above). A resolution is improper if it implies the truth of specific rumors or contains insinuations unfavorable to an officer or member, even one who is to be accused. It is out of order, for example, for a resolution to begin, "Whereas, It seems probable that the treasurer has engaged in graft, . . ." At the first mention of the word "graft" in such a case, the chair must instantly call to order the member attempting to move the resolution.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 657-6578)

It would be in violation of these rules to suggest that candidates intended to “rig” or “fix” the election, that candidates intend to make the society a “puppet government” of the state organization, or to accuse the candidates of dishonesty. I think you could maybe get away with suggesting that a candidate intends to resign in order to accept a position at the state level, for the purpose of the VP becoming President (I would suggest avoiding even this statement), but it would not be appropriate to pursue this further if the candidates refute this. It is not proper to accuse the candidates of lying, and I don’t think the “mistaken” tactic works in this instance, as it seems to me that suggesting that someone is mistaken about his own intentions is tantamount to accusing him of lying.

I would further note that violations of the above rules are themselves very serious, and if you do not follow our advice on this matter, you could be subject to disciplinary action yourself. Since your conduct would be occurring during a meeting, with the assembly serving as witnesses, the disciplinary process is swifter. See Section 61 of RONR.

Edited by Josh Martin

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