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Dennis Ross

Write In Rejected By Club Board

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Our club held elections for officers this year and provided members an opportunity to vote electronically and in person at the annual membership meeting.

On the email and paper ballots for election of officers there were three (3) positions for Director at Large vacant with only two candidates on the ballot.  The ballot clearly stated "3 positions available" even though two candidates names were on the ballot.  The ballots, both email and paper, did not provide any space or line to write in a vote for any other person.

Several email ballots were returned with a write in vote for a member eligible to hold office but not listed as a candidate on the ballot.  Several paper ballots were submitted during the voting at the annual membership meeting with the same write in candidate clearly marked on the ballot.

The teller committee initially did not report the write in candidate and was challenged by the member whose name had been written in.  After a brief recess the tellers committee reported that in fact several email and paper ballots contained a single name as a write in candidate.  Several people objected because the ballots, both email and paper, did not contain any reference to write in candidates.

The presiding officer at the annual membership meeting where in vote was taken refused to certify the ballot, choosing to ignore the point of order that write in voting is allowed so long as the bylaws do not contain any prohibition.

The meeting was adjourned without certifying the vote and the presiding officer pronounced that the board would convene to make the final decision at a special board meeting.

Questions:

1. Since there were three positions noted on the ballot and only two candidates listed, should the write in candidate be elected to the third position?

2. Does the failure to provide any reference to the ability to write in a candidate or the lack of a line for writing in a candidate create an invalid ballot that can be rejected?

3. Since the annual membership meeting was adjourned without resolving the conflict, what is the appropriate way to certify the vote?

 

A facsimile of the ballot and excerpt from the bylaws on elections are attached.

 

Ballot As Mailed to Members.doc

Bylaws Section Regarding Elections.doc

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1 hour ago, Dennis Ross said:

 

Questions:

 

1. Since there were three positions noted on the ballot and only two candidates listed, should the write in candidate be elected to the third position?

2. Does the failure to provide any reference to the ability to write in a candidate or the lack of a line for writing in a candidate create an invalid ballot that can be rejected?

3. Since the annual membership meeting was adjourned without resolving the conflict, what is the appropriate way to certify the vote?

 

A facsimile of the ballot and excerpt from the bylaws on elections are attached.

 

Ballot As Mailed to Members.doc

Bylaws Section Regarding Elections.doc

1.  To be elected a candidate would the director position would need not only to be within the top 3 people receiving votes, but have to ghave more than half the ballots, with at least one vote on it, cast.  It is unlikely that the write-in candidate had sufficient votes to be elected, i.e. more than half of the votes cast.

2.  The ballot said, "List the candidates you are voting for with their respective positions in your reply."  This would easily include write-in votes.

3.  You have an incomplete election for the third position.  If your group meets at least as often a quarterly, you should attempt to complete the election. 


 

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
3 hours ago, Dennis Ross said:

The meeting was adjourned without certifying the vote and the presiding officer pronounced that the board would convene to make the final decision at a special board meeting.

The board has no such power unless the bylaws give it to them. They may mean well, but it is completely improper for the board to decide the outcome of a vote by the membership. The best course of action would be to call a special meeting to complete the election.

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5 hours ago, Dennis Ross said:

1. Since there were three positions noted on the ballot and only two candidates listed, should the write in candidate be elected to the third position?

2. Does the failure to provide any reference to the ability to write in a candidate or the lack of a line for writing in a candidate create an invalid ballot that can be rejected?

3. Since the annual membership meeting was adjourned without resolving the conflict, what is the appropriate way to certify the vote?

1.) Only if the write-in candidate received a majority of the votes cast, or if your bylaws permit election by plurality. Otherwise, another round of voting should be held for the third position.

2.) No. As you correctly note, write-in votes are permitted unless the bylaws provide otherwise. If those responsible for designing the ballot fail to include lines for write-in votes, members are still free to write-in their vote in the available space on the ballot.

3.) A special meeting of the membership should be called for this purpose - or the issue could be resolved at the next regular meeting, if that is within a reasonable time. The board does not have the authority to resolve questions pertaining to an election by the club, unless so authorized by the club or its rules. Additionally, in the likely event that there is an incomplete election for the third position, this election should be completed as soon as possible.

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

The board has no such power unless the bylaws give it to them.

My only quibble is with the word “bylaws.” I think a special rule of order would be sufficient to authorize the board to resolve questions pertaining to the club’s elections, and the club also could simply adopt a main motion to authorize the board to do so for a particular election.

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Mr. Ross, I agree with the responses above by J.J. and Josh Martin.  I also agree that the election was rather poorly handled, especially regarding the email and regular mail ballots.

I have a concern, however, with the email and regular mail absentee ballots.  Are both of these types of absentee voting authorized by the bylaws?

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

Mr. Ross, I agree with the responses above by J.J. and Josh Martin.  I also agree that the election was rather poorly handled, especially regarding the email and regular mail ballots.

I have a concern, however, with the email and regular mail absentee ballots.  Are both of these types of absentee voting authorized by the bylaws?

Were there regular mail ballots? It looks to like it was e-mail ballots and in-person ballots (an arrangement which has its own problems).

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