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Anonymous Voting

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Guest Sorority Parliamentarian

Is anonymous voting allowed during elections?  I ask because the Board of Directors put out an initative after the announcement after the Commitee Advisor and the Chairwoman of the elections committee put out the closing dates for nominees and whom would receive the nominations, which are the two stated above, as all national leadership positions to include the BOD were to be voted for this year at the last National Leadership meeting in November 2017. The BOD initative now states that the BOD positions are not to be voted on, an extension was given on the timeframe of which ballots were to be turned in, and anyone who wanted to vote anonymously could turn in their votes to the national secretary. As we use RONR for voting procedures, can you direct me on where I may find that information?

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What exactly do your bylaws say about elections and voting?   Specifically, what, if anything, do your bylaws say about elections being conducted by ballot?   It would help us if you can quote those provisions verbatim.  Those provisions must be followed.  If the bylaws require that elections be conducted by ballot, then that provision must be followed and cannot be waived or suspended unless the bylaws themselves make provisions for suspending that provision such as in the case where there is only one nominee for a position.  

Elections can sometimes be postponed in certain circumstances, but we don't have enough information to know if that is appropriate in your case.  It would be unusual for a board to have the power to postpone an election and that power would have to be granted the board in the bylaws.

A vote by ballot, by definition, means a secret ballot unless the bylaws provide otherwise, such as in some cases where voting is by mail or signed ballots are required.  But, a provision for a non-secret ballot must be in the bylaws.

Information on elections and voting is scattered throughout RONR, but the main provision on elections are on pages 438-446 in the current 11th edition.  The provision on page 263 regarding not being able to suspend a requirement of a ballot vote might also be helpful.  See also this provision on  page 412:  "VOTING BY BALLOT. Voting by ballot (slips of paper on which the voter marks his vote) is used when secrecy of the members' votes is desired. The bylaws of the organization may prescribe that the vote be by ballot in certain cases, as in the election of officers and in admission to membership.* Any vote related to charges or proposed charges before or after a trial of a member or any officer should always be by ballot. In cases in which there is no requirement that a vote be by ballot, a ballot vote can be ordered by a majority vote—which may be desirable whenever it is believed that members may thereby be more likely to vote their true sentiments.
When the bylaws require a vote to be taken by ballot, this requirement cannot be suspended, even by a unanimous vote."

For provisions on voting by mail see pages 424-425.

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For the record I am the guest that posed the question. In our current set of bylaws it states nothing about voting procedures as the Sorority was reactivated in 2014, but in previous editions it states that there will be no proxy voting or absentee ballots can be cast.  However, it does state that the National Officers will receive reports and consider such matters as the BOD may bring before it. Unfortunately this was not a decision that was brought to the attention of the National Officers before it was sent out to the body of the Sorority. 

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2 hours ago, Guest Sorority Parliamentarian said:

Is anonymous voting allowed during elections?  I ask because the Board of Directors put out an initative after the announcement after the Commitee Advisor and the Chairwoman of the elections committee put out the closing dates for nominees and whom would receive the nominations, which are the two stated above, as all national leadership positions to include the BOD were to be voted for this year at the last National Leadership meeting in November 2017. The BOD initative now states that the BOD positions are not to be voted on, an extension was given on the timeframe of which ballots were to be turned in, and anyone who wanted to vote anonymously could turn in their votes to the national secretary. As we use RONR for voting procedures, can you direct me on where I may find that information?

 

57 minutes ago, Sorority Officer said:

For the record I am the guest that posed the question. In our current set of bylaws it states nothing about voting procedures as the Sorority was reactivated in 2014, but in previous editions it states that there will be no proxy voting or absentee ballots can be cast.  However, it does state that the National Officers will receive reports and consider such matters as the BOD may bring before it. Unfortunately this was not a decision that was brought to the attention of the National Officers before it was sent out to the body of the Sorority. 

Anonymous voting is absolutely permissible in elections and is recommended. Absentee voting, however, is not permissible (anonymously or otherwise), unless authorized by your bylaws.

Edited by Josh Martin

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