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Please help.  HOA election had four candidates on ballot which was provided in advance to residents.  At general meeting an additional person was nominated from the floor.  When ballots were submitted many were photocopies of original ballot with three candidates names blacked out and floor nominated individual's name on them.  Is it legal to bring photocopies to meeting that have person not in nomination?  Is it legal to black out names of persons that were in nomination prior to meeting (and were still viable candidates)?  All photocopies ballots were identical.

 

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We can't tell you if it's legal, because we can only talk about parliamentary procedure. So far as parliamentary procedure is concerned, anything may be used as ballots unless your rules specify what your ballots look like. The individual nominated from the floor, unless your rules say otherwise, was just as entitled to a vote as anyone else (a reason preprinted ballots might not be a great idea when nominations are still open) and so I don't see anything wrong with those ballots. I'm not sure about the blacking out of the names, though - presumably, the members using them had the "official" ballot, and were given this ballot by that candidate's campaign, and chose to use this one, so it doesn't look like anyone was tricked or any manipulation took place. It's hard to say without knowing, but certainly I may black out the names of candidates I am not voting for on my ballot, so it seems to me it's also fair (unless something says I must vote using the provided ballot) for me to be given a ballot with some names blacked out, so long as I know who is nominated and who I may vote for.

So, while there's some room for fact-dependent determinations, it appears to me that these votes were validly cast. Stay tuned for others, though.

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On 4/14/2019 at 5:50 PM, seahags said:

Please help.  HOA election had four candidates on ballot which was provided in advance to residents.  At general meeting an additional person was nominated from the floor.  When ballots were submitted many were photocopies of original ballot with three candidates names blacked out and floor nominated individual's name on them.  Is it legal to bring photocopies to meeting that have person not in nomination?  Is it legal to black out names of persons that were in nomination prior to meeting (and were still viable candidates)?  All photocopies ballots were identical.

 

The major considerations in what makes for a valid ballot are:

  • the ballot should indicate the intent of the voter.
  • there should be controls in place to assure that no one votes more than once.

According to RONR, blank pieces of paper will do just fine as ballots.  So I don't immediately spot a problem with what you've described.

And the person nominated from the floor was just as much "in nomination" as anyone else.  Those nominated sooner rather than later don't have special rights or powers.

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15 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

The major considerations in what makes for a valid ballot are:

  • the ballot should indicate the intent of the voter.
  • there should be controls in place to assure that no one votes more than once.

According to RONR, blank pieces of paper will do just fine as ballots.  So I don't immediately spot a problem with what you've described.

And the person nominated from the floor was just as much "in nomination" as anyone else.  Those nominated sooner rather than later don't have special rights or powers.

The only thing that I think could possibly create a problem is if there was a special rule requiring the ballots to be "official" to be credited.

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13 hours ago, J. J. said:

The only thing that I think could possibly create a problem is if there was a special rule requiring the ballots to be "official" to be credited.

True.  Which is a good argument against such a rule.

Many organizations place (or rather misplace) a lot of faith in the process of printing and distributing "official" ballots to ensure election security.  I say misplace because the appropriate place to exercise scrupulous security is in the collection or casting of ballots.  If that is done, free distribution of blank papers or official ballots is not a problem.   A well organized and controlled polling place with membership lists that can be countersigned or initialed by voters before a vote is accepted, as well as insisting on the practice of folding each ballot twice before it is placed in the ballot box, can preclude the possibility of ballot "stuffing" ..

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