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Election was invalidated by the board


Guest Cynthia C
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This is a huge mess. Small dog club recently used an e-vote site for board member election. The president, treasurer and vice president all had access to the site. The VP was running for reelection as were two directors. The VP set up the information for the site.  There were several issues.

  • She did not put the VP candidates in alphabetic order for the initial ballot. The first ballot was deleted and a corrected ballot sent.
  •  At the request of the President and Treasurer, the VP allow a member to access his wife's ballot. The wife had recently passed away
  • There have been accusations of additional tampering - unproven
     

The board invalidated just the portion of the ballot for the vice president. The portion of the ballot for directors was accepted.

It seems like the entire ballot should have been invalidated if there was suspected tampering. The board officers should not have been involved with the balloting at all, IMO.

Should the entire ballot have been invalidated if there were suspicions of tampering?

 

 

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The first question is if your bylaws specifically permit absentee voting (which using an e-vote site would be)?  If they don't then you can't do it (RONR pp. 423-424).  Also, under what authority does the Board think it can invalidate the election (or even a part of it)?  

As for whether the entire ballot should have been thrown out due to a suspicion of tampering...that would be up to the members to determine.  Personally I would probably vote to toss it if I had questions about how secure our votes were.  However,  as you can tell by my profile picture I am more of a cat person so I doubt I would be a member of a dog club and so my vote wouldn't be worth much.  :D

Edited by Chris Harrison
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Let me see if I have this right. An election is conducted via email and three current officers have access to the returned ballots, potentially modify them at will, one dead person emits a ballot, and there is some question as to whether this election process is secure and reflects the will of the members of the assembly?

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42 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

Let me see if I have this right. An election is conducted via email and three current officers have access to the returned ballots, potentially modify them at will, one dead person emits a ballot, and there is some question as to whether this election process is secure and reflects the will of the members of the assembly?

No, not via email. Via an e-balloting site. Voting electronically is a part of the bylaws but, IMO, the BOD violated the bylaws by having board members involved in the process to begin with.  From the bylaws "If the election is done by electronic balloting it must be conducted by an independent firm that specializes in electronic balloting in accordance with state law and AKC policy." 

 

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11 hours ago, Guest Cynthia C said:

No, not via email. Via an e-balloting site. Voting electronically is a part of the bylaws but, IMO, the BOD violated the bylaws by having board members involved in the process to begin with.  From the bylaws "If the election is done by electronic balloting it must be conducted by an independent firm that specializes in electronic balloting in accordance with state law and AKC policy." 

Yes, I agree that if the bylaws require that “If the election is done by electronic balloting it must be conducted by an independent firm that specializes in electronic balloting in accordance with state law and AKC policy,” and this is not done, this is sufficient grounds to invalidate the election. Only the membership (not the board) has the authority to make that decision, however, unless your organization’s rules provide otherwise.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Well, as Gary Novosielski and I both asked how does the Board think it has the authority to invalidate the election in the first place?  Is there something in the bylaws granting them that authority?  Just because the Board took it upon themselves to do so doesn't mean they actually have the power to make it stick.

Edited by Chris Harrison
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14 minutes ago, J. J. said:

Page 251, b, c, and possibly e. 

The bylaws may grant the board the authority to invalidate the election. 

Thank you. No, the bylaws do not grant the board the authority to invalidate the election. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Guest Cynthia C said:

Thank you. No, the bylaws do not grant the board the authority to invalidate the election. 

 

Then , in that case, the board does not have the authority to invalidate the election unless the bylaws grant the board the exclusive authority to manage the affairs of the organization. I doubt that your board has that much authority.

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18 hours ago, Guest Cynthia C said:

I would like help finding passages from RROO for invalidating an election. Can someone help me with this?

See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 444-446.

17 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

Then , in that case, the board does not have the authority to invalidate the election unless the bylaws grant the board the exclusive authority to manage the affairs of the organization. I doubt that your board has that much authority.

I am skeptical that this even this would be sufficient.

“Because the voting body itself is the ultimate judge of election disputes, only that body has the authority to resolve them in the absence of a bylaw or special rule of order that specifically grants another body that authority. Thus, for example, when an election has been conducted at a membership meeting or in a convention of delegates, an executive board, even one that is given full power and authority over the society's affairs between meetings of the body that conducted the election, may not entertain a point of order challenging, or direct a recount concerning, the announced election result. While an election dispute is immediately pending before the voting body, however, it may vote to refer the dispute to a committee or board to which it delegates power to resolve the dispute.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 444)

I grant that the language above does not involve a situation in which the board is given exclusive authority over the society’s affairs, but even in such a case, it seems to me that the membership retains control over its affairs in those areas that the bylaws specify (such as electing its officers), and that the authority to elect officers includes the authority to be “the ultimate judge of election disputes,” as discussed above.

Edited by Josh Martin
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8 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

. . . I grant that the language above does not involve a situation in which the board is given exclusive authority over the society’s affairs, but even in such a case, it seems to me that the membership retains control over its affairs in those areas that the bylaws specify (such as electing its officers), and that the authority to elect officers includes the authority to be “the ultimate judge of election disputes,” as discussed above.

You make a very good point and I was thinking about that very thing as I made my post. I do not know the answer to it, but it seems to me that there can be situations where the board would have that authority. An example might be where the voting is conducted by mail and it is the board which collects and tabulates and announces the result and the membership does nothing but send in the mail ballots. The board, rather than the membership, would actually be conducting the election.

Edited by Richard Brown
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On 6/7/2019 at 8:56 PM, Richard Brown said:

You make a very good point and I was thinking about that very thing as I made my post. I do not know the answer to it, but it seems to me that there can be situations where the board would have that authority. An example might be where the voting is conducted by mail and it is the board which collects and tabulates and announces the result and the membership does nothing but send in the mail ballots. The board, rather than the membership, would actually be conducting the election.

If the membership is the voting body, it is the membership’s election, notwithstanding that the membership can (and often does) delegate many aspects of the elections to the society’s board, officers, committees, or some combination thereof. Delegating certain matters (such as sending, collecting, and tabulating the ballots) does not necessarily mean other matters (such as ruling on questions of order concerning the election) are similarly delegated.

I would also note that in this particular society, it seems the society has specifically adopted rules in its bylaws providing that such matters as sending, collecting and tabulating the ballots are to be conducted by an independent firm.

Edited by Josh Martin
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