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Nominations for office

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Guest Carl

Hello my name is Carl. I'm looking for some help with an issue with my volunteer fire company. Last month the we had nominations for office such as president. Two names are on the ballot. The by-laws of the company say if a person chooses to remove their name it must be completed seven days prior to the election meeting. One of the men requested his name removed from the ballot about six days after nominations. About five days ago the man requested his name be placed back on the ballot. Is this legal? The by-laws are very loose and doesn't say one can't do that, however is there a section in Roberts Rules saying a person can,t be placed back on the ballot? 

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It is ultimately up to your own organization to interpret its bylaws.  We cannot do that for you.   RONR does not expressly provide for the situation you describe. 

Question:  How many days prior to the election meeting did the candidate ask that his name be put back on the ballot? 

Note:  Per RONR, and unless your bylaws prohibit write in candidates, this person could still be elected by virtue of write in votes even if his name is not on the ballot.

Knowing the exact language in your bylaws about withdrawing and any other applicable rules for conducting the election might be helpful. 

Edited to add:  Depending on your bylaws and special rules of order, it might be possible to re-open the nominations prior to voting at the election and for this member to be again nominated.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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43 minutes ago, Guest Carl said:

Hello my name is Carl. I'm looking for some help with an issue with my volunteer fire company. Last month the we had nominations for office such as president. Two names are on the ballot. The by-laws of the company say if a person chooses to remove their name it must be completed seven days prior to the election meeting. One of the men requested his name removed from the ballot about six days after nominations. About five days ago the man requested his name be placed back on the ballot. Is this legal? The by-laws are very loose and doesn't say one can't do that, however is there a section in Roberts Rules saying a person can,t be placed back on the ballot? 

RONR has no rule which says a person can’t be placed back on the ballot, however, it also has no rule regarding removing people from the ballot in the first place, so it seems to me that whether a person who has been properly removed from the ballot under the rule in the bylaws may be placed back on the ballot (and if so, under what circumstances) is a question of interpreting the organization’s own rules.

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Guest Carl

 

Below is a clip out of our by laws. Very loose!! 
ANY MEMBER THAT HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR ONE OR MORE OFFICES AND WISHES TO REMOVE HIS/HER NAME AS A NOMINEE FROM ONE OR ALL OF THE OFFICES MUST NOTIFY THE SECRETARY NO LATER  THAN SEVEN (7) DAYS PRIOR TO THE DAY OF ELECTIONS OF COMPANY OFFICERS.
I am sorry for the limited information. My thought was once the nominations are closed at the meeting no one should be allowed to be placed back on. We do not allow write in votes. Thanks for the help so far.

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56 minutes ago, Guest Carl said:

We do not allow write in votes. Thanks for the help so far.

Do your bylaws actually prohibit write-in votes?  A special rule of order?  Or is it just a custom?

Edited to add:  As to re-opening nominations, unless you have a rule to the contrary, RONR provides that nominations may be re-opened by a majority vote at any time  prior to the time voting begins.

 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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Guest Carl, how are your nominees selected in the first place?  Do your bylaws or rules say what you do it a nominee withdraws?  Do you then take nominations from the floor?  Does a nominating committee meet again to try to come up with a nominee for that office? 

RONR is clear that the floor must be opened for nominations at some point prior to the elections for nominations from the floor unless your rules prohibit it.  RONR, page 435.   Even if your rules prohibit it, such a rule appears to me to be in the nature of a rule of order and could therefore be suspended by a two thirds vote. It depends largely on the exact wording of the rule and your rules for nominations.

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18 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

We do not allow write in votes.

What rule is this statement based on?

18 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

My thought was once the nominations are closed at the meeting no one should be allowed to be placed back on.

I think this is one reasonable interpretation. I could also see reasonable arguments that:

-Because nothing in the rule prohibits members from being placed “back on” the ballot, that they may do so at any time.

-That members may be placed “back on” the ballot if they notify the Secretary of this no later than seven days prior to the election, which would make the rule symmetrical with the rule about being removed from the ballot.

As previously noted, RONR has no answer to this question, so it will ultimately be up to the society to interpret the rule.

Seeing the text of the rule regarding closing nominations may be helpful in interpreting this rule.

Edited by Josh Martin

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I dunno, this seems easy to me:

8 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

The by-laws of the company say if a person chooses to remove their name it must be completed seven days prior to the election meeting. One of the men requested his name removed from the ballot about six days after nominations.

Okay, so, according to your bylaws, his name stays on since the request was late.

8 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

About five days ago the man requested his name be placed back on the ballot.

Well, it seems to me this was a redundant request since his name should have stayed on, but sure, it can be put back on since it should never have come off.

8 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

Is this legal?

We can't help with that, only with parliamentary procedure.

 

8 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

is there a section in Roberts Rules saying a person can,t be placed back on the ballot? 

No, but there's also nothing allowing a person to be removed in the first place.

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9 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

The by-laws of the company say if a person chooses to remove their name it must be completed seven days prior to the election meeting. One of the men requested his name removed from the ballot about six days after nominations.

 

1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

Okay, so, according to your bylaws, his name stays on since the request was late

 

9 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

About five days ago the man requested his name be placed back on the ballot. Is this legal?

 

1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

Well, it seems to me this was a redundant request since his name should have stayed on, but sure, it can be put back on since it should never have come off

Joshua, I think you mis-read what Guest Carl said.  He did not say the request to remove the name from the ballot was made six days before the election.  He said the request was made six days AFTER NOMINATIONS.  He actually didn't say how long prior to the election this was, but I'm assuming it was at least six days prior to the election. 

Note:  This post is a replacement for the one I deleted above that got screwed up somehow.

Edited by Richard Brown
Corrected number of days

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24 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

Joshua, I think you mis-read what Guest Carl said.  He did not say the request to remove the name from the ballot was made six days before the election.  He said the request was made six days AFTER NOMINATIONS.  He actually didn't say how long prior to the election this was, but I'm assuming it was at least six days prior to the election. 

 

Ah, so I did. I agree with the other answers, in that case.

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Guest Carl

Wow system over load for me! Lots of great information. To clarify the man took his name off the ballot about six days after he was nominated. He requested his name back on the ballot before the seven day mark as our bylaws are written. 

My thoughts are with most of you guys. I would think if he wants back on the ballot to bad so sad. Several members are not happy with the name back on the ballot. I'm afraid this will get ugly at the meeting tomorrow evening. 

Ethically the man should not request his name back on. Also the president should of said no as well. 

Just so I understand, what are you guys suggesting if you had to make the choice to let him back on the ballot? Yes or No? 

 

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I do not think the replies you have received are saying "too bad, so sad".

It is up to your organization to interpret it's own rules. The Meeting could be asked whether to allow a candidate back onto the ballot (without saying who it is).

As for my opinion, I would allow this person back on the ballot. This is because RONR leans towards allowing as many candidates as possible (putting it another way: giving the meeting the greatest freedom of choice of who they want to elect). It does this by (a) requiring there to be a period of nominations from the floor; and (b) allowing for write-in votes. So in line with that approach, I would let this person back onto the ballot.

By the way, you said earlier that you don't allow write-in votes. RONR says that write-in's can only be disallowed by the bylaws, and I don't see that prohibition in your bylaws.

Edited by Atul Kapur

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I agree with Atul Kapur’s comments above. I don’t think that any of us who have responded are saying “too bad, so sad.“  I might add that I have asked the original poster whether his bylaws specifically prohibit write in candidates but he has not responded.

 

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Guest Carl, different ones of us have asked you questions about your bylaws and procedure but you have ignored those questions. If you want good advice from us, I suggest that you answer our questions. There is a reason we are asking them. They have a bearing on our answers.

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Guest Carl

Richard, sorry for my lack of responses. 

Our bylaws do not allow write in, or absent T votes. 

Nominations happen at the November meeting. The President opens the floor and asked the members for any names for the office of Chief for example. He will ask three times. During that time any member can shout a name. The name is written on the dry erase board. Once nominations are completed the President asked for a motion to close, with 2nd etc etc.  

A member can shout a name even if that person is not at the meeting. If that person is at the meeting they can decline the nomination. After the meeting the by laws say any person can remove their name from any position in writing to the secretary, however only until the seven days prior to the December meeting. 

The main issue is the man who sent a text to the secretary advising to remove his name from three positions, then sent another text days later requesting his name be placed back on president only.

I reviewed the above responses. Please let me know if I missed a question. 

Thanks for the responses. 

 

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1 hour ago, Guest Carl said:

My thoughts are with most of you guys. I would think if he wants back on the ballot to bad so sad. Several members are not happy with the name back on the ballot. I'm afraid this will get ugly at the meeting tomorrow evening. 

Ethically the man should not request his name back on. Also the president should of said no as well. 

Just so I understand, what are you guys suggesting if you had to make the choice to let him back on the ballot? Yes or No? 

I don’t think I have enough information to give an informed opinion. At a minimum, I am inclined to think I would need to see the exact wording of the rules regarding making nominations and write-in votes

I certainly do not agree with this “too bad, so sad” attitude or that it was “unethical” for the member to make the request, but I reserve judgment at this time as to whether the request should have been granted under the organization’s rules.

I would also note that, even if the correct interpretation of the rule is that the person may not be placed “back on” the ballot simply by requesting to do so, this does not necessarily mean that nominations cannot be reopened to allow for members to nominate this person again, or that write-in votes cast for this person are not valid.

28 minutes ago, Guest Carl said:

Our bylaws do not allow write in, or absent T votes. 

Yes, you keep saying this, but what is the exact wording of the rule you are basing this position on?

RONR does allow write-in votes. Therefore, your bylaws do not need to affirmatively allow for these votes in order for them to be permitted. On the contrary, such votes are allowed unless the bylaws provide otherwise. Similarly, nominations may be reopened unless your rules provide otherwise.

“Strictly speaking, nominations are not necessary when an election is by ballot or roll call, since each member is free to vote for any eligible person, whether he has been nominated or not. In most societies, however, it is impractical to proceed to an election without first making nominations. While members are always free to "write in," on a ballot, the name of an eligible person who has not been nominated, or to vote for an eligible non-nominee during a roll-call vote, under normal conditions it is likely that most members will confine their choice to the nominees.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 430-431)

”Votes can be cast for any person who is eligible for election, even if he has not been nominated.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 439)

”When for any reason it is desired to reopen nominations, this can be done by a majority vote.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 289)

I agree that absentee votes are not permitted, but I am not sure what that has to do with the present situation.

28 minutes ago, Guest Carl said:

Nominations happen at the November meeting. The President opens the floor and asked the members for any names for the office of Chief for example. He will ask three times. During that time any member can shout a name. The name is written on the dry erase board. Once nominations are completed the President asked for a motion to close, with 2nd etc etc.  

A member can shout a name even if that person is not at the meeting. If that person is at the meeting they can decline the nominations.

Are these procedures merely customary, or are they specified in the organization’s bylaws? If the latter, what is the exact wording of these rules? In particular, is there anything which, explicitly or implicitly, states that nominations may not be reopened at a later time, or that votes for persons who have not been nominated (write-in votes) are not permitted?

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Carl

I copied and pasted the by laws below. I hope this helps. I am still learning Roberts Rules of Order. I discover something new everyday. The paragraph in red is in ref to someone removing their name. 

Hope this helps 

 

NOMINATIONS TO FILL THE ELECTED OFFICES OF THE COMPANY SHALL

BE MADE DURING THE REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING OF THE MEMBERSHIP

ON THE FIRST WEDNESDAY OF NOVEMBER OF EACH CALENDAR YEAR.

 

2. THE PRESIDENT SHALL OPEN THE FLOOR TO NOMINATIONS FOR THE

OFFICES DURING THE MEETING AND WILL CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR

EACH OFFICE THREE (3) TIMES. AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE THIRD CALL

FOR NOMINATIONS, THE PRESIDENT SHALL CLOSE THE FLOOR

TO NOMINATIONS AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ORDER OF BUSINESS.

 

A. AFTER THIS MEETING A COMMITTEE WILL VERIFY THAT ALL MEMBERS

NOMINATED FOR OFFICE ARE ELIGIBLE TO HOLD THE OFFICE FOR

WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN NOMINATED. SAID COMMITTEE WILL CONSIST

OF THE PRESIDENT OR HIS DESIGNATE TO VERIFY ALL ADMINISTRATIVE

NOMINATIONS AND THE CHIEF OR HIS DESIGNATE TO VERIFY ALL LINE  

OFFICER NOMINATIONS.

 

B. ANY MEMBER THAT HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR ONE OR MORE OFFICES

AND WISHES TO REMOVE HIS/HER NAME AS A NOMINEE FROM ONE OR  

ALL OF THE OFFICES MUST NOTIFY THE SECRETARY NO LATER THAN

SEVEN (7) DAYS PRIOR TO THE DAY OF ELECTIONS OF COMPANY

OFFICERS.

 

ELECTIONS

 

THE ELECTION OF COMPANY OFFICERS SHALL BE HELD DURING DECEMBER’S

REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING OF THE MEMBERSHIP EACH CALENDAR YEAR.  

THE POLLS SHALL BE OPENED FROM 11:30 HOURS UNTIL 13:00 HOURS DURING  

THE DAY OF ELECTIONS AND REOPENED FROM 18:00 HOURS UNTIL 19:30

HOURS DURING THE EVENING OF ELECTIONS. IN THE EVENT OF A TIE IN ANY

OFFICE, A “RUNOFF ELECTION” WILL BE HELD THE FOLLOWING WEEK. THE

POLL HOURS WOULD BE THE SAME FOR SAID ELECTION.

 

2. THE ELECTION SHALL BE BY SECRET BALLOT AND THE CANDIDATE

RECEIVING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES SHALL BE DECLARED DULY

ELECTED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AS NOTED IN  

ARTICLE II SECTION I PARAGRAPH “1” SUBPARAGRAPH “A” OF THESE BYLAWS.

 

3. SHOULD AN OFFICE BECOME VACANT ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE SIDE OF

ELECTED COMPANY OFFICERS DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR, THE PRESIDENT

SHALL WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS CALL A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE

MEMBERSHIP DURING WHICH HE SHALL OFFER FORTH TO THE MEMBERSHIP

HIS RECOMMENDATION TO FILL THE VACANT SEAT. THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO  

THIS WOULD BE IF THE VACANCY IS FOR A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF

DIRECTORS SERVING A TWO (2) YEAR TERM. IN THIS INSTANCE THE VACANCY

WOULD BE FILLED BY A CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTOR MEMBER WITH A ONE

YEAR TERM. SHOULD THE RECOMMENDATION BE REJECTED, THE

MEMBERSHIP SHALL FILL THE VACANCY BY A MAJORITY VOTE FROM THE

RECOMMENDATIONS BROUGHT FORTH FROM THE FLOOR.

 

4. NO “WRITE-IN” CANDIDATES OR ABSENTEE BALLOTS, SHALL BE ACCEPTED 

OR COUNTED ON THE BALLOTS DURING THE ELECTION OF COMPANY

OFFICERS.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Guest Carl said:

I copied and pasted the by laws below. I hope this helps. I am still learning Roberts Rules of Order. I discover something new everyday. The paragraph in red is in ref to someone removing their name. 

Thank you. Reading these rules in their full context is helpful. Based on these additional facts, I agree that these rules, taken together, certainly prohibit write-in votes, and effectively prohibit reopening nominations, at least at the time of the annual meeting. This certainly raises the stakes, since it means that, if the assembly determines that a candidate who has voluntarily withdrawn from the ballot cannot be placed back on the ballot, this means that the assembly will not be able to elect that candidate.

I would first note that since this question is based almost entirely on the organization’s own rules, it is ultimately up to the organization to decide the answer to it. Additionally, in the long run, it would be prudent to amend the bylaws to clarify the rules on this matter, so that there is no ambiguity.

My own view of it is that a member who has been properly nominated and subsequently requested to be removed from the ballot should be permitted to be placed back on the ballot, provided that the member notifies the Secretary of this no later than seven days prior to the election. It seems to me that the purpose of this rule is to grant the Secretary sufficient time to prepare the ballots, and possibly also to inform members of the final list of candidates prior to the meeting (although it is not clear whether this is done). In my view, if a member was properly nominated at the November meeting, it makes no difference whether he is requesting to be removed from the ballot or to be placed back on it, so long as sufficient notice is provided. In either case, the purpose of the rule is satisfied.

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Guest Carl

 Josh,

Thank you so much for the information. Currently I have submitted three additions to the by laws. 

I agree with your professional opinion in this matter. 

Also thank you to all the other guys in this forum. I can update you on the results after tomorrow night. 

Carl

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