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Guest JosephC12

How to amend electoral process when candidate dies

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Guest JosephC12
Is there a legal cite to support the electoral process employed below?  5 candidates, one deceased , 3 will be elected (one of the three by "declaration" of the board?)  How should the election have been conducted according to Robt's Rules?  Is there precedent?
 
 
"...As most of you are aware our community lost a beloved member and neighbor when ***** passed suddenly a week ago.  ***** was a sitting Director on our community board and was one of the five candidates running in the upcoming BOD election.  As ballots have already gone out and we are in the middle of our voting period, this board is faced with the decision of how to move forward while best honoring *****’s memory. After consulting our legal counsel on the appropriate path forward, we were advised this approach allows us to align with our bylaws and simultaneously allow *****’s friends and family to vote for him in memory, as he cannot be elected posthumously. The following guidance is being provided:

There will be no changes made to the current ballot. All five original candidates including *****’s name will remain on the ballot.  All ballots that have already been cast shall remain valid. All members who have yet to vote, will be afforded the opportunity to vote in-accordance with the timeline and processes previously announced (electronic, email, mail, phone or in person the night of election). On election night, all votes shall be tallied by Vote Now (our Holder of Election) and the top three candidates receiving most votes will be announced and elected for three year terms. Should ***** be one of the top three, he will be so recognized in memoriam but then the fourth candidate receiving the most votes shall be announced and elected to fill that three year term. 

The board feels that this is the best way to ensure fairness to all of our candidates and continuity within our election process while honoring our good friend and neighbor. "

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Agreeing with Mr. Huynh, a few things. First, the situation illustrates why it is a mistake for your organization to permit absentee ballots to be counted together with in-person ballots. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what guidance to offer there in this situation. Second, absent a bylaw provision, only those who have a majority should be elected.

4 hours ago, Guest JosephC12 said:
Is there a legal cite to support the electoral process employed below?  5 candidates, one deceased , 3 will be elected (one of the three by "declaration" of the board?)  How should the election have been conducted according to Robt's Rules?  Is there precedent?
 

We do not give legal advice here, we give parliamentary advice based on RONR. As for precedent, what your organization has done in the past is helpful so long as it does not conflict with your rules, but RONR is not like a legal system with common law.

4 hours ago, Guest JosephC12 said:
The board feels that this is the best way to ensure fairness to all of our candidates and continuity within our election process while honoring our good friend and neighbor. "

The board should not be attempting to control elections held by the membership.

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59 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

The board should not be attempting to control elections held by the membership.

Mr. Katz is quite correct.  Indeed, if the rules in RONR apply, the board cannot control elections held by the membership, and my be subject to discipline for taking action beyond their powers.  Of course your bylaws may differ.

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Guest JosephC12
10 hours ago, Hieu H. Huynh said:

First, unless your rules provide otherwise, a majority vote is required to be elected.

In this case how is  a majority defined...half plus one of ballots received?  Can you cite for me the pertinent section of RR's?

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2 hours ago, Guest JosephC12 said:

In this case how is  a majority defined...half plus one of ballots received?  Can you cite for me the pertinent section of RR's?

The procedure for ballot elections starts on page 439.

For elections with multiple positions, such as yours, look at page 441, lines 11-24. The first sentence defines the denominator for your situation:
"In an election of members of a board or committee in which votes are cast in one section of the ballot for multiple positions on the board or committee, every ballot with a vote for one or more candidates is counted as one vote cast, and a candidate must receive a majority of the total of such votes to be elected."

Please note that you may not have three candidates receive a majority of the votes cast on the first ballot. What provisions do you have if you need to conduct another ballot?

Also, Mr. Huynh noted that a majority is required to elect unless your rules say otherwise. Have you checked to see what your rules say, exactly?

Edited by Atul Kapur

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Agreeing with Dr. Kapur: As well as your organization's bylaws (which it would be helpful to provide a relevant excerpt of if you can), your organization might also be subject to procedural rules under state/federal law. As mentioned above by Mr. Katz, though, we can't advise you on interpreting the law, only that if there's a difference between the law and RONR, the law takes precedence.

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