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Nominations and acceptance speeches


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In preparation for our organization to hold elections next week, I am familiarizing myself with the relevant provisions in our bylaws and RONR (12). 

There will be at least 2 candidates for one of the offices and I'm wondering about nominating speeches and acceptance speeches. I understand that nomination speeches (or seconding speeches) are addressed in 46.28, but I can't find any mention of an acceptance speech by the nominee. 

Specifically, may a nominee address the members to lay out their qualifications or share any other information they think is relevant? if yes, is there a specific section in RONR that I can review?

I understand that a speech must not include personal criticisms of any other candidate.

Thank you. 

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In the past, it was considered improper to "toot your own horn" in elections.  This was especially true of women, who were expected to feign surprise and a humble embarrassment for being nominated--sort of a "who me? little me? Oh, I could hardly..."  Candidates were expected to rely on others to carry on the debate.  Nowadays, people tolerate this kind of self-promotion much better.  I see no reason why a nominee should not illuminate the electors, himself, in much the same way as we all would do at a job interview.

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As to the other part of your question, I don't believe that RONR addresses the issue of acceptance speeches. You could look at it as a case where, once the results of an election have been finalized, the implied motion "that [blank] be elected" has also been carried out to completion, and therefore no further discussion on the matter is in order. However, RONR does say that an election becomes final only if the winner does not decline (46:46), so an acceptance is actually a key part of the election process.

For an acceptance speech that goes beyond simply accepting the office or position, I think the assembly could grant that, preferably by unanimous consent, as a form of the motion Request for any other Privilege

 

Edited by Bruce Lages
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10 hours ago, T B Devine said:

There will be at least 2 candidates for one of the offices and I'm wondering about nominating speeches and acceptance speeches. I understand that nomination speeches (or seconding speeches) are addressed in 46.28, but I can't find any mention of an acceptance speech by the nominee. 

RONR does not specifically refer to "acceptance speeches" for a nominee accepting a nomination. There is no reason, however, that a nominee could not be one of the persons to make a seconding speech, assuming the nominee is a member of the assembly.

10 hours ago, T B Devine said:

Specifically, may a nominee address the members to lay out their qualifications or share any other information they think is relevant?

Yes, this seems extremely appropriate, and indeed would seem to be the most logical thing to talk about in such circumstances.

10 hours ago, T B Devine said:

if yes, is there a specific section in RONR that I can review?

The only section specific to debate on nominations is RONR (12th ed.) 46:27-29.

This section does not say too much on what exactly may be said in debate on nominations, but it does provide the following:

"The member may then nominate a candidate and, without waiting for the chair to state the nomination, speak in favor of the candidate, or he or she may speak in favor of a candidate who was nominated previously. If candidates are members of the organization, speakers must exercise caution to avoid making any personal criticisms of them in debate. Rather than attacking a nominee, a speaker may advocate the election of a rival candidate." RONR (12th ed.) 46:28

Beyond this, "A nomination is, in effect, a proposal to fill the blank in an assumed motion “that  be elected” to the specified position." RONR (12th ed.) 46:1

Therefore, it would seem that the rules pertaining to debate on motions generally are equally applicable to debate on elections (except where otherwise provided). These rules are discussed in Section 43 of RONR. Among other things, these rules provide that "In debate a member’s remarks must be germane to the question before the assembly—that is, his statements must have bearing on whether the immediately pending motion should be adopted (see also Principles Governing the Debatability of Motions, 43:35–40)." RONR (12th ed.) 43:20

It would seem to me that for a nominee to "address the members to lay out their qualifications or share any other information they think is relevant" is absolutely germane to the question of which nominee should be elected to the office, which is the question before the assembly.

It should also be noted that if an assembly desires for a different format for debate in elections, the assembly is free to adopt its own rules on this matter.

"Some organizations adopt rules specifying that debate on nominations be conducted at a different time or in a different manner. Such a rule might, for example, allot each candidate (or his or her designee) equal time to state the candidate’s credentials and to argue for the candidate’s election." RONR (12th ed.) 46:29

9 minutes ago, Bruce Lages said:

As to the other part of your question, I don't believe that RONR addresses the issue of acceptance speeches. You could look at it as a case where, once the results of an election have been finalized, the implied motion "that [blank] be elected" has also been carried out to completion, and therefore no further discussion on the matter is in order. However, RONR does say that an election becomes final only if the winner does not decline (46:46), so an acceptance is actually a key part of the election process.

For an acceptance speech that goes beyond simply accepting the office or position, I think the assembly could grant that, preferably by unanimous consent, as a form of the motion Request for any other Privilege

I was under the impression that the "acceptance speech" the OP was referring to was regarding a member making a speech accepting the nomination. Nonetheless, if there is also a desire for the winning candidate to give a speech accepting the election, I agree with this analysis.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Thank you to everyone for your responses. To clarify, I was specifically asking about a speech to accept the nomination rather than to accept an office upon election.

Josh Martin, I find your analysis of Section 43 to be compelling. Thank you. 

After a more thorough reading of our bylaws, I believe there is a provision that could allow for a speech/acceptance of a nomination. 

Section 2. Nominations. ... Additional nominations may be made from the floor, provided the consent of the nominee shall first have been obtained.

While the assembly could assume consent of the nominee since the person is being nominated, I see no reason why the nominee can't assure the assembly of their consent and to share their qualifications for the office. Am I on the right track here?

The members will have to adopt a motion to determine the manner of conducting the vote as in 46.31. So if anyone wants to move for a different format for debate, there will be opportunity to do so. Of course, an opportunity can always be made via motion. :-)

I have another related question. One of the nominees is the presiding officer/chair. I assume based on 43.29, that the PO would have to vacate the chair if they wished to also give a "consenting" speech. They may not resume the chair until the pending question has been disposed of.   At what point is the "pending question" disposed of and the PO able to resume the chair? Is it the election of all the offices or only the election of the office for which the PO is nominated? Could the answer depend on the decision of the manner in which to conduct the vote, i.e., whether we have a single ballot for all offices or an individual ballot for each office(46.31)?

Thank you for your help with this. We've not had a contested election in the 7 years I've been a member. We want to make sure the process is fair and everyone is heard. 

TD

Edited by T B Devine
typo
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47 minutes ago, T B Devine said:

After a more thorough reading of our bylaws, I believe there is a provision that could allow for a speech/acceptance of a nomination. 

Section 2. Nominations. ... Additional nominations may be made from the floor, provided the consent of the nominee shall first have been obtained.

While the assembly could assume consent of the nominee since the person is being nominated, I see no reason why the nominee can't assure the assembly of their consent and to share their qualifications for the office. Am I on the right track here?

I don't think this provision in the bylaws necessarily grants the nominee a specific right to make a speech to "assure the assembly of their consent and to share their qualifications for the office," since the consent of the nominee could be obtained through other means. Indeed, the rule seems to presume the consent is obtained through other means, since the way the rule is written suggests the consent is obtained prior to the making of the nomination.

It is irrelevant, however, since RONR already permits members (all members) to speak in debate. As I have previously noted "RONR does not specifically refer to "acceptance speeches" for a nominee accepting a nomination. There is no reason, however, that a nominee could not be one of the persons to make a seconding speech, assuming the nominee is a member of the assembly."

The rule in question certainly does not seem to prohibit a nominee from making a speech to "assure the assembly of their consent and to share their qualifications for the office," and therefore, this is permitted, since it is permitted in RONR.

47 minutes ago, T B Devine said:

One of the nominees is the presiding officer/chair. I assume based on 43.29, that the PO would have to vacate the chair if they wished to also give a "consenting" speech. They may not resume the chair until the pending question has been disposed of.

Yes, this is correct.

47 minutes ago, T B Devine said:

At what point is the "pending question" disposed of and the PO able to resume the chair? Is it the election of all the offices or only the election of the office for which the PO is nominated? Could the answer depend on the decision of the manner in which to conduct the vote, i.e., whether we have a single ballot for all offices or an individual ballot for each office(46.31)?

The pending question for the purposes of this rule is the election of the office for which the presiding officer is nominated, not the election of all offices. The election of the office for which the presiding officer is nominated is not disposed of until the final vote on it has been taken and the result is announced.

If a single ballot is held for the election of all offices, however, this may well effectively mean that the presiding officer will not end up relinquishing the chair until all elections have been completed.

Edited by Josh Martin
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On 1/10/2021 at 1:57 AM, T B Devine said:

In preparation for our organization to hold elections next week, I am familiarizing myself with the relevant provisions in our bylaws and RONR (12). 

There will be at least 2 candidates for one of the offices and I'm wondering about nominating speeches and acceptance speeches. I understand that nomination speeches (or seconding speeches) are addressed in 46.28, but I can't find any mention of an acceptance speech by the nominee. 

Specifically, may a nominee address the members to lay out their qualifications or share any other information they think is relevant? if yes, is there a specific section in RONR that I can review?

I understand that a speech must not include personal criticisms of any other candidate.

Thank you. 

An acceptance speech is something that happens at political conventions, by the person who has already won a majority vote. After the balloting is done, a delegation is sent to inform the winner, who then comes to the convention to accept the "Nomination" but that's not what happens in an ordinary society.  The winner of the election does not win a nomination, but rather wins the office.  An acceptance speech would not be appropriate until such time as it would be theoretically possible to decline the office.

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