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May rules about nominations be addressed in standing rules


Ben Montgomery
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My university organization has not specified a nomination process. By tradition, most nominations are communicated to the chair prior to meetings. Additional nominations are accepted from the floor prior to a vote. Both of these traditions seem acceptable according to our parliamentary authority (RROR 11th ed) but have not been formally adopted. With a recent move to electronic voting after meetings, a controversy arose when nominations were communicated to the chair after the nomination meeting but before the electronic poll opened.

To clarify, I would like to suggest a rule that specifies that nominations may be communicated to the chair prior to meetings or be accepted as nominations from the floor, but may not be made in the time window between the close of nominations and start of electronic voting. My question is where this rule should reside: special rules, bylaws, or standing rules. We don't currently have either special rules or standing rules to which we can add, but this could be a good place to start. My understanding is that because the rule being proposed doesn't contradict the parliamentary authority, it doesn't need to be in a special rule or bylaw. However, I know that general rules are supposed to be administrative in nature and am not sure whether nomination process is considered parliamentary in nature, such that this placement would be inappropriate.

Advice would be appreciated!

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On 9/15/2021 at 8:37 AM, Ben Montgomery said:

My university organization has not specified a nomination process. By tradition, most nominations are communicated to the chair prior to meetings. Additional nominations are accepted from the floor prior to a vote. Both of these traditions seem acceptable according to our parliamentary authority (RROR 11th ed) but have not been formally adopted. With a recent move to electronic voting after meetings, a controversy arose when nominations were communicated to the chair after the nomination meeting but before the electronic poll opened.

To clarify, I would like to suggest a rule that specifies that nominations may be communicated to the chair prior to meetings or be accepted as nominations from the floor, but may not be made in the time window between the close of nominations and start of electronic voting. My question is where this rule should reside: special rules, bylaws, or standing rules. We don't currently have either special rules or standing rules to which we can add, but this could be a good place to start. My understanding is that because the rule being proposed doesn't contradict the parliamentary authority, it doesn't need to be in a special rule or bylaw. However, I know that general rules are supposed to be administrative in nature and am not sure whether nomination process is considered parliamentary in nature, such that this placement would be inappropriate.

Advice would be appreciated!

The short answer to your question (in my opinion) is that rules prescribing the method of making nominations, if not in the bylaws, would be special rules of order.

You say that you do not currently have either special rules or standing rules to which you can add, but you also say that your "move to electronic voting" is of recent origin. This move must have been authorized by some provision in your bylaws. Wasn't this bylaw authorization supported by the adoption of special rules of order setting forth the details as to how this electronic voting is to be conducted? 

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Thanks for the feedback Dan. Our tradition has been to add everything to the bylaws, which is a slow and clunky process because they require approval of a provost, chancellor and board of trustees. Our adoption of electronic voting was added in cursory form to the bylaws without details in special rules. This circumstance has led to some confusion and controversies. It coincided with a recognition that we need a parliamentarian (now, me in training) to help processes move more smoothly, and it has been during my training that I've become aware an organization can have special and standing rules. Hence, my question about where best to add these details. I anticipate that we will work on more detailed rules for electronic voting, presumably in special rules.

 

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Yes, it sounds like you need to adopt Special Rules of Order (see 2:22 for the procedure).

Qualifications for office must be in the bylaws, but the procedure for conducting nominations and elections may be Special Rules of Order.  SROs would supersede any conflicting rules in RONR, but they may not conflict with any specific provisions in the bylaws.

Edited by Gary Novosielski
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