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Mail in ballot election


celia

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We have a mail in ballot allready sent out.This is our first year to do it this way.A member of the board had a lawyer write us a letter siting a by law that says you must attend the annual meeting the previous year in order to vote in this election. 14 people were at that annual meeting. We have 250 member families total.

No member has ever been notified that they must attend the annual meeting in order to vote.

And in all past elections anyone that was a member was allowed to vote.In spite of that by law.

The lawyer did not have that information.

At our May board meeting we agreed that we would count the upcoming June meeting as our previous year required meeting and count the votes then. This is really a mess. Now some members have put in the newspaper that ballots will be handed out at that meeting and nominations will be accepted from the floor.How can this possibly give us a fair election? 80 Mail in ballots have allready been returned.

Everyone who is eligable to vote has allready recieved a ballot by mail. Who do they think is intitled to vote again?

How can I answer them with there rediculouse idea? The annual meeting is tomorrow.

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We have a mail in ballot allready sent out.This is our first year to do it this way....

I'm going to skip the rest of your information for the moment, as much of it seems related to your bylaws rather than to RONR.

Do your bylaws actually provide for voting by mail? If not (and assuming the organization has adopted RONR as its parliamentary authority), voting by mail is not allowed.

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The first question is if the bylaws specifically allow mail in ballots? If they don't you can't use them in the first place (RONR pp. 408-409).

The second question is if the bylaws actually say you have to have attended the previous annual meeting in order to vote in the election? If they don't the lawyer is blowing smoke (unless there is some applicable law or superior rule that says otherwise).

The third question is if the bylaws grant the Board the authority to specify which meeting is the annual meeting (usually the bylaws say which meeting is the annual meeting)?

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No member has ever been notified that they must attend the annual meeting in order to vote.

And in all past elections anyone that was a member was allowed to vote.In spite of that by law.

The lawyer did not have that information.

The fact that the Bylaws have been violated in the past is no reason to continue violating them. The Bylaws trump the organization's custom. (RONR, 10th ed., pg. 17, lines 7-15) If the organization disagrees with the rule it should amend the Bylaws to remove it. (RONR, 10th ed., pgs. 573-580)

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I'm going to skip the rest of your information for the moment, as much of it seems related to your bylaws rather than to RONR.

Do your bylaws actually provide for voting by mail? If not (and assuming the organization has adopted RONR as its parliamentary authority), voting by mail is not allowed.

Yes our by laws do allow for mail out ballots. The by law were changed just this year for this election.We have adopted RONR.

So since all ballots have been mailed out to all eligible members can there be any nominations from the floor at the annual meeting or can other ballots be handed out? This in my opinion would not be fair to those who have allready returned there ballots.And besides every one that is intitled to a ballot has allready been mailed one. We have recieved 80 back allready.

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I'm going to skip the rest of your information for the moment, as much of it seems related to your bylaws rather than to RONR.

Do your bylaws actually provide for voting by mail? If not (and assuming the organization has adopted RONR as its parliamentary authority), voting by mail is not allowed.

Yes we do have mail in ballot as the means for voting. The by laws were changed just this year. This is our first time to do elections by mai.

In reference to my original posting, is it not illegal to have additional ballots handed out and nomination from the floor at the annual meeting if we have allready mailed out ballots to all members that are eligable to vote? 80 have allready been returned.

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Yes we do have mail in ballot as the means for voting. The by laws were changed just this year. This is our first time to do elections by mai.

In reference to my original posting, is it not illegal to have additional ballots handed out and nomination from the floor at the annual meeting if we have allready mailed out ballots to all members that are eligable to vote? 80 have allready been returned.

It would be if they voted twice, once by mail and once in person.

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Yes we do have mail in ballot as the means for voting. The by laws were changed just this year. This is our first time to do elections by mai.

In reference to my original posting, is it not illegal to have additional ballots handed out and nomination from the floor at the annual meeting if we have allready mailed out ballots to all members that are eligable to vote? 80 have allready been returned.

If your bylaws allow voting by mail, the bylaws should specify all the associated details. RONR does strongly advise that mailed-in votes should never be combined with in-person votes at a meeting:

'An organization should never adopt a bylaw permitting a question to be decided by a voting procedure in which the votes of persons who attend a meeting are counted together with ballots mailed in by absentees.' (RONR p. 409 ll. 4-7). The subsequent sentences on the same page go on to explain why it is such a bad idea.

However, although this is a strong recommendation in RONR, it is not a rule in itself -- so, if your organization has indeed adopted a bylaw that allows such a mixture of absentee and in-person votes, you need to figure out how to handle the associated problems.

The requirement for having attended the previous annual meeting in order to be able to vote at all (do your bylaws, in fact, say that?) is a separate issue. As Mr. Martin pointed out, if the organization has violated the bylaws for years, that is no justification for continuing to do so, once the violation is pointed out.

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If your bylaws allow voting by mail, the bylaws should specify all the associated details. RONR does strongly advise that mailed-in votes should never be combined with in-person votes at a meeting:

'An organization should never adopt a bylaw permitting a question to be decided by a voting procedure in which the votes of persons who attend a meeting are counted together with ballots mailed in by absentees.' (RONR p. 409 ll. 4-7). The subsequent sentences on the same page go on to explain why it is such a bad idea.

There can be mixing if the question is put first, or there is a method for getting candidates names on the ballot first, in this case. The members, instead of mailing in the ballot, deposit them at the ballot box at the meeting. You basically run into problems if the motion becomes pending at the meeting, after some ballots are cast.

Still, there is the potential problem, as you and Mr. Martin noted, of a lot of ballots going out to people not entitled to vote. That is the crux of the issue.

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