Insights Blog

By QLK Team
on Nov 12, 2018
  • Blog
Electing New Board Members

After completing the nomination process for a board candidate, elections can take place via ballot or voice vote (which is known as viva voce). Although voice votes are faster than ballot votes, they do have their drawbacks – because the votes take place in order of nomination, this may lend a sense of "favoritism," while ballot votes allow for freer expression. Roll call votes are used when members are accountable to a constituency; as the secretary calls each person's name, they announce their vote.

In cases of multiple elected offices being voted upon, ballot votes can be taken at the conclusion of each office's nominations (which allows members who lose one race to vie for another) or at the conclusion of all offices' nominations, which is faster. With ballot votes, write-ins are acceptable. The ballots can be collected either at a meeting or during a specified polling period, and someone should be accountable for verifying voters' credentials and keeping track of who has voted.

When ballot votes are counted, blank votes and votes cast by illegal voters do not count at all. Illegal votes count toward the number of total votes cast, but not for particular candidates; these may include votes that are illegible, votes for a fictional character or ineligible candidate, multiple marked ballots folded together, and votes for more choices than positions to be elected. On a multipart ballot, if part is left blank, the entered votes still count.

Ballots should be retained for the length of the specified recount period, and then destroyed. If a recount is desired, a motion must be made for such. As with all motions, this requires a second, is not debatable, and takes a majority vote to pass. When the elected person assumes their position, it is too late to question/rescind their election unless there is a provision in the bylaws or unless it is determined that they do not meet the eligibility requirements.

During the election, there are other points of procedure that should be followed:

  • the presiding officer votes along with all of the other members, but is never allowed to cast a tie-breaker in a ballot vote (ballot counters also cast their ballots with the assembly);
  • a quorum must be present throughout the election meeting;
  • a member cannot make the motion to adjourn while the assembly is taking a vote, verifying a vote, or announcing a vote, except when the vote is by ballot, in which case the meeting can be adjourned after the ballot counters have collected all of the ballots;
  • if there is a question about the way a ballot is marked, the assembly as a whole decides what to do with the vote;
  • if there are too many ballots cast for the number of members present (and it does not affect the outcome of the vote), the election is still valid (as the extra ballot may have come from someone present who did not sign in to the meeting);
  • if a person is elected and then resigns, their office must be filled by another election, not by appointment.

Elections are decided by majority vote (unless bylaws state otherwise). It is important to note that there is a difference between someone receiving the most votes and receiving the majority of votes; balloting must continue until there is a majority vote, meaning that one candidate receives more than half the votes.

Related Article:

Nominating New Board Members