Parliamentary Procedure for Officer Nominations and Elections
Nominations from the floor
As soon as the Chair opens nominations from the floor, any commissioner may bring forth a nomination. You should know beforehand if the person you wish to nominate is willing to serve.
General guidelines for nominations from the floor:
- The Chair does not need to recognize a commissioner placing a nomination.
- A commissioner may nominate herself or himself; it is not prohibited in the Commission’s bylaws.
- A nomination does not need a second.
- A commissioner can be nominated for more than one office.
- A commissioner can’t nominate more than one person for an office until everyone has had the opportunity to make nominations.
- Nominees do not have to leave the room during the nominations, when the vote is taken, or when the vote is counted.
- A commissioner can decline the nomination during the nominating process.
- After each nomination, the Chair shall repeat the name to the commission. For example, the Chair says:
Chair: Denise Sanchez, for Vice-Chair. Are there further nominations for Vice-Chair?
- A motion to close nominations is usually not necessary unless it is apparent that members are nominating people just to honor them, and that the nominees have no intention of serving.
- The Chair closes nominations when no further nominations come forward from the commission.
If at any time during the nominating process a commissioner realizes that she or he will be unable to serve if elected, the commissioner should request that her or his name be removed from nomination. Removing your name during the nomination process is better than waiting until after you are elected.
Close the Nominations
- Purpose: To close the nominations and take the vote immediately.
- Is not in order when another member has the floor.
- Needs a second.
- Not debatable.
- Requires a two-thirds vote.
- Can’t be reconsidered.
- Result: Nominations are closed and voting begins.
This motion requires a two-thirds vote because it takes away the members’ right to nominate. A two-thirds vote also protects the commission from an abuse of power from a temporary majority who would like to stop the nominating process. A member must make the motion to close the nominations when no one has the floor. A roll call vote is always taken for this motion.
Commissioner 1: Chair Medina, I move to close the nominations.
Commissioner 2: Second.
Chair: It is moved and seconded to close the nominations. Please say Yea or Nay when your name is called.
If the affirmative has the vote, the Chair states:
Chair: There is a two-thirds vote in the affirmative. The motion is carried and nominations are now closed. We will now take the vote for . . . [state the office].
If the negative has it, the Chair states:
Chair: There is less than a two-thirds vote in the affirmative. The motion is lost and nominations are still open. Are there further nominations?
The Chair continues with the nominations until members are ready to vote. After progress in the meeting, members can make the motion to close nominations again.
Reopen the Nominations
- Purpose: Reopen the nominations so others can be considered for office.
- Needs a second.
- Not debatable.
- Requires a majority vote.
- A negative vote can be reconsidered.
- Result: Commissioners can propose more nominees.
The time at which nominations are to be closed or reopened can be stated in the motion or added by amendment.
Because commissioners rights are not infringed upon by reopening the nominations, this motion requires only a majority vote, and a roll call vote is taken. To reopen the nominations, a member can make the motion when no one has the floor. The Commissioner states:
Member 1: Chair Medina, I move to reopen the nominations.
Member 2: I second it.
Chair: It is moved and seconded to reopen the nominations. Please say Yea or Nay when your name is called.
The Chair then announces the vote. If the ayes have it, the Chair says:
Chair: The ayes have it and the motion is carried. We will reopen the floor for nominations. Are there further nominations?
If the nays have it, the Chair says:
Chair: The nays have it and the motion is lost. Nominations are closed and we will take the vote.
Election by Roll Call Vote
Each commissioner shall state who she or he is voting for as the secretary calls the roll. The secretary records the vote and repeats it to make sure that it is accurate.
Undemocratic practices in the nomination and election process
Commissioners should be alert to some undemocratic political practices in organizations. One example occurs if a person is elected and then resigns, the office is considered vacant, and the Chair or Executive Committee fills it by appointment instead of having another election. Doing this may allow an unpopular or hand-picked candidate to get the office even though he or she was not elected.
The Music Commission bylaws state: A Vice-Chair and a Secretary shall be elected at the annual meeting in January by a majority vote of the Commission members present. The Chair may fill a vacancy in the office of the Secretary by appointment until the next regular meeting of the Commission.
Another problematic practice to watch out for is nominating someone for office who is not eligible. When nominations are taken from the floor, a good practice is to provide the members with an eligibility list so that they are not nominating people who will not be able to serve. When the administrator sends commissioners a notice about the nomination and election meeting, the notice can include a request that members who do not wish to be considered for office notify the administrator in writing. When the administrator prepares the eligibility list for the meeting, only those members who are willing to serve are on the list.
Other points about elections
Here are some other things to consider during the election process:
- A quorum needs to be present throughout the election meeting. If commissioners leave during the meeting so that a quorum is not present, those offices not yet elected must be put off until an adjourned meeting or until the next meeting.
- If a commissioner is elected and not present and has not previously said that if elected he or she will serve, someone should call the member to see if he or she will accept the office. If not, the members can vote again during that meeting for another candidate.
- If an elected candidate declines the office after he or she is elected and after the meeting has adjourned, another election needs to take place.
- A commissioner can’t make the motion to adjourn while the commission is occupied with taking a vote, verifying a vote, or announcing a vote.
- A majority of votes is required to elect an officer. The person who gets the most votes may not have a majority of the votes. In this case, the members must vote again until one candidate receives a majority vote.
- When presenting the nominations or taking the vote for a list of offices, the Chair should follow the order of offices that appears in the bylaws: Vice-Chair is elected first, then Secretary.
- If a commissioner has been nominated to more than one office and is elected to two offices, he or she can choose which office he or she wants. The assembly then votes again on the other office.
- If a commissioner is not present to choose which office he or she wants to serve, the commission votes on which office they want him or her to serve. Commissioners then vote on a candidate to fill the remaining office.
- If the commission adjourns before an election is complete, they should set the time for an adjourned meeting to finish the election. If they don’t set a time for an adjourned meeting, they can also finish the election at the next regular meeting.
- If commissioners are voting for offices that have staggered terms or that last more than a year, the secretary should include in the minutes when the term expires. The minutes may say, for example, “Nancy Martinez was elected as Secretary for three years. Her term expires January, 2022.”
Taking a recount
If commissioners question the validity of an election or the procedure in taking the vote, a commissioner should make a motion to recount the votes within a reasonably brief time after the Chair announces the election outcome. The motion to have a vote for a particular office recounted needs a second, is not debatable, and takes a majority vote to adopt.
After the person elected to office assumes the position, it is too late to nullify an illegal election. For this reason, commissioners should listen carefully to the election tally. If something doesn’t quite add up, a commissioner should question it during the meeting. If officers assume their duties immediately after the meeting is adjourned, it is then too late to question the election.