by Eli Mina

By Eli Mina, M.Sc.

Democratically governed organizations usually nominate and elect their leaders once a year, under the relevant articles in their governing documents (e.g.: Bylaws). Some Bylaws stipulate that leaders are elected at the annual meeting (which offers the advantage of hearing candidates’ statements and asking them questions before voting), while others stipulate elections by mail ballot (with the advantage of giving members who miss the annual meeting an opportunity to cast their votes).

The script below assumes an election at the annual meeting, with prior nominations made by a Nominating Committee and by petitions, and additional nominations made from the floor at the meeting. It also assumes that Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, etc.) are elected by the Directors after the annual meeting.

This script must be modified if it conflicts with your Bylaws.

Presiding Officer:
Next on the agenda is the election of directors. For your information, our Bylaws stipulate that the members elect the directors at the annual meeting, and the directors elect the Officers from among themselves at the first Board meeting after the annual meeting.

Under our Bylaws, our Board is composed of 11 directors, with 6 elected in even numbered years and 5 elected in odd numbered years. This year, 2005, five directors are to be elected for a two-year term each. To be elected as a Director, an individual must be a member of the organization in good standing.

I would now ask the Nominating Committee to report on the nominations process.

The nominating Committee reports the names of 5 individuals that it nominated. The Committee also explains how it searched for nominees and what qualities it was looking for in the candidates. It then reports that 3 additional nominations were made by member petitions, as permitted under the Bylaws.

Presiding Officer:
I would like to thank the Nominating Committee for its work. The next step is for staff to hand out the election ballots. Before this is done, I need to remind the members to not mark the ballots until I’ve explained the balloting process.

In order to receive your ballot, please show your voting card as evidence that you are eligible to vote. Please do not pass your ballot to anyone else, because proxy voting is not permitted. Only you are entitled to cast your own vote.

Wait while ballots are handed out.

Have all those with voting cards received their ballots? Thank you. Again, please do not mark your ballots until I announce that it’s time to vote.

Your ballots show the names of 8 nominees, and have spaces for additional nominations from the floor. For your information, our Bylaws are silent on whether nominations from the floor are permitted, but our parliamentary authority, Robert’s Rules of Order, permit them. Are there any nominations from the floor for the position of director?

Take nominations from the floor. Check whether each nominee is eligible to serve as a director. Then ask the nominee whether he or she will serve if elected. If yes, ask the members to add the name to the list on the ballot. You should also consider having a flip chart or a blackboard or whiteboard to display the names of nominees in front of the group. This will clarify the spelling of names.

Are there any further nominations from the floor for the position of director?

There being no further nominations, I declare nominations closed.

Note: There is no requirement in Robert's Rules of Order to call for nominations three times. All the Chair is required to do is make sure that the members have a reasonable opportunity to nominate, and that the process is not rushed.

Presiding Officer:
With the two nominations from the floor, you should now have 10 names on your ballot for the 5 openings on the Board. Please do not mark your ballots yet. Our next step is to hear the candidates’ speeches. Under our rules, candidate speeches are limited to two minutes each. I will now invite ______ to speak.

Introduce the candidates in sequence. Monitor the clock and advise speakers when their time is about to run out. Make sure each nominee is treated equally. Some organizations allow a question period after all speeches ended. If you do so, you may want to set a time limit on the question period, e.g.: 15 minutes.

Presiding Officer:
Thank you. The candidates have spoken, and it is now time to explain the voting process. Each member is entitled to vote for up to 5 nominees. You may vote for less than 5 (1, 2, 3 or 4), but not more than 5. If you vote for 6 or more candidates, your ballot will be invalidated.

You may mark the box next to the candidate’s name with an X, a V, or another sign, as long as your voting intention is clear. When you finish voting, please go to the ballot boxes in the back of the room, where your name will be checked and your ballot will be collected. If it is difficult for you to walk, let us know and a staff member with a ballot box will come to you. But please do not give your ballot to someone else to deposit on your behalf. Proxy voting is prohibited.

Are the voting instructions clear? Are there any questions? Thank you. Please go ahead and mark your ballots with no more than five names.

Note: Some organizations ask staff to collect the ballots while members remain seated. Although this method takes less time, it does not provide for verification of the identity of the voter. In a tight election, this practice may prove to be problematic.

Presiding Officer:
I have the results of the election. The votes are as follows:

Total number of ballots cast
Necessary for election
Spoiled ballots
Rob Smith received
Tina Short received
Sonia Goldstein received

27 votes
35 votes
25 votes

The following individuals were elected to the Board for a two-year term:

(Announce names)

Congratulations to our new leaders.

Note: Under Robert’s Rules of Order, the number of votes that a person must receive to be elected is a majority of the ballots cast, i.e.: more than half. However, many Bylaws specify a “plurality” election, whereby the candidates receiving the largest number of votes are elected.

Presiding Officer:
Is there a motion that the ballots be retained for 30 days, and that the Secretary be authorized to destroy them on December 15, 2005? Is there a second?

Is there any discussion on this motion?

If not, we will vote on the motion that the ballots be retained for 30 days, and that the Secretary be authorized to destroy them on December 15, 2005. Those in favor of this motion please raise your hands. Thank you. Those opposed please raise your hands. Thank you. The motion is adopted.

This concludes the election of directors. The next item of business is ___.




Information about Eli Mina:

Eli Mina, M.Sc., PRP, is a Vancouver (Canada) based management consultant, executive coach, and Registered Parliamentarian. In business since 1984, Eli consults his clients on board effectiveness, chairing contentious meetings, preventing and dealing with disputes and dysfunctions, demystifying the rules of order, and minute taking standards. Eli's clients come from municipal government, school boards, regulatory bodies, credit unions, colleges and universities, native communities, businesses, and the non-profit sector.

Eli is the author of the newly published "101 Boardroom Problems and How to Solve Them." He is also the author of several other books and publications on meetings, shared decision-making and minute taking (see Eli Mina's Books at ). Eli can be reached at 604-730-0377 or via e-mail at


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