The process of board elections will take place between Sept. 30 (the close of the fiscal year) and Dec. 15. New board members must be announce to the membership no later than Dec. 15 and new board members will be seated the second week in January.
Members in good standing whose membership includes voting rights (qualified members) may vote in board elections.
COMMUNICATIONS GUIDELINES: BETWEEN CANDIDATES, THEIR SURROGATES AND VOTING MEMBERS
Communication During Campaigning
Should a candidate be contacted privately during Campaigning (Phase 2) regarding anything relevant to the election, the candidate is strongly encouraged to post the question and answer in the designated forum for the benefit of all members. Should relevant or material information be posted on unofficial or unapproved public forums, the Election Committee will be tasked with politely informing members of the need to comment in the approved forum and may also decide to copy and paste such information verbatim, including names and dates, to the approved forums. No prior approval from the poster(s) is required as they were made in a public forum.
In the spirit of complete transparency, any and all communications taking place specifically in the election forum can be shared with non-members in any forum.
Private Communications Initiated by a Candidate
Candidates may campaign directly with individual members at any time during the entire election cycle as long as they only contact members whose information they already have (i.e. no spamming members they do not know based on member information) and do not use resources available to board of directors.
The Organization recognizes that it cannot monitor private discussions. However, candidates must maintain the highest level of professionalism to prevent even the perception of impropriety as these exchanges could form the basis of a complaint:
- Never personally attack an individual member of the board or other candidate. However, factually questioning the performance or accomplishments of a candidate is appropriate.
- Never insult, threaten, or inappropriately induce anyone directly or indirectly to vote a certain way.
- Use common sense. Do not write something privately that you would not want to made public. If you are unsure about what you are writing or how the recipient will respond, then do not write it.
Candidates violating this policy may face disciplinary measures possibly leading to expulsion from the Organization, removal from candidate list, invalidation of the votes they received, or any other remedy approved by the Board.
In the extreme event that an election must be stopped or voided, the board may vote to accelerate the process for the new election and reduce the period between candidate nominations and the beginning of the voting period to a minimum of two (2) weeks. The voting period shall always be one (1) week.
PHASE 1 – CANDIDATE NOMINATIONS
The Treasurer and one other officer must validate that all members on the voting email listserv are members in good standing and have the right to vote during the voting period.
Candidates from the membership may nominate themselves, and board members may run for re-election if doing so would not conflict with the term limits stated in the Bylaws (no more than 2 consecutive terms).
Candidates who do not have the time or energy to devote to the board or properly fulfill their responsibilities should not apply. As a merit-based organization, the Organization board, committees and councils shall never excuse poor work ethic or performance on it being a volunteer organization.
Candidates must then have the following qualifications and agree to the following conditions:
- Have been a GMA member with voting rights and in good standing for at least three (3) months.
- Agree that meetings and all actions of the Board or any committee designated by the Board shall be held by means of email or any other electronic forum approved by the Board.
- Agrees that an email from any board member is considered a notice of a meeting.
- Candidates must further agree to read and respond to their Board communications in a timely manner.
- Agree to have results of the election published listing total votes per candidate.
- Maintain confidentiality of board activities and actions.
- Maintenance of confidentiality is not meant to reduce transparency but is required to enable board members to express themselves candidly and deal with difficult issues in a fair and unbiased manner without fear of repercussions. See BoD Governance document.
- Send email to Election Committee affirming they have read and agree to abide by the Governing Documents:
- Once elected, agree to join teleconference for training on the Governing Documents.
- Attendance is mandatory but especially important for any director for whom English is a second language.
- Over time and when stable, these documents will be translated to most popular languages.
- Agree to participate in all votes unless unable based on conditions set forth in the bylaws.
- Agree to take on one project per year for the benefit of members.
- Officers may be excluded from this requirement if their board duties prevents them from undertaking a project.
- Are not and may not be a sitting board member of a competing organization/corporation.
- Cannot be or be related to an “interested person” as defined in the bylaws.
Each open board seat requires the nomination of at least two (2) candidates. With 9 board members each elected for 3-year terms, there should always be a minimum of six (6) candidates required for each election*, **.
Candidate nomination period shall last two (2) weeks*. The president will send an email to the membership asking for nominations. Any sitting board member is encouraged to contact potential candidates privately to run for a board position. Any public communications regarding the election will be the sole responsibility of the President and does not require Board approval, though the President is encouraged to seek board feedback on any outgoing email to the membership.
Nominations are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
* If an insufficient number of candidates are nominated, the board may decide to extend the nomination period for up to another week, or may choose to continue to the next phase with the candidates on hand. Either of these options require a simple majority by the board. The candidate nomination period cannot exceed a total of three (3) weeks.
Formation and Responsibilities of the Election Committee
The Election Committee must include at least one board officer. Should a director decide not to run for reelection and therefore are not a candidate, then they may participate as a member of the Election Committee. The Election Committee shall be comprised of 3 non-candidate board members: The Chair shall be the ranking executive board member and the other two members shall be any other 2 board members.
Prior to the start of Phase 2, the Election Committee with the following responsibilities:
- Assist members with any issues related to casting their ballots.
- Ensure that all relevant information is moved or posted to the approved forum.
- Count votes (if not yet automated).
- Validate results. Validation of results requires all 3 members of the Election Committee to agree on final vote counts.
- Validating results of an automated voting system may require the board officer on the committee to contact a limited number of people to ensure the voting process is correctly capturing the results. No more than 10 people shall be contacted and the first two votes received after midnight in the officer’s time zone will be selected. Should a member refuse, then the next in time will be selected.
- Should there be unresolvable differences in the vote counts and if those differences are not material to the outcome, then the lowest numbers shall be reported.
- If the differences are material, then the Election Committee must immediately send a report to the Board as to how and why these differences have occurred.
- Present vote count received by each candidate, total ballots received, and membership participation percentage to the Board of Directors.
PHASE 2 – CAMPAIGN OPENS, CANDIDATE STATEMENTS AND MEMBER DISCUSSION
This phase will last exactly 2 weeks. Candidate that submit their campaign statements to the members more than 7 days after campaign opens will be disqualified as there is not enough time for members to ask questions and receive answers. In such a case, no alternate candidate will be selected, and all activities will proceed as normal. Ideas for a candidate’s yearly projects should be part of any statement.
The start of this phase will be announced by the president to the membership and all communications related to campaigning will be held in a single forum of the president’s choice.
Board members running for re-election are encouraged to list their accomplishments if no confidential Board matters are exposed. If there is any doubt, the board member may ask another board officer for a review prior to posting to the membership.
All members, including sitting board members, will be allowed to ask questions of the candidates if those questions are asked in a professional manner, are meant to enable all members to make an educated voting decision and do not divulge private Board business. The goal should always be to make sure that the most capable and dedicated candidates are elected to the Board. A board position is based on merit and not popularity.
General members may also ask any questions of the Board to provide clarity, get a better understanding of the candidate’s accomplishments, or ask for factual information (that is not considered confidential) regarding a board member running for re-election. The Board may decide to acknowledge such questions with a refusal to answer as long as an explanation is given as to why information is being withheld.
PHASE 3 – VOTING START
The president will email the membership informing them of the close of the campaign, and the start and end of the voting period. The president will also set the expectations as to when results will be validated and announced.
Voting will be open for exactly 2 weeks. Should less than 50% of qualified members vote, the period may be extended by a vote of the board.
During this period, no public communication directed at or regarding candidates will be allowed. Questions to the Board, voting clarification or any topic unrelated the board elections are allowed. though members and candidates may freely contact each other privately as long as those interactions follow the guidelines below.
Privacy of Individual Member’s Votes
The goal of the Organization is to eventually allow members to keep their votes private from any and all members of the board. However, until these automated processes are in place, the Election committee will have to tally votes by hand. Regardless of the voting method and in the case of verifiable discrepancies or needing to check the integrity of the automated voting system, the Election Committee may need to contact individual voters to ensure that their vote was correctly captured.
If the President is not running for re-election and not on the Election Committee, the President has the right to ask for status updates, inquire about total membership participation and up to the moment tally of results. Under no circumstance may any member of the Election Committee at any time (including after announcement of results) share the preferences/vote of any individual member with anyone outside this committee. Should there be any doubt in this case, always err on the side of privacy.
PHASE 4 – VOTING END, VOTE COUNT, VALIDATION OF RESULTS AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS
Of the total number of candidates (typically 6), the 3 with the highest number of votes will be seated to the board.
A ballot sent by a member will include some or all candidates in ranked order so that #1 is their top choice and #3 is their 3rd favorite choice. The top three candidates with the highest vote counts, regardless of order of preference, are elected to Board seats.
In the event of a tie for third place, the results for these two candidates will be recounted based on ranked order. So, if a candidate received mostly #3 votes and some #2 votes, then they will win over the other candidate who receives only #3 votes and no #2 votes.
Should misconduct, significant voting irregularities or material information surface at any time before the vote is validated, the Board may halt or void the election with a 2/3 majority of the board AND if the board agrees that the outcome would be changed or impacted. Once the vote has been validated, any such issues must be handled by the Board as part of the complaint process. The Board must act with the greatest of caution and clarity to ensure that the will of the membership is not thwarted or distorted.
The new Board is considered seated when the validated election results are communicated to the membership. In their communication to the membership, the President will provide the names of the winners, the vote count received by each candidate, total ballots received, and membership participation percentage to the Board of Directors. The membership total and percentage participation from previous 4 years should be provided as well.
PHASE 5 – OFFICER ELECTIONS
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the annual meeting of the board shall start within 2 days of the new board being seated at which time the president shall ask board members for their recommendations for the slate of officers. The president cannot comment until at least 2/3 of board members have stated their preference or after 3 days, whichever comes first. The President will then propose their recommended slate of officers, and the newest/returning board member who received the highest number of votes will propose their slate of officers based on the board’s feedback and/or their own judgment/preference.
The two slates are then put to a vote. The slate that receives a simple majority of the vote will become the returning/new officers of the board. As per Robert’s Rules of Order, a declared abstention from the vote, will be counted as a vote for the winning slate.
Once the new officers are announced to the membership, the Election Committee will be automatically be dissolved.
To be considered for an officer position, the director must have the following qualification:
- Shall have been a director of the Organization for two years.
- Candidates with previous non-profit board experience require a minimum of one year of service with the Organization.
- Have demonstrated support of the Organization’s mission, and an understanding of all Governing Documents related to the operation of the Organization.
PHASE 6 – TRAINING OF NEW DIRECTORS
All incoming new directors will need to attend a virtual/online conference meeting to be trained on all policies and rules of the organization. This meeting is mandatory and may be recorded for future reference. The meeting will be recorded and stored as part of the minutes of the organization. The President and Secretary must be present during the training and all other board members and officers are highly encouraged to attend or at least review the recorded meeting.
The President and Secretary will set a time and date that maximizes the availability of the incoming new directors first and then consider the availability of the other board members.
AMENDMENTS AND REVISIONS
This document may be amended by a simple majority of all directors then in office, and only in the period between the seating of new officers and the second to last Sunday in September (per the BoD Elections document). Such action is authorized only at a duly called and held meeting of the Board of Directors setting forth the proposed bylaw revisions with explanations and consequences the changes may have. All directors must attest that they understand the changes and the impact of those changes prior to their vote.
Any changes to this document must be noted, explained, and made available to the general membership within seven (7) days of the passing vote.
This document was last modified on Nov. 11, 2023.