General Procedures for Voting at an AGM
In the event of there being more than one nominee for any Office-Bearer position (President, Vice-President Wiruna, Vice-President Crago, Secretary, Treasurer) or a surplus of nominees for the Ordinary Committee Member positions (five available), a vote must be held. This guide outlines procedures that the committee (current or future) may find useful.
RELEVANT CLAUSES IN THE Constitution
15. Election of Committee Members - how to nominate, what happens if too many or not enough nominations, a ballot being held at the AGM in a manner as the committee may direct, a nominee must be financial with voting rights.
24. Annual General Meetings - Calling of and Business at - including elections
30. Making of Decisions at a General Meeting - terms for show of hands/written ballot, recording decision, ballot being conducted in accordance with directions of the Chairperson.
32. Voting - voting entitlement, casting vote and, specifically, "All votes shall be given personally or by absentee, postal or electronic vote."
33. Absentee, postal or electronic voting - absentee to be received 24 hours before AGM, absentee voting form or facility available 14 days before AGM.
41. Service of Notices - basically, if members take Universe by email, notify by email and if they take Universe by post, notify by post.
GENERAL CONTENT OF NOTICE
Information sent to the members eligible to vote should state:
- Member's name and Member Number
- The time and date of the AGM
- The position(s) being contested
- Names of nominees for the position(s)
- How members may vote (in person, absentee by email, absentee by post, absentee anonymous by post)
- The deadline for absentee voting (24 hours before commencement of AGM)
- Voting conditions:
- Only Full financial members, Life (and Honorary) members are eligible to vote.
- Each voter may vote once only.
- Voting is not compulsory.
PROCEDURE FOR ABSENTEE VOTING
- An email may be sent to members who receive Universe by email, detailing the General Content as above and providing a space (e.g. box or table) where they may enter their vote(s) in the Reply Email. The email should be addressed FROM the Secretary so that replies go TO the Secretary, in accordance with Clause 33.
- The Secretary should print all the email votes received and bring them to the AGM.
- A letter may be sent to members who receive Universe by post with details similar to above, a voting form and a Stamped Return Envelope addressed to the Secretary.
- The Secretary should bring all votes received by post to the AGM, remembering NOT to open the ENVELOPES.
PROCEDURE FOR ANONYMOUS VOTING
As some members may wish to vote anonymously, this may be allowed for as follows:
In the case of an Emailed notice, the member may post their vote(s) to the Secretary.
- The voter's name and ID number (that appeared in the email) should be clearly written on the envelope, along with the words "Voting Papers to be opened by Returning Officer".
- The voting paper should be completed legibly with the voter's choice(s) of candidate(s).
- The voting paper should be folded so as to hide the voting information.
- The voting paper should not show the voter's name or ID number (may be a matter of printing just page 2 of the email and filling it in).
- Postage of the vote is at the voter's own expense.
In the case of a posted notice
- The voter's name and ID number need to be entered on the Stamped Return Envelope before being sent to the voter, along with the words "Voting Papers to be opened by Returning Officer".
- The voting paper is to be completed as in steps 2, 3 and 4 above.
- The ASNSW covers the postage, as fewer than a dozen members take Universe by post.
In the case of voting in person at the AGM
- The voter will be marked off the Voting List (details below) and issued with a voting paper.
- The voting paper is to be completed as in steps 2, 3 and 4 above.
- The folded voting paper should be handed to the Returning Officer.
PROCEDURES FOR AUTHENTICATING AND COUNTING VOTES
First, all votes need to be authenticated by the Returning Officer.
- The Membership Officer will supply to the Returning Officer a printed Voting List of all currently financial Full members and Life members.
- The Voting List will show first name, last name and the Internal Contact ID number that went out on the emails/Stamped Return Envelopes.
- The list may also show the Membership ID number (in the event of any confusion or ambiguity), though it should be clear which number is which.
- Each envelope and email vote will be marked off against the list, checking for the correct number matching to the name (authentication).
- In-person voters will, at this point, be already marked off the list.
- If any voter appears to have voted more than once, all their votes should be discarded.
- After marking off the list, anonymous votes may be removed from envelopes and emailed votes may have extraneous pages removed.
- Once all identifying information is fully separated from voting papers that were submitted as anonymous, the emailed, posted and in-person voting papers may all be unfolded and assembled into a single pile.
Second, invalid votes may be removed before counting. In the case of five Ordinary Committee Member positions being considered, validating may be: "Only voting papers with one to five names legibly written on separate lines in the table will be classed as valid."
Third, the votes must be counted by the Returning Officer. Note that the Returning Officer must not be a candidate for any position being voted upon.
- The number of votes for the first candidate should be tallied by going through the pile of votes, one at a time, and counting the votes that appear for that candidate. The total number of votes for that candidate should be recorded without delay.
- The number of votes for the second candidate should by similarly counted.
- ... and so on until all candidates' votes have been counted.
- The Returning Officer may enlist the help of one or more attendees at the AGM, provided that they are not candidates in the vote(s).
- The Returning Officer will report the result of the votes to the Chairperson.
- In the event of an equality of votes that prevents a decision being made, the Chairperson, at this point, may exercise a casting vote (Clause 32.(3)).
- The Chairperson will make an annoucement stating the name(s) of the successful candidate(s), and the balance of the vote (carried, carried unanimously, carried by a particular majority or lost - Clause 30.(2)).
- The result(s) will be recorded in the Minutes of the meeting.
SAMPLE NOTICE AND VOTING FORMS
Sample Letter info and voting at AGM (p3 is Voting Paper to be used on the night)
This guide was prepared by Lesa Moore, July 2019.