Announcing the number of votes for each candidate

A reminder to count every vote and announce it for non-profit organizations.

Many questions about parliamentary procedure are directed to Michigan State University Extension on a regular basis. Those individuals who help answer those questions often subscribe to resources to help keep their skills intact. A couple of resources are Jurassic Parliament and Robert’s Rules Online. Recently in the Jurassic Parliament newsletter, Ann Macfarlane wrote a piece called Publish your numbers when electing nonprofit officers. This was a great reminder of an often forgotten rule.

Ann reminds her readers that during many, if not most, non-profit elections, a ballot election takes place and it is then announced who was elected to which positions. She explains, “Be sure to include the numbers of votes cast for each individual in your announcement and minutes. This is necessary to affirm the integrity of the election and the tellers (people who count the votes). It is critical that members know that the votes were properly counted and that the election was valid. Publishing this information also informs the members and candidates about the views of the voters. Someone who came in a close second may be heartened to run again, whereas someone who garnered only a few votes may decide that it’s time to put his energies elsewhere (Jurassic Parliament Newsletter July 2016 Vol. IX, No. 7).”

RONR Eleventh ed., pages 417-418 describe the content of a tellers report. Once it appears that everyone has completed their ballot and the chair inquires, “Have all voted who wish to?” and if there is no response he says, “The polls are closed,” whereupon the tellers proceed to count the ballots.

In reporting the number of votes cast and the number necessary for election, all votes except blanks must be counted. Suppose the tellers find 100 ballot papers, four of which are blank. One contains two filled-out ones folded together, and 37 write-in votes are cast for a person who is ineligible because of having held the office as long as permitted by the constitution.

The tellers’ report should be in this form:

Number of votes cast…...............96

Necessary for election….............49

Mr. A received…..........................50

Mr. B received…...........................8

Illegal Votes

Mr. C (ineligible) received…........37

One ballot containing two for Mr. D, folded together, rejected as fraudulent….....1

The teller first named, standing, addresses the chair, reads the report and hands it to the chairman, and takes his seat, without saying who is elected. The chairman again reads the report of the tellers and declares who is elected.

The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. The MSU Extension Government and Public Policy team also offers professional training in parliamentary procedure.  

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