Nomination Procedures for Elections

Michael Taliercio
Michael Taliercio

If you are administering an election for your group or association, then you may have questions about how the nomination process works. Do you need to use an election committee? What are nominations from the floor? What about other methods of doing nominations? Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it may seem.

There are six different methods: (1) nominations by the chair, (2) nominations from the floor, (3) nominations by a committee, (4) nominations by ballot, (5) nominations by mail, and (6) nominations by petition. 

Nominations by the Chair is when the Chair selects candidate(s) for a position.  Typically, this method is not appropriate for elections, though it’s commonly used to select subcommittees.

Nominations by a committee are when a committee submits a slate of nominees. Typically, the committee will nominate a candidate for each office, and may have some guidelines (either in the bylaws or otherwise adopted by the organization) for how to select nominees.

Nominations from the floor are when the chair asks for nominees from the members at the meeting before the election voting begins. Any member can then make a nomination, and the chair should continue to allow members to make nominations until every member has had the opportunity to do so. If there are multiple positions open, then a member can nominate up to one person for each open position. However, a member cannot nominate more than one person for each open position in the election.

Nominations by ballot are when a ballot is circulated, and members write a person that they want to nominate for each open position.  The ballots are then collected and everyone that is listed in at least one nominating ballot is a nominee.  The election is then conducted using the nominees from the nominating ballot.

Nominations by mail are when a nominating ballot is mailed to members who then complete it and return it. Typically, nominations by mail are only used in organizations with widely disbursed membership.

Nominations by petition are when the Bylaws specify that a person is nominated upon the written request of a specified number of members. For example, some large organizations may require the signatures of ten members or fifty members to become a nominee. The document containing the requisite number of signatures is known as the nominating petition.

What method to use?

First, if your group has a section of the Bylaws (or an enacted rule) that dictates the nomination process, then use that method. If your group does not have anything dictating the nomination method, then a member can move to use any particular method. 

However, absent that nomination method being dictated via the bylaws, a rule, or a motion, for most organizations asking for nominations from the floor of the meeting is the method used. Why? Because it’s strait forward and requires minimal preparation.  Nothing needs to be mailed to the membership (as with nominations by mail), and no committee needs to be formed in advance. Of course, nominations from the floor may not be for some organizations. For example, if there are extensive requirements for the position that need to be vetted in advance, then usually that must be done well in advance of the election voting. 

If you have questions about elections, one of the attorneys at Law Firm Carolinas may be able to assist.