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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 20 August, 1997

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 20 August, 1997


If you have specific questions about parliamentary procedure, e-mail me at drvideo@comcast.net.
 

John Ditzel wrote:
 
Hello!

Could you direct me to someone that may be able to help with the following election quandary?  I've tried consulting the Rules, but the answer is not clear.
 
 Thank You Very Much!!!
 
 John Ditzel

 Here's the scenario-
 
 The office being voted for is "Member at Large".
 There are two "Member at Large" offices.
 Each ballot can vote for two, one or no candidates.
 The tally is by majority (>50%).
 
 The vote is as follows:
 
 ballot#

1 Bob    Cindy
2 Cindy  Sue
3 Cindy    [blank]
4 Bob    Sue
5 [blank] Bob
6 Sue    Cindy
7 Sue    Cindy
8 Cindy  Bob
9 Bob    Sue
10 Cindy  Sue


  
 Are there any winners? Why or why not?
 Is there a run off? Why or why not?
 How are blanks counted?
 

Dear John,

        With the information that you have given me, I count the following.  Cindy received  7 votes, Sue receive 6 votes, and Bob received 5 votes.  Ten ballots were cast but two ballots had blanks.  Since the blanks were in each column that means only 9 votes were cast.  So a majority vote is 5.

        As a teller this is how I handled it.

       Rule #1.  Blanks are not counted.  So  I counted down column #1 and came up with nine ballots cast.  I wrote down the names of each member voted for in column one.

        Bob received 3 votes
        Cindy received 4 votes
        Sue received 2 votes

        Then I tallied the votes in column #2.
        Cindy received 3 votes
        Sue received 4 votes
        Bob received 2 votes

        Since the members are electing two members.  The next step is to total the two columns together.

        Bob then receives 5 votes
        Cindy receives 7 votes
        Sue receives 6 votes

        All have enough to elect to the position.  However, in this case the teller committee would take the two receiving the most votes.  So that means Cindy and Sue are elected to be members at large.

        On page 409 of ROBERTS’ RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED, 1990 ED., it states:  “In recording the votes cast, the tellers ignore blank ballots and do not credit illegal votes to any candidate or choice.  All blanks must be ignored as scrap paper, since members who do not wish to vote may adopt this method of concealing the fact.”.....If a member leaves one or more of the choices blank on a ballot containing several questions or more than one office to be filled, the blank spaces in no way affect the validity of the spaces he has filled, and for each of these votes he should be given credit for one legal vote.”

        If you do not understand my reasoning, please let me know.

The Parliamentarian


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