Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Creating an Election Process the Community Can Trust

Anne Spaeth developed a proposal for the Chestbut Hill Community Association elections due this spring (should the board ever get its act together and end its witch hunts). We are posting it so the community has an opportunity to review her ideas and present comments to their elected officials (the directors).It reads as follows:

I sent the following to the Board, the Community Manager and Administrative Coordinator, and the Interim Editor this morning (Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006). I hope we can approve them at the Board meeting on Thursday.

"Because of the difficulties our Board has experienced this year, and the
resulting pressures under which the staff has been forced to work, I am
proposing adoption of the following Election Procedures in the hope that it
will ameliorate the situation and lessen concerns on the part of any party
or parties that there might be bias involved."


The date, time, and location of the Annual Meeting shall be determined by the Board and published prominently in the Local and on our website (chestnuthill.org ) as soon as possible .

The site of the Annual meeting shall be in Chestnut Hill, at a place easily accessed by all. The Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, The Chestnut Hill Methodist Church, The Ascension Lutheran Church, St Paul’s Episcopal Church, fit these requirements, as well as the Watertower does, and have adequate space to accommodate all those who might wish to attend.

Only members of the Chestnut Hill Community Association can run for election.

Nomination forms will be printed in the Local beginning in March. All nominations must be received by March 23rd, the date of the last Board Meeting prior to the Annual Meeting . The list of nominees will be published in the following week’s Local of March 30th. Candidates’ individual pictures and statements will be published in the following week’s Local of April 6th together with a copy of the ballot containing any motions to be voted on at the meeting. All issues to be voted upon must be included on this ballot.

The Community Manager and the Administrative Coordinator shall verify that the nominee and those four other individuals supporting the nominee are all members of the Association.

There will be three copies of the membership list in the CHCA office. The mater copy will not leave the office. There will be a sign-out sheet so that individuals may take out the second and third copies for short periods of time to be copied elsewhere. Those individuals taking the list out to copy must sign the sign-out sheet with the time they take it out and must sign it back in with the time it is returned. If the membership list is lost by the individual signing it out, or not returned promptly, the individual will be so identified and must replace the list.

Neither candidates for office, or others may use CHCA office staff, telephone, stationery, machinery, office space or materials for campaign purposes. Neither may any officers use the Association logo on stationery of their own, or use their CHCA titles when signing a letter to constituents relating to the election.

Campaign ads are permitted provide they are marked “Advertisement”. Neither CHCA logonor titles may be used in the advertisement.

The Vice President of the Operational Division will name the Judges of Electionsubject to the approval of the Board.

The Judges of Election should be individuals without any actual or perceived conflict of interest regarding the outcome of the voting. Therefore the Judges should not be members of the board, officers or employees of the CHCA. The Judges should be members of the community who have an assuredly neutral position. Examples would be the ministers of the Churches mentioned or other churches in Chestnut Hill such as the Friends Meeting or the Baptist Church.

A Judge of Election shall draw names for position on the ballot and names will appear on the ballot in the order drawn. Any issues to be voted on must be clearly identified and included on this same ballot. No other issues may bebrought up for a vote at the Annual Meeting.

All voting will be by written, secret ballot as specified in the Bylaws (Article IV,B.1.c.), and either mailed to the address specified by the Judges of Election or delivered in person at the Annual Meeting.

Mailed ballots must be mailed or delivered to an address to be determined by the Judges of Election, which will not be the that of the CHCA office, that of any Board member, committee member or employee of the CHCA.

Ballots must be in the same form as those printed in the Local. Those in the Local may be xeroxed.

The deadline for receiving ballots, regardless of postmark, is the close of the Annual Meeting when the Judges of Election will ask for any remaining ballots brought to the Meeting to be put into the Ballot Box before leaving the meeting. Any ballots received after that by hand or mail will not be acceptable.

The ballots are placed in boxes under the supervision of the Judges of Election. Following the meeting these boxes are taken by the Judges of Election to a location decided upon by the Judges and stored there, under their security, until the time for counting starts, probably the next day or on Saturday morning. Ballots that were mailed will be held at the same location under the care of the Judges of Election. A suitable place would be any of the locations mentioned above, or a similarly neutral site determined
by them.

“Any Member of the Association who is a Member on the day of the Annual Meeting or who was a member during the preceding calendar year may vote in the election.” (Article IV, B.1.c.)

The Judges will be responsible for supervising and validating the counting of all votes.

The Vice President of The Operational Division will appoint a group to assist the judges in that task of verifying the ballots and of counting the votes together with the Community Manager.

No envelopes will be opened until the counting process starts. This process will be open to all who wish to attend. One envelope is opened by one of the Judges, the name read out by the Judge, and verified to be a member able to vote by the Secretary of the CHCA, who will have a list of the current membership of the CHCA. There will possibly be some names that are hard to read, and in such cases that name will be confirmed by the other Judges of Election. If the name is not able to be read well enough to make it possible to determine whether such a person is a member, the ballot is placed in a pile of “challenged ballots.” There may be some names that do not appear on the current membership list, either because the list is incorrect or the person is in fact not a member or because the individual may have joined only that day. All such ballots will be put aside in that separate pile, and will not be counted at that time. They will not be discarded. They will be kept separate. There may names which the Secretary believes to be the names of current members, but those in attendance believe are not members. The reason for challenging the legitimate membership of such a persons must be stated by the person challenging the ballot and considered a reasonable cause for challenge by two of the three judges in order for the objection to constitute grounds for placing the ballot in the “challenged pile.” If a person(s) in attendance is apparently trying to disrupt the counting process by challenging without cause the judges have the right and the responsibility to have the person removed from the counting room. Thus, it will not be possible for those in attendance to challenge arbitrarily.

All challenged ballots will be kept separate and will not be counted until later The decision as to whether a challenge has been resolved will be made by the three Judges of Election.

If the Secretary confirms that the name on the ballot matches with a name on the membership list the name will be read out as legitimate and the ballot passed to the other two Judges.

The Judge initially opening the ballots is responsible for keeping a tally of every ballot opened, so that an accurate count of the total number of ballots counted will be one outcome of the election.

The other Judges keep a tally of the instructions on the ballot. A list of all candidates and ballot questions on the ballot will have been prepared prior to the counting. This list will be a virtual duplicate of the ballot itself. Each Judge will have such a list. The second Judge examines the ballot, and marks his/her tally according to the votes listed on the ballot including the names of all those who have received votes to be elected. The ballot is then passed to the third Judge who keeps an independent tally himself/herself of the voting. The envelopes will be opened in random order.

After all the envelopes have been opened the first Judge announces the total tally of those voting. The Second and the Third judges count the number of votes for each candidate and each ballot issue on their tallies. If they agree they record that number as the number of unchallenged votes. If the numbers disagree the First Judge reviews the ballots with the other two Judges to find where the recording error was made. When there is agreement then that number is recorded as the final count of unchallenged votes for that candidate or ballot issue.

The notice of the election results will be posted on the CHCA door at 8434 Germantown Avenue .and will include the number of validated ballots tallied, the names of the candidates with the number of votes each received, in that order,the number votes received on each issue to be voted on by the membership, and the number of ballots declared invalid.

The Local will publish this notice, in the same form, in the following week’s issue of the Local.

All ballots, including those disqualified, will be saved for thirty days and will be available in the CHCA office for examination during that time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can contributions be sent to help pay for campaign materials for the Second Opinion Caucus?

Wed Feb 22, 09:47:00 AM EST  

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