Providing for the smooth transition of branch executive offices from year to year is an important and necessary function of the branch. To this end, the branch should have in place a Nominating Committee.
This committee should be appointed well in advance of the date of the elections. It is strongly suggested that the new branch executive be elected in branch elections to be scheduled during the second week of May. Be sure to check the topic of “Elections” in the by-laws of your branch and in the model branch by-laws.
The nominating committee should consist of a few experienced members (usually two or three) who are not themselves seeking election. Former presidents of your branch or others in an “elder statesperson” category are best qualified for this job. Many branches ask the immediate past president to serve as chairperson. This committee should meet for the discharge of its responsibilities independent of any general meeting or function of your branch.
The duty of a Nominating Committee is to ensure that there are nominees for all the offices of the organization that are to be filled by election. Every effort should be made to publicize the positions and to let members know that this is an opportunity to become a branch decision maker. The committee should not only seek out nominees who, in their opinion, are fitted for the various posts, but they should make certain: (a) that the nominees are qualified to stand for election under whatever by-laws your branch may have on this topic; and (b) that they are willing to stand for election. A Nominating Committee may put forward two or more names for a single office and thus precipitate an election. However, it is not necessary to do so. A single nominee for each position may be put forward. The committee should ensure, though, that all branch members are aware that the nominating procedure is taking place and have an opportunity to submit nominations. If any one gender group is under-represented on your current executive, encourage such qualified persons to consider nomination.
The Nominating Committee reports to the entire membership of the branch as per branch by-laws or policy, generally at the annual meeting of the branch. If a nominating committee submits one name in nomination for each elective office to be filled and there are no other nominations, the committee’s report may be simply adopted by majority vote of the members present and their nominees are then declared duly elected by acclamation to the respective offices.
Nominations from the Floor
When elections are carried out at a meeting of the branch, the presiding officer for this portion of the meeting should check with the branch by-laws and signify readiness to accept other nominations “from the floor”. (The chairperson for the elections would generally be the chairperson of the electoral committee. It must not be any individual who is running for branch office.) When such nomination is made, it must be established immediately whether the nominee is prepared to accept the nomination. Of course, when two or more nominations are made for a single office, either from the nominating committee or through additional nominations from the floor, an election must be held. In such cases, each nominee should be given a brief opportunity (2 – 3 minutes) to address the meeting.
In any election of officers by ballot, scrutineers of the ballot should be appointed. They have the sole right to open ballots and record the number of votes cast for each candidate. They report the result of the voting to the presiding officer but they need only report the candidate(s) elected, not necessarily the number of votes each candidate has received. The Canadian Teachers’ Federation booklet “Advice on the Conduct of Meetings” and the information relative to “How Are Nominations Made?” and “How Are Elections Conducted?” will be of interest.