Voting Procedure Guidelines at General Meetings
(adopted by the Committee on 22 September 2011)
1. These guidelines are intended to apply to all formal votes taken at General Meetings of the Society. As they are only guidelines, they are intended to be used flexibly, but where circumstances arise for which the procedures described below are not followed, the reasoning should be explained to the meeting and recorded in the minutes for future reference.
2. Formal votes are required for the election of officers, other committee posts and honorary members, as well as for the approval of minutes, the setting of membership fees and peal fees, the adoption of the accounts, amendments to the constitution and the dissolution of the Society. It is also normal for officers’ reports to be subject to a formal vote of approval and this is generally done in bulk after all the reports have been made.
3. Examples of informal votes that may be taken at a General Meeting, to which these guidelines need not necessarily apply, include agreeing dates for tours and events, whether to enter a striking competition, which pub to go to, etc. Any of these could be turned into a formal vote if a formal proposal is made (and seconded) at the meeting.
4. With the exception of the Chairperson, only full members attending the meeting in person are entitled to vote.
5. Honorary members and non-members are not entitled to vote.
6. The Chairperson may only vote so as to resolve a tied vote.
7. For proposals to amend the constitution or to dissolve the Society, a two thirds majority of those present and eligible to vote is required.
8. For all other votes, a proposal is considered passed if the number of votes in favour of the proposal exceeds the number of votes against (ignoring any abstentions or spoilt ballot papers).
Procedures for all Formal Votes other than the Election of Officers, Other Committee Members and Honorary Members
9. Any proposals made must be seconded before a formal vote can take place.
10. Once seconded, the vote should be conducted by a show of hands, the count of which should be declared to the meeting and entered in the minutes. In practice, it is normally sufficient for the minutes to state that the proposal was “passed unanimously” or “passed with 3 votes against and 2 abstentions”, etc. However, where a vote is close, the actual numbers voting both for and against should be recorded.
Procedures for the Election of Officers and Other Committee Members
11. All nominations must be seconded before a formal vote can take place.
12. In general, votes for the election of officers and other committee members should normally be conducted by a show of hands. However, should someone propose that an election be conducted by secret ballot, and this is seconded, then an ordinary vote (by show of hands) should be taken to determine the method to be used.
13. A proposal from the floor to vote by secret ballot may be made for an individual election, or for any number of elections. However, such a proposal must be made before any election to which it applies has taken place by other means.
14. Where multiple candidates have been nominated for a single post, only one vote per member is allowed, and the winning candidate is the person with the highest number of votes.
15. Where there is more than one position for the same role (e.g. Vice-Presidents, Trustees and Ordinary Committee Members), each member has as many votes as there are positions, but may only vote for any particular candidate once. The winning candidates are those who receive the highest number of votes up to the maximum number of positions available.
16. There is no constitutional requirement to record the number of votes for or against.
Procedures for the Election of Honorary Members
17. All proposals for honorary membership shall have been previously approved by the Committee.
18. Each proposal shall be considered and voted on separately and should normally be conducted by a show of hands. Should someone propose that an election be conducted by secret ballot, then the same procedures as for the election of officers and other committee members should be followed.