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Operating Member

368 Posts

Posted - 05/01/2007 :  22:24:24  Show Profile
The following explanation is my PrezSez article for the May newsletter. I am detailing the facts about why I was right to challenge the election. The bottom line was that with the lack of a list of valid ballot numbers there was absolutely no way to determine which of the original ballots needed to be voided when eight replacement ballots were given out. A recount would not have corrected the problem.

You are supposed to be receiving written notice in the newsletter one month in advance of a June 16th General Membership Meeting and a new election at Brentwood Library. If for some reason the newsletter doesn’t go out in time, we may have to reschedule the election for the next month. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Here's my article:
PrezSez – May 2007 – by Mary Phillips

What a Day!

ICON’s business meeting resumed when the Election Judges: Harold Hunton, Elsa Hazell, and Ray Carlson came in to report the results of the election. Technically it had been going on all the time the Election Judges were counting ballots. Results announced were: President, Terry Roberts; Vice President, Marion Garrett, Secretary (by one vote) Bill Patrick; Treasurer, Shirley Emerson; Education Committee Chair, Ed Williams; Newsletter Committee Chair, Faye Patrick; Program Chair, Nancy Preffitt; Membership Committee Chair, Maxine Copeland; and Web Committee Chair, Sarah Marshall.

Also reported were a number of irregularities that were discovered, such as, four types of ballots (including one that contained different candidates names for the offices, two types that had the candidates listed in different orders, and the fourth was the eight replacement ballots issued by the Secretary that morning. Adding to the voting confusion was the design of the ballot with more than one write-in box for each of three offices, and irregular spacing for one office causing a number of people to vote for both candidates.

The critical issue, however, was the fact that the Secretary could not provide the Election Judges with a list of the valid ballot numbers mailed to members, so that when replacement ballots were requested and given, the original numbers would be invalidated. This has been a requirement since ICON’s Bylaws were revised August 17, 1996.

“Article VI, Election of Officers, Section 4. If for any reason a member does not receive a ballot, the Secretary shall issue a new ballot to the member. The Secretary will then assign a new number to the member’s ballot and notify the Election Judges that the original number is no longer valid and must not be counted and that the reassigned number is valid.”

Then there was the fact that one person who had refrained from voting at the meeting brought up two sequentially numbered ballots that she received in the mail.

Incorrect election dates on the ballots was not a reason to invalidate the election as efforts had been made by several individuals to publicize the correct dates; however, lack of records of who received ballots and the numbers; and multiple ballots being sent to one or more individuals; made it necessary from a legal standpoint for me to challenge the election when the question was asked and repeated, “Does anyone want to challenge the election?

Some argument was presented that because the election officials were insisting that ICON’s Bylaws be followed, that the officers are trying to “run the organization like a big corporation” and “that isn’t the friendly image we want to portray. Following the Group’s Bylaws does not have a negative correlation to being a helpful, friendly, organized users group. Having guidelines just gives us confidence that we’re doing things in an orderly and fair fashion, that necessary actions aren’t being overlooked, and let’s us know what is expected of officers and members.

I’d also like to consider the statement made that some officers have been “ram-rodding” issues through in meetings. Is it ”ram-rodding” if at least seven out of nine officers, or four out of five are in agreement that a particular action is the right or wrong thing to do? After all, these are your elected representatives!

Finally, a motion was passed to have a new election for the office of Secretary as a difference of eight votes had some effect on that vote, but the difference in other races was more than eight. A second motion was passed that a new Election Committee that includes neither of the candidates make up and send out ballots for a New Election. Those appointed to the committee were Mary Stewart, Rhonda Winterhalter, and Penny Kubitschek. The New Election Committee met; and after consulting an attorney, brought to the Officers’ Meeting for approval their recommendations printed on page _ of this May 2007 newsletter. The recommendations which call for an entirely new election were unanimously approved, and following ICON’s Constitution, Article VIII, Meetings, Section 4, you are receiving written notice one month in advance of a June 16th General Membership Meeting and a new election at Brentwood Library.

ICON’s Constitution and Bylaws are available online at www.iconusersgroup.org. On the home page, go to the blue section on the left, click on the down arrow point to the right of About ICON, and then click on Constitution. The current constitution was approved October 21, 2006, and I have started a list of suggestions for fine tuning to be accomplished before next year’s election. If you have suggestions, please email them to me at mphillip1@sbcglobal.net.

As your President, I feel we should not take sides and become divided, but keep in mind that our common goal and purpose in this organization is to help each other and the community at large by sharing the computer knowledge and expertise we have. We can do that best by being involved in activities and supporting each other in a positive manner.


Operating Member

368 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2007 :  16:23:41  Show Profile
More facts: today, one person whose membership expired 2/1/07 informed me that he has not renewed his membership, but did receive a ballot. How many more "expired" members received ballots? This is another reason why a list of members who received ballots is necessary.

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