One of the critical roles given to a PTA’s general membership is the election of its officers, a process that begins with the election of the nominating committee by the general membership. Nominating and electing a good slate of officers is essential for a PTA’s success.
Nominations and Elections Timeline
Because the nomination and election of officers is a central part of how a PTA operates, most of the information you need on how your PTA conducts this process will be in your local PTA bylaws. Article VI—Officers and Their Election contains most of the details.
To determine when nominations and elections need to occur for your PTA, you have to work backwards from the election date. Section 2b of Article VI says when the election of officers is to be conducted. For most PTAs, this is the last PTA meeting of the school year. Once you know the date your PTA will be conducting the election, Section 4b of Article VI states that the nominating committee must report the slate at least 30 days prior to the election meeting. Because you will want to give the nominating committee time to do their work in determining a slate of candidates, you will need to elect the nominating committee a month or two prior to when the committee needs to make its report.
So for a PTA holding an election at their May general membership meeting, the nominating committee will need to make their report in April. That means that PTAs should be electing their nominating committee in February or March at the latest.
Section 3 of Article VI states that the nominating committee is to be elected, and Section 4 spells out how big the committee is and where its members are elected from. PTAs are encouraged to have their nominating committee made up of an odd number of people so that the committee is less likely to have a tie when voting between multiple candidates for the slate.
In general, a PTA’s executive board (officers and committee chairs) and the general membership each elect nominating committee members and one alternate from their body. The PTA president may not serve on the nominating committee. The nominating committee meets immediately after their election and determines its own committee chair.
Nominating committee members should review the duties for each office, found in Article VII of the PTA’s bylaws, to familiarize themselves with what skills the committee will be looking for in candidates for each position. Those already in an officer position and eligible for reelection should be considered by the committee, but the committee is free to nominate someone else for the position.
The nominating committee should keep all discussion of potential candidates confidential within the committee. That allows committee members to speak freely on the qualifications of each potential nominee without fear of having critical comments go beyond the committee.
The committee must have the consent of a proposed nominee to slate them, and the proposed nominee must be a member of the PTA or of the PTA for a feeder school for at least 30 days prior to the election in order to be nominated (Article VI, Section 4d). Where the committee is considering between two or more potential nominees, the committee selects the nominee by majority vote by ballot.
Nominating committee members may be considered as a nominee for an officer position. If that is the case, the committee member being considered leaves the room for the discussion of all nominees for that position and does not return until the committee has determined their nominee. The alternate member from the body (executive board or general membership) replaces the committee member who was excused during consideration of nominees for that position.
When the nominating committee decides on a candidate for a positon, they should contact that person while the committee is meeting to confirm their agreement to be nominated. The committee nominates one person for each officer position listed in the bylaws and makes its report of the nominees at least 30 days prior to the election meeting.
At the election meeting, the PTA president has the nominating committee chair again read the slate of candidates nominated by the committee. The president then asks if there are nominations from the floor, going through each position one at a time. If someone is nominated from the floor, the president should confirm that the person has agreed to be nominated and has been a member of the PTA or a member of the PTA at a feeder school for at least 30 days. When there are no further nominations from the floor, the president declares that nominations are closed.
Section 2b of Article VI states that the election is to be conducted by ballot, but that if there is only one nominee for an office, the election for that position may be conducted by voice with a motion from the floor to do so. That means that if there are two candidates for President, but only one candidate for Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, a motion can be made to conduct the election of the latter three positions by voice, but the election of the President would still be by ballot.
Conducting the election by voice vote is a two-step process. First, the motion is made and seconded to conduct the election by voice for uncontested positions. This requires a majority vote to approve. A second motion is then made to make the nominated candidate(s) the elected officer(s) for those uncontested elections.
When a ballot vote must be conducted, the President appoints three tellers to handle the election. The tellers are to:
- Verify that the person being given a ballot is a PTA member
- Informs each member to indicate their choice by making an “X” in the box next to the person’s name that they wish to vote for (i.e., not a check mark, but two crossing lines)
- Collects the ballots or makes sure that they are deposited in a sealed ballot box
- Retire to count the ballots when the polls are closed
- Report the results of the ballot election without declaring that the individuals are elected, and hand the report to the PTA President
In order to vote in the election, a person must have been a member of the PTA for at least 30 days prior to the election. This 30 day membership requirement for both candidates and voters is to protect your PTA. It means that a crowd of people cannot walk into your PTA’s election meeting, pay membership dues, and then nominate and elect a candidate who just joined the PTA that day.
When the election is concluded, whether by ballot or voice vote, the President declares who has been elected for each position. Those newly elected officers will assume their official duties as described in the bylaws (Article VI, Section 2c).
Additional information on nominations and elections can be found in the President section of the Illinois PTA Leadership Resources.