In January, we discussed the five keys to running a successful nominating committee. Now, as your school year nears the end, here are six keys to running a successful PTA election.
- Your election must be held at a general membership meeting. Much of the day-to-day running of a PTA can be handled by your PTA board or executive committee, but your PTA bylaws delegate approving audit reports, adopting or amending the budget, amending the bylaws, and electing the nominating committee and officers to your membership.
- Anyone running for an officer position must have been a member of your PTA or the PTA of a feeder school for 30 days prior to the election. Those voting in the election also must have been a PTA member in your PTA for 30 days prior to the election. Both provisions are included in your PTA bylaws. This is to protect your PTA from having a group of people walk into your PTA election meeting, join your PTA, nominate candidates from the floor, and elect them—effectively hijacking your PTA leadership.
- Your election begins with the nominating committee report. The president asks the nominating committee chair to read the list of nominees for office. There should be only one nominee for each office.
- Take nominations from the floor. Nominations from the floor are required, and the president should go through each position individually and ask for nominations from the floor for that position before moving on to the next position. The proper language would be, “Jane Doe has been nominated for the position of president. Are there any nominations from the floor? Are there any nominations from the floor? Are there any nominations from the floor? There being none, nominations for president are closed.” Should there be a nomination from the floor, it does not require a second. The president may, but is not required to, ask either the nominee (if they are present) or the person making the nomination (if they are not) if the nominee is willing to serve if elected.
- Elections are done by ballot unless a candidate is unopposed. Your PTA bylaws specify that officer elections are done by ballot. If there is only one nominee for a position, then the election can be conducted by voice vote. If some positions are contested and some are not, the contested positons are elected by ballot, but the uncontested positions can be done by voice vote. If you are conducting elections by voice vote, it is a two-step process: First, a motion is made (and seconded) to conduct the election by voice vote. If there are both contested and uncontested positions, the motion should specify that the voice vote is for the uncontested positions. If the motion to conduct a voice vote passes, then the election is conducted by a motion (and second) to make the nominated slate the elected slate (specifying for which positions if some are contested). If after the voice vote there are contested positions, the ballot vote is then conducted.
- After the votes are counted, the president announces the results and declares the winners as elected. The votes are counted by an odd number of tellers (usually three), and the results given to the PTA president. The president then announces the results: “For the position of president, Jane Doe received 15 votes, Mary Roe received 12 votes. Jane Doe is elected president for the 2023-2025 term.” Repeat the process for the other positions. In the case of a voice vote, the results are still announced: “The following people have been elected for the 2023-2025 term: for President, Jane Doe, for Vice President, Mary Roe, for Secretary, John Moe, and for Treasurer, Molly Coe.” The announcement of the results should be recorded in your PTA minutes. This is important should your bank, for example, need a copy of the minutes before changing the names of the signatories on your PTA checking account.
Photo © by Nick Youngson under Creative Commons license via Alpha Stock Images.