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Robert's Rules for Making Nominations

Your organization needs officers, maybe committee members, and other positions decided by a vote of the membership. Robert's Rules sets out several methods of making nominations for positions:

Nominations by the chair

This method is used whenever the membership wants to rely on the presiding officer to recommend candidates but also wants to reserve for itself (or its designee, such as the board of directors) the approval of the nominee. This method is applicable when

  • Appointing members to committees, if specified in the motion creating the committee, or if prescribed in the bylaws

  • Electing a presiding officer in a mass meeting

Nominations from the floor

Sometimes called open nominations, this method is probably the most familiar. It's used in the vast majority of situations in which members elect their officers at a meeting. Your group's rules and customs determine when floor nominations are accepted. Sometimes nominations aren't taken until the election is pending, and sometimes they're taken at other times, such as at a meeting before the election meeting.

The process of making floor nominations is subject to the following rules:

  • Recognition by the chair is not required to make a nomination. However, calling nominations from your seat is often impractical, so you may want to adopt a more formal nomination process.

  • Nominations don't have to be seconded, but it's not out of order for members to second a nomination to signal their endorsement.

  • A member shouldn't offer more than one nomination to a position if there are several seats for the same office — such as for nominees to a board or a committee — until all other members have had the opportunity to make nominations.

  • If the bylaws don't prohibit it, a person can be nominated for more than one office and can even serve in more than one office if elected.

  • Nominations are taken for successive offices in the order they're listed in the bylaws.

Motions to close nominations are usually unnecessary because the nomination process simply continues until no one wishes to make further nominations. When the nominations stop, the chair just declares nominations closed after making sure that no more nominations are forthcoming. Customarily (although it's not required), the chair accomplishes this by calling three times for more nominations.

According to Robert's Rules, a motion to close nominations is out of order as long as any member wishes to make a nomination.

Nominations by a committee

Using a nominating committee to assemble a list of willing and qualified candidates for office can greatly benefit members when the time comes to select their leaders. If the committee does its job well, the membership can enjoy some basic assurance that the candidates nominated have at least expressed interest in the job, have agreed to serve, and are qualified for the offices for which they're nominated.

Nominations by ballot

This method of nominations is based on the principle of allowing all voters to make nominations for all offices by completing a nominating ballot. The ballots are tallied very much like an election ballot, and the report becomes the list of nominees for each office. This method gives voters an idea of the group's preferences without holding an actual election.

Nominations by mail

Taking nominations by mail is basically the same as taking nominations by ballot. Take security measures to protect the privacy of the nominating ballot; each member is instructed to fold his or her ballot inside a signed envelope and mail it back in an outer envelope. When the nominating ballot is received, the signed inner envelope containing the ballot is logged in against a list of voting members, and the ballot is deposited in a receptacle for tallying like an election ballot.

Nominations by petition

Some organizations add nominees to the ballot only if the name is submitted on a petition signed by some minimum number of members. Nomination by petition is another method of nomination by mail; provisions must be made for it in the bylaws, and standard forms must be provided to candidates and electors upon request.

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