Proposed Bylaws Revision for Board Elections
Procedures for the way the JWN holds board elections is governed by our bylaws. At our last Executive Board Elections held on April 11, 2023, it was obvious that these procedures are not up to the task. The level of chaos impeded neighbors’ ability to thoughtfully consider the candidates before voting. Administering the voting process was unduly burdensome to volunteers. After a careful analysis by the board, consideration of comments from neighbors, consultation with the author of the original bylaws, and lengthy discussion, the JWN Board has unanimously approved draft provisions to the portions of the bylaws that address elections. No other sections of the bylaws were reviewed.
The Board is now asking neighbors to provide any feedback over the next few weeks on the revisions below. At the August 15 Board meeting, the Board will review any feedback and finalize changes to put before the membership. The deadline is so the proposed changes can be sent out in our August mailed newsletter as required by our bylaws. Members will vote on a motion (simple majority) at the September general meeting to hold a formal vote (2/3 majority) to adopt the changes at the October general meeting (review the timeline below). The motion to proceed to a vote and to approve any changes will be on the bylaws as presented. The debate will be on the merit of the proposed changes and not involve further additions or amendments.
In revising the election process, the board’s primary considerations were to increase transparency; provide members ample time to review candidates, ask questions, and vote in an open and timely manner; increase access for voting; allow for easy and accurate auditing of results; and fund the process under city restrictions that do not pay for software or web services. The proposed changes are below. Strike-through indicates deleted words and sections. Bold indicates new wording.
Article II. EXECUTIVE BOARD
Section 1. Board members and officers:
a) The Executive Board shall have seven members, including a Chair, Vice-chair, and five members-at-large.
b) All board members must be members of the neighborhood association.
Section 2: Nominations:
The executive board shall designate a nominating committee at least one month in advance of each regular election. Notice of the creation and solicitation of members of the nominating committee will be posted in the previous neighborhood newsletter. The committee shall consist of one member of the executive board and two members of the neighborhood association who are not members of the executive board.
The committee shall publish a slate of nominees for office in the neighborhood newsletter prior to the election. Further nominations may be made from the floor for each office. Call for nominations will be announced in the winter mailed Newsletter. Any candidates for the Board must declare themselves in writing via email to the Nominating Committee no later than 30 days before the scheduled election. Candidates shall submit a short bio and answer a series of questions no later than 21 days prior to the election. Candidate responses will be compiled in a voter pamphlet promoted via digital media and will reside on the JWN website. Candidate responses will be available to the membership no later than 14 days prior to the election.
Section 3. Term of office:
An Executive Board member shall hold office until the next regular election for the respective position, or until the position is vacated as provided under Section 8.
Section 4. Elections :
a) Regular elections for all Executive Board positions shall be held at the annual meeting. Voting will occur at an in-person
meeting. Members who cannot attend the in-person meeting may request a ballot ahead of time, which must be returned
no later than the day of the election prior to the start of voting at the in-person meeting.
Information on how to obtain and return an absentee ballot will be included in the voter pamphlet. Absentee ballots will
be available upon the publication of the voter pamphlet. Each requested ballot will have a unique ID number. Reproduction
of ballots is not allowed. Ballots shall be retained for a minimum of 60 days after the election. Only one voting representative
for each business or nonprofit.
b) When a position becomes vacant under the provisions of Section II.8, a special election for the office shall be held as follows:
i. If regular elections will be held at either of the next two meetings following the date the position is vacated, the position shall be filled by a regular election.
Otherwise, the Executive Board shall schedule a special election at the next general meeting following the date the position is vacated, if the Executive Board determines adequate notice can be provided the membership in time for that meeting. If adequate notice is not practicable, the Executive Board shall schedule a special election at the general meeting following the next general meeting. Vacant seats may be filled on an interim basis by a majority vote of the board. The membership must be notified of interim appointments via the eNews and website. A special election must be held within 60 days of the first general meeting held after the appointment, where it will be announced with requests for self-nominations. Candidates must submit the required materials and declare themselves 30 days before the election and follow the existing rules for elections.
For regular elections and for special elections to fill two or more vacant positions, separate votes shall be conducted for each position in the following order: Chair, Vice-chair, and then each member-at-large.
d) A candidate for any office must be a member of the JWN and
either: i. be present at the general meeting when the election is held and indicate his or her willingness to serve in the position; or
ii. have attended and signed in at one of the previous six JWN general meetings, and have submitted a written statement of
his or her their willingness to serve in the position to the Executive Board prior to the election.
e) Voting in all elections shall be by written ballots.
Write-in votes for qualified candidates (as provided by subsection d, above) are allowed. Candidate names and the positions they are running for will be included on a single ballot. No write-in candidates. Ballots must include the voter’s legal name and address.
f) A vote is valid if it meets all the following conditions:
i. is cast by a JWN member present during the vote, and
ii. is the only vote cast by the JWN member during the vote, and
iii. is for a qualified candidate for the position, according to subsection d, above.
g) To be elected, a candidate must receive a majority of the valid votes cast and must receive at least six valid votes.
h) When no candidate receives a majority of the valid votes cast, a runoff vote will be held immediately between the two candidates with the most valid votes.
Write-in votes are not valid in a runoff vote.
i) When a candidate receives a majority of votes cast, but less than six votes, a final up-or-down vote on the candidate with the most votes is held. If the candidate does not then receive at least six votes, the position shall remain vacant.
j) If no one is elected to a position at the meeting where a regular or special election for that position is scheduled, the position shall remain vacant and a special election for the position shall be held at the next general meeting.
- July 18: Board vote on Bylaws
- August: Bylaw changes and timeline posted via eNews and on website with an opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions.
- August 15 Board meeting finalize bylaws.
- August: Bylaw changes and timeline mailed in summer newsletter as well as an opportunity to get updates.
- September GM: Make Motion and Vote (majority to proceed)
- Bylaw changes and timeline posted via eNews and on website.
- October GM: Final discussion and vote (2/3) to approve.