One of the most important things that PTA leaders have to handle – and handle properly! – are PTA elections. It is vitally important that you follow the procedural rules for your election to be valid, and for your PTA to remain in good standing. But many PTA leaders find the PTA officer election process confusing and mysterious. No worries! Here’s a simplified guide with everything you need to know about the election process.
As you start preparing for your PTA elections, you will need to read through your organization’s Bylaws. They will tell you how to conduct a proper election.
If your Bylaws are lacking in detail, or if you are a new PTA president and find the election rules and procedures mysterious or confusing, read our detailed guidelines to keep you on track.
1. The Nominating Committee.
This committee is elected by the general membership approximately 2 months before your PTA/PTO elections.
Your Bylaws will tell you exactly how many people are needed for this Committee, but it should be an odd number.
You should notify your members that you will be having Nominating Committee elections and that names can be submitted for this slate. Be sure to tell them the duties and time commitment when you advertise this upcoming election.
Once the election of the Nominating Committee is completed, distribute the Nominating Committee guidelines to each committee member. If you don’t already have this document, you can use the guidelines outlined here, along with your Bylaws, to create such a reference for your Nominating Committee.
The committee needs to determine which positions are open for nominations according to your Bylaws. The committee will then compile a list of possible candidates, keeping in mind the Bylaws criteria for officers. One of most important criteria is that they need to be a paid PTA member. While it’s not strictly speaking required, we also recommend ensuring that the candidates reflect the varied make-up of your school community.
All actions of the Nominating Committee are confidential. The committee members must never discuss the process outside of the committee meetings.
The PTA President is NOT permitted to be involved in the Nominating Committee’s work in any way.Click to tweet
That means that the President may not make a candidate suggestion or offer any opinions, advice or council to the committee. The President is, however, allowed to give the committee the list of positions that will be open for the next year.
The Nominating Committee chair should contact the agreed upon candidates via phone to see if they are interested in being on the slate of officers. A potential candidate is allowed to ask a current officer about his/her job responsibilities.
If the committee is unable to find suitable candidates to fill all of the positions, some of the positions can remain open. According to most organizations’ Bylaws:
The only positions that must be filled at all times are President, Recording Secretary and Treasurer.Click to tweet
Once the committee has set the slate of officers, they should put that in writing and have all members of the nominating Committee sign and date the document. The document is read for the first time by the committee chair at the PTA meeting. The signed copy is then given to the President for the organization’s records.
There are many other guidelines to the Nominating Committee responsibilities, but these are the basic ones. You can check your Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order.
Once the Nominating Committee has made their formal presentation of the slate of officers at a general membership meeting, they are essentially done with their job.
The President should announce that the slate must sit for 30 days (or a time period specified in your Bylaws).
The President should also publicize the slate in a newsletter or email so that all membership will receive the proper notification. It should also be communicated that nominations will be permitted from the floor on the day of the elections.
Robert’s Rules of Order is the best resource for conducting an election. Your PTA may not be very formal in conducting business, but it is still important to learn the proper procedure for conducting an election and voting. You want to be fair and have everything procedurally correct, so, again, consult your Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order. Below are some basic guidelines:
The election should be publicized and on the agenda. Be sure to notify members that nominations from the floor are permitted.
When it is time for the election, the President should read the nomination for each position separately and then ask for any further nominations from the floor for that position. After hearing additional nominations or no additional nominations, the President should then declare the nominations closed for that position.
If there is a nomination (or more than one) from the floor, then these names are added to the ballot for that position.
Most groups use a voice vote for their elections, but you can choose a ballot, stand vote or any other option as described in Robert’s Rules of Order. Be certain that whatever method you use to vote, is properly handled according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
After the President has done this process for every position on the ballot, the elections can then be completed.
If there were no candidates for a specific position, then it is up to the Executive Board to make an appointment for those positions. The exceptions are: President, Recording Secretary and Treasurer. Again, refer to your Bylaws for more specific details on filling these positions.
We hope this post helps to take the mystery out of Nominating Committee, Nominations and Elections!