Proxy Voting for the AGM

Discussion in 'Ask the Exec!' started by Dean Thompson, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. Dean Thompson

    Dean Thompson New Member

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    Travelling to the AGM from the Island it will cost me approx $250 to attend. Is there any way we can have proxy voting for members unable to attend the AGM?
     
  2. Jaybo

    Jaybo if you want blood

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    I'm generally all for it but it would probably have to be voted into effect at the Agm. If we are holding firm to the rulebook it only specifies votes in person by ballot.
     
  3. Andrew Marles

    Andrew Marles Moderator

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    Hey Dean, I think this is something we really need to implement for the club since we have several members that are quite far away and we need to make sure their views are represented. I will say that this is currently not permitted according to our bylaws and the Society Act. While the WMRC bylaws make no mention of proxy voting they do state that the executive is elected by a majority of the members "present" at the meeting. Coupled with the Society Act which indicates that proxy voting is only allowed if specifically mentioned in the society's bylaws this says to me that the WMRC does not currently allow voting by proxy.

    That said, I would like to suggest to you, and to everyone else for that matter, a compromise. I think we ought to allow remote members to call into the meeting. You can have someone act as your body and call in via skype or facetime on a smartphone or laptop and participate that way. To me that seems a reasonable compromise between following the rules and trying to accommodate all of our members in so short a time. It does make it somewhat hard to have a secret ballot vote, but perhaps we could nominate a specific member or better yet a third party to handle the skype votes and mark the ballots appropriately. Not sure we can get this in place for the AGM, but I think it is something that we should consider.

    BTW Dean I'd be happy to virtually lend you my phone or laptop if you wanted to call in.
     
  4. Wblairlayton

    Wblairlayton Faster and Faster

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    Sounds to me that we need to have a motion at the AGM to specifically incorporate into our bylaws that Proxy voting is allowed so that this is in place for all future AGM meetings and Elections,

    You are right Andrew that the use of Skype or Face time eliminates the possibility of secret ballet, a tough one to get by. I like the idea of being able to call in the vote for remote members like Dean and Paul and others on the Island and for our inland Interior members as well,

    See you all at the meeting,

    Best regards,
    Blair
     
  5. bsa_414

    bsa_414 WMRC Formula Classic Rep

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    Thanks Andrew for a well written and well researched post.

    You are correct - according to Robert's rules of order proxy voting is not allowed in an organization such as ours, unless it is specifically permitted in the bylaws.

    The reason for this is basic democracy - ones vote is non transferable.

    Our club differes from public companies, where membership/ownership/shares and the vote attached to them is transferable through sale, by the fact that we cannot sell our membership. Therefore we cannot offer our vote by proxy.

    We could of course change our bylaws through a vote at the AGM, but in my opinion this opens up a bucket of worms. Theoretically one member could show up at an AGM with $400, 10 social membership application forms, and 10 proxy forms and cast 11 votes. Not very democratic.

    In order to be fair to all members a mail in vote is the only viable solution.

    To do it properly a complete voters list would have to be complied 2 or 3 months before the election. All candidates would have to be declared and ballots sent out to all members 4 weeks or so before the election. A system would have to be implemented to ensure that the voter could send back his ballot in a sealed envelope within another envelope holding the ballot envelope and a signed declaration. After someone confirmed that the ballot envelope was returned by a valid voting member the ballot envelope would go into the ballot box and be counted with the in-person ballots at the AGM.

    This would mean no floor nominations at the AGM and that mail in voters would not hear discussions up to the time of voting. Also no new memberships could be sold after the list of eligible voters was compiled (a couple of months before the AGM).

    It is not only about being fair to all members but also to make the process fair for all members. The above process would involve a huge amount of work, definitely an expense, all in return for a few votes out of town.

    Of course this is looking forward. Whatever solution is arrived at, for this AGM, will set a precedent which will be hard to undo.

    In my opinion it's better to just 'sacrifice' the remote votes with an apology to those affected, and give this some careful thought.

    Again, just my opinion, but I would apply the KISS principle to this and leave it at "elected by members present".

    cheers
    alex
     

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