Best Practice: Postal Votes

Many golf clubs have introduced postal voting for their members when voting at Annual General Meetings.  It is important therefore if your club has introduced this option, that firm ground rules are established to avoid any doubt about the authenticity of the result after the event.  The following points should be carefully considered by thise clubs embarking on this option: The club rules should clearly state that postal voting is allowed and set the rules for administering it. Before sending out the ballot papers a list of voting members should be prepared and each member is given a number (usually their membership number). The voting papers when sent out should be numbered in the same way so it can be clearly shown that there is a way of checking the votes should the situation arise. The number of voting papers sent out must agree with the numbers on the list and no additional papers should be printed without good reason. In the event of additional papers being printed these should be kept under lock and key and the numbers of those papers recorded in the presence of officers of the club. They would normally only be used in a situation in which it could clearly be agreed that a member had, for some unforeseen circumstances, not received their papers. It is important to have clearly printed envelopes for members to return their papers in, either through the post or by hand, and these should be kept unopened in the club safe prior to the meeting. On no account should anyone open these prior to the meeting. At the commencement of the Annual General Meeting, the Chairman of the meeting should ask for the appointment of scrutineers who should not be members of the committee, candidates or their proposers and seconders. It is best to have a minimum of four and probably better to have at least six. These members so appointed should do their counting behind locked doors in the office and on completing their counting should hand over to the Chairman of the meeting their findings, properly recorded, on a document in which they each sign to agree on the accuracy of their findings. The scrutineers should not have access to the list of members and their voting numbers. This should be kept in the club safe and would only be available on a decision by the club committee on a written request by members who are querying the result of the ballot. In the event of any ties then these should be dealt with by the Chairman of the meeting according to the rules of the club and not by the scrutineers. Whether the results are published on the board or not are dependent on the policy of the club but by posting the results including the votes cast for each candidate you will probably avoid any future recriminations. After the AGM, the voting slips along with the register of members should be kept for a specific period...
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