The Nomination Process

The process of nominating a person for office is not only important, but it's both simple and complex at the same time, and if not done properly it can cause serious problems. First, click here for a quick example on how NOT to nominate someone.

The Bylaws should clearly state the nomination procedure, but if the procedure is not stated in the bylaws, a member of the assembly may make a motion explaining the procedure to follow. The assembly then decides by a majority vote whether to follow the proposed procedure. (Please see RONR 46:1-29 for more specifics on the process.)

Fundamentally, an organization can nominate candidate for office in several ways:

     - Through an appointed nominating committee

     - From the floor

     - By ballot

     - By mail (if the Bylaws permit it)

     - By petition (if the Bylaws permit it)

The nominating committee presents nominations, and the assembly has the opportunity to present additional nominations from the floor. Robert's Rules of Order states that a person does not have to be nominated to be elected to office. If the vote is taken by ballot, there is always the opportunity to write in a name; in this case, a person can win as a write-in candidate without ever being nominated.


As soon as the Chairman opens nominations from the floor, any member can bring forth a nomination. However, the rules for a member nominating a candidate are the same as for the nominating committee. A member should know beforehand if the person he or she wishes to nominate is both eligible and willing to serve. When the nomination is from the floor:

     - A member does not have to get recognition, and often in small assemblies, a member can call out a name while still seated.

     - A person can nominate himself or herself.

     - A nomination does not need a second.

     - A member can be nominated for more than one office.

     - A member can't nominate more than one person for an office until everyone has had the opportunity to make nominations.

     - Nominees do not have to leave the room during the nominations, when the vote is taken, or when the vote is counted.

     - The Chairman can continue presiding, even if he or she is one of the nominees for the office.

     - A member can rise and decline the nomination during the nominating process.

The Chairman closes nominations when no further nominations come forward from the assembly. If at any time during the nominating process a member realizes that he or she will be unable to serve if elected, the member should stand and request that his or her name be removed from nomination.


In this process, each member is given a nominating ballot and writes the name(s) of one or more candidates on it. The tellers' committee counts the ballots and writes a list of the nominees to give to the president to announce. A vote is then taken for election. The nominating ballot should never become the electing ballot.


When members are widely scattered geographically, taking nominations by mail is a helpful tool. The Secretary is responsible for mailing a nominating ballot to each member, with instructions on how to fill it out. After the members mail back the nominations, the Secretary composes the ballot from which the members vote.


Sometimes an organization's bylaws provide for nominations by petition. In this case, a nominee must be nominated by a signed petition of members before the nomination is put on the ballot. The nominating petition may be enclosed with a newsletter or mailed to the members.


Purpose: to close the nominations and take the vote immediately:

     - Is not in order when another member has the floor

     - Needs a second

     - Amendable

     - Not debatable

     - Requires a two-thirds vote

     - Can't be reconsidered

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