A unit must conduct elections for unit board members in accordance with the provisions of its bylaws and/or election regulations.
A. MAIL IN BALLOTS
For unit members to vote by mail, the nominating committee must prepare by direct selection and/or by petition a slate of nominees. The committee then mails to each member a list of the nominees and a ballot. This ballot may be included in the unit publication. The committee must see that each qualified member receives only one ballot and that the balloting is secret. To keep the voting secret, it is advisable to use large and small envelopes. The member marks the ballot, places it in the small envelope, and seals it. The member then places the small envelope inside the large envelope, seals the latter, and signs his or her name across the flap, so that the person or committee appointed to receive the ballots can check the name against the membership roster. The committee opens the small envelopes only at the pre-designated ballot counting time.
B. ELECTIONS AT MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
To elect board members at a membership meeting, the unit must provide a reasonably advanced notice of the meeting and the election to all members. The unit may advertise the election meeting in its own publication or send out a special mailing to all members. The unit may announce the election at its games and meetings or in the publications of clubs that hold sanctioned games. If the slate of candidates presented by the nominating committee is uncontested, it is then just ratified by the membership at the meeting. If there is more than one candidate for any position, the vote should be by secret ballot at the meeting.
C. ELECTIONS AT CLUBS
Ballots and ballot boxes may be installed at clubs in the unit to make it more convenient for unit members to vote. Boxes are then retrieved and ballots counted at a specific time and location.
A unit may also hold its election at a club headquarters, but it may not treat the election as a meeting of the club. Nor is it acceptable to have each club in the unit appoint or elect a board member, since some club members may not be unit members. Regardless, only unit members are allowed to vote.
D. ELECTIONS AT TOURNAMENTS
The unit may conduct the election during a sectional or regional tournament and at a site convenient to the majority of the members. The nominating committee presents a slate of candidates that provides for representation on the board from all areas of the unit.
One obvious disadvantage of this method is that a large percentage of the votes may be cast by residents of the immediate area, especially if the tournament is a sectional, and these voters may not be familiar with candidates from other areas. Another disadvantage is that it is more difficult to insure that only unit members vote. An advantage is that ballots can be counted and results announced or posted while the game is in progress.
E. COMBINATION OF ELECTION METHODS
Units may combine mail ballot with voting at its membership meeting, at a tournament, at a club or clubs, or any combination thereof. This can promote greater participation in the election.
The use or non-use of absentee ballots should be provided for in the unit bylaws and/or election regulations. ACBL regulations do not permit proxy votes. When election methods are combined it is important to insure that only unit members vote and that they vote only once.