Special Report on the Directors Election during the 2020 VAN-PAH Annual General Meeting
During the 2020 VAN-PAH AGM, an incorrect tally of ballots was obtained during the election. Upon recounting these ballots, it was discovered that the electoral result was different than the one announced. To honour the democratic intentions of our members, the board will accept the recount and will declare the seven directors who won the most votes.
19 January 2020
Membership Coordinator Scooby checked each member in and assigned every member in good standing a single ballot. As members were checked in, a tally mark was made to indicate their ballot was received.
Chairperson Clever called the meeting to order and noted 38 members in good standing were present. The meeting then proceeded according to the approved agenda. Prior to the election, four additional members arrived and were assigned ballots. The total number of ballots distributed was 42.
The Chair proposed that the board would take the seven highest vote totals as the newly elected directors based on the tally results from the invigilators.
Treasurer Tugger and VAN-PAH member Daddy Mark put forward their names to invigilate the elections process. This motion was unopposed and adopted.
The Chair instructed members to make between one and seven marks on each ballot, then place the ballots in a container at the invigilators’ table.
Mark and the Treasurer independently tallied ballots and compared their results. They each took a ballot in turn and initialed them, then tallied the votes separately.
Mark and the Treasurer notified the Chair that their tallies disagreed for three nominees, one of which would affect the selection of the seventh position. Both tallies gave 25 votes to Pup Roxy, one tally gave 25 votes to Wolf Zan, and one tally gave 26 votes to Wolf Zan.
The Chair proposed a motion to accept the tallied results for the first six directors. The motion passed unopposed.
The Chair ordered a recount of the ballots between Roxy and Zan.
Mark and the Treasurer jointly recounted the ballots and informed the Chair that the results indicated a tie, with both Roxy and Zan receiving 25 votes.
The Chair proposed a motion to have a second runoff ballot between Zan and Roxy to choose the seventh director. The motion passed unopposed.
The second ballot was distributed by the Membership Coordinator, again marking off when members received their ballots.
Six fewer votes were distributed in the second round of voting, for a total of 36 votes.
The second round ballots were collected and tallied by the Treasurer and Mark. The tally indicated that Roxy had won the second round of balloting.
The Chair proposed a motion to accept the results of the tallies be accepted as the seven new directors. The motion passed unopposed.
The meeting was adjourned, and the Treasurer transferred all 78 ballots to Clever, acting as the Secretary.
The newly elected directors held a short board meeting to elect board positions.
- Clever had concerns over the accuracy of the reported count and examined the ballots. He notified the board of a potential discrepancy and asked for an official recount.
20 January 2020
Ballots were transferred from Clever to Mark for a recount to be performed. The transfer was documented to the officers through Telegram.
Mark performed a recount of the first round ballots and checked each ballot for his initials to verify the original ballots. All 42 originally cast ballots were re-tabulated. During the recount, Mark serialized the ballots to guard against double counting.
- Mark’s new tabulation indicated Zan won the first round of balloting with 26 votes to Roxy’s 25 votes.
21 January 2020
Ballots were transferred from Mark to Clever.
- Director’s meeting was held at Pumpjack Pub. All 2020 directors were present except Pup Roxy.
- A motion was introduced for the board to accept Mark’s recount and to ask Tugger to recount the ballots. The motion passed.
- Scooby made a motion to hold a new election. The directors voted 5/1 against the motion and it was defeated.
Ballots were transferred from Clever to Tugger for a recount to be performed.
Tugger performed a recount of the first round ballots and checked each ballot for his initials to verify the original ballots. All 42 originally cast ballots were re-tabulated.
- Tugger’s new tabulation indicated Zan won the first round of balloting with 26 votes to Roxy’s 25 votes.
POSITION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
It is our unanimously held belief that our members’ votes are of critical importance. All other things being equal, it is the will of our membership that should be followed.
It is the board’s belief that ignoring the outcome of the first round of balloting is inappropriate.
During the AGM, Tugger and Mark were appointed as invigilators, and this was unopposed by the assembly. As such, Tugger and Mark became de facto members of a committee whose responsibility was to tally the votes and report on the seven highest vote totals. The assembly passed motions to accept the reports from those committees, not to confirm the directors themselves. The verbal report from the invigilators for the top seven where as follows; Werel 36, Pack Puppy 36, Yu-Kai 34, Scooby 30, Teekay 29, Clever 26, Roxy and Zan 25.
After the AGM, Clever notified the board of a potential discrepancy and asked for an immediate official recount. Clever transferred the votes to Mark, who provided a revised count of the ballots. The board then met and formally approved Mark’s revised count, and formally requested Tugger to also perform a recount. The board passed a motion to update the AGM minutes with information about the inaccuracy and update the published electoral results to the correct ones.
It is the board’s belief that the second round of balloting is invalidated by the outcome of the first round.
Ballots were signed out by Scooby, initialed by Mark and Tugger, and after the election, were in the possession of a director or invigilator at all times. The board has confidence in the recount as provided by Tugger and Mark.
Since neither the Societies Act, nor our bylaws state anything beyond that directors must win their election, it is to the board to determine the details of that process. The board believes that the unambiguous outcome of the first round of balloting is relevant, and cannot simply be discarded because of a lack of detail around recounts or tabulation.
In the course of this election, the board has noted several areas that bylaws and procedures will need to be improved. Our bylaws do not contain any specific language around the way elections operate. It does not state what to do in the event of a tie, how to score ballots, or how to conduct runoffs. There is no language to indicate how a recount can be requested, or for how long following an election one can be called for. Absent any specific guidance, the Act requires that the board act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the society. We believe that honouring the original democratic intent of our electors is how to best do this.
After the tabulation process, the invigilators raised several concerns with the board. These included the random ordering of candidates on ballots, a noisy and poorly lit area for tabulating, time pressure on the invigilators, and a lack of clarity around what to do with discordant results.
Unfortunately, this puts the board in a difficult position. Due to challenges around the tabulation process, our invigilators mistakenly indicated that a tie had occurred. We now know that was incorrect. In debating how to handle this anomaly, the board has repeatedly stressed the importance of following the democratic intent of its members. While changes need to be made around how elections are performed in the future, the board needed to make a decision about this event without that guidance.
The board is aware that no solution we choose will make everyone happy. This was a mistake that occurred at a sensitive moment and led to the incorrect announcement being made. While there are those who would have preferred the board simply move on and ignore the error, it is the position of the board that this would be fundamentally antidemocratic.
We cannot expect that elections or tabulations will be perfect, but we can provide a framework in the future for what to do when these errors occur again.
The board regrets the emotional distress this outcome may have caused, both to the candidates standing for election, our invigilators, and our members. We will work to provide clarity going forward on the proposed changes to our bylaws so that members are aware of how elections will work in the future.
Yours In service,
The Directors, Vancouver Pups and Handlers