Virtual Elections in the Age of Coronavirus

(Click here for virtual meeting tips)

Fairfax County PTAs are encouraged to hold regularly scheduled meetings and elections this spring. Now more than ever, people need to connect and feel part of their community. Stay At Home orders have freed up schedules and we anticipate increased participation in your meetings as long as you provide notice and reach out to your members.

Virginia PTA has mapped out a few options for holding elections (below) and FCCPTA has outlined its election plan here.

Your bylaws remain the roadmap even if your methods move online. If your Executive Board votes to postpone elections until school resumes, then, per your bylaws, all current officers remain in position until an election may be held.

Implementation of Email, or Electronic Voting:

While in-person voting and participation in meetings is preferred; to implement email or electronic voting a PTA or Council must:

  • Meet as a Board and vote to hold your general membership meeting either by mail, email or electronic means.
  • Review and update your membership list to ensure all members can be contacted via the method selected.
  • Amend the association’s budget to include any costs associated with email or electronic voting, including but not limited to the costs of online voting tools.
  • The board should appoint a tellers committee to count the votes. The tellers committee will need to exercise extra care concerning the confidentiality of electronic votes. Click here to learn more about a tellers committee.

A number of online tools exist that could be used to take an electronic vote for Nominating Committee or Officers. There are tools specifically written for voting, and those intended for surveys that will suffice. Costs of tools vary so your unit will want to choose a tool that best fits the needs and the budget of your PTA. VAPTA does not recommend using a survey tool owned by the school district. 

The following list is meant as a reference, and in no way implies an endorsement of any of these online tools by VAPTA: 

OPTION #1:

As per Bylaws, the nominating committee has selected candidates for office.

  • Post nominees for the required 30 days and announce election date along with the method to be used for election;
  • Require anyone running from the floor/self-nominating meeting eligibility requirements for election of office to send their intent, qualification (as the nominating committee has vetted the nominees) and contact information to the President
    • As the Nominating Committee has completed their job, any and all information regarding slated officers and/or the election would automatically go to the President
  • Send a reminder of the election meeting date (as established by your board) and meeting method with any self-nominating names and position(s) to membership.
  • Send your survey link to the email addresses of your members. If your tool won’t show you the address used to send the response, you can have the survey include the email address of the voter as a question in the survey. Be sure to set a deadline for receiving votes via your online tool if it is not a ‘live’ polling tool. 

OPTION #2:

When you are unable to form the required nominating committee, you may post a ‘Blank Slate’ and post notice of the election meeting date and method to be used. 

  • Set a date for anyone self-nominating and having met the eligibility requirements for election of office to send their intent, contact information and desired position to the President.
  • Send a reminder of the election meeting date (as established by your board) and meeting method with any self-nominating names and position(s) to membership.
  • Send your survey link to the email addresses of your members. If your tool won’t show you the address used to send the response, you can have the survey include the email address of the voter as a question in the survey. Be sure to set a deadline for receiving votes via your online tool if it is not a ‘live’ polling tool. 

OPTION #3:

Following is an example of a recommended procedure a PTA might follow when running an election by email. 

All PTA members who have provided a private email address to the PTA membership chair shall be sent a notice of the election announcement. The announcement must identify the voting method to be utilized for the election.

All ballots emailed to members shall include a brief description of the voting procedure and ballot return deadline. 

  • The names of all candidates brought forth by the nominating committee and any self-nominating candidate(s) meeting eligibility requirements for election of office shall be printed on the ballot. (You may utilize the ‘Blank Slate’ method and follow the same steps as above)
  • Ballot results shall NOT be announced until all voting concludes and a final tally can be reported. 
  • Email messages containing member ballots shall not be forwarded under any circumstances. 
  • The teller committee shall review each ballot returned by email to: 
    • Determine that the ballot was cast by a paid member 
    • The ballot is returned from the member email address on record. 
    • The voter intent is clearly recognized/understood. 
    • The email message containing the ballot was received by the specified voting deadline. 
  • Ballots received via email after the announced deadline shall not be counted nor used for the establishment of a quorum. 
  • The tellers committee shall create a record of all members casting a ballot by electronic mail 
    • Ballots distributed via email must be returned via email to the specified electronic mail address included in the announcement of the election. 

OPTION #4:

If your board decides not to hold elections by any method and wait until school resumes, please send an email reply to this email to let us know the name of the unit so that we may mark this information for our records. (Please do not reply all so that your information does not go to everyone)