Re: Questions for Keith - straight to the point I hope
Apr 17, 2009 04:56 AM
The voting procedure is very straight forward, the President sends
out a letter of nomination, or item of business, to all members of
the General Council. A voting slip is included and a date is given
for the return of the slip, depending on the notice required under
the rules, this is three months in the case of Additional Members
and Rule Changes. A period of notice is not specified for the
election of a Vice President or other items of business, as these
can occur at any time during the year.
The postal ballot as a voting procedure has been used throughout
the whole history of the General Council, it has been a consistent
and effective practice. The earliest reference I have is in the
minutes of the 1926 General Council meeting as published in the
Annual Report, and it seems to have been used ever since.
Obviously it derives its existence from the very fact that the TS is
widely spread around the world, the postal ballot guarantees that
every member of the Council has the opportunity to vote, even
when he or she cannot be present at the annual meeting of the
General Council at Adyar.
John Algeo became a member of the General Council in 1993, and
has voted in many postal ballots. He was elected Vice President in
2001, re-elected in 2004 and 2007, all by postal ballot.
Betty Bland became a member of the General Council in 2002 and
has also voted in many postal ballots, including the election of the
Treasurer, Vice President, Additional Members, and rule changes
made in 2006.
It is clear in Rule 49 that the postal ballot is an accepted practice.
Rule 49. Changes in Rules and Regulations
The General Council, of their own motion or on the motion of the
Executive Committee and after at least three months' notice has
been given to each member of said Council, may, by a three?fourths
vote of those members who vote in person, in writing, or by proxy,
make, alter or repeal the Rules and Regulations of the Society, in
such manner as it may deem expedient.
I arrived at Adyar on Saturday 13 September 2008 and on Monday
15 September was asked to organize a postal ballot for the nomination
and election of a Vice President. I obtained a list of General Council
members dated 12 August 2008 and presumed it to be correct, but the
President asked me to remove Colombia from the list as that section
had too few members, this was later confirmed at 52 members.
The nomination and voting papers were sent out by email and airmail
to all Council members, except for Colombia, on 20 September
2008, giving the closing date as 20 October 2008.
At the close of voting I phoned the results through to the President
who was attending an Indian Section conference in Varanasi:
16 for Linda Oliveira, 15 against, and 1 abstention
The President asked me not to announce the result until she had
returned to Adyar and checked the results herself. She also asked
me to check the status of all sections, to see if they complied with
Rule 36(d), not less than 70 members or less than 5 lodges.
Apparently, there were some questions raised the previous year as
to the voting rights of certain sections. The announcement of the
results was delayed even further due to two Public Holidays with
a weekend in between.
On checking the status of the sections, Greece appeared to only
have 55 members and South Africa only 4 lodges. The votes of
these sections were therefore cancelled and the result announced
on 29 October 2008 was:
15 for Linda Oliveira, 14 against, and 1 abstention
Immediate objections were received by email from Greece and
South Africa and after making further checks it was found that
the votes had been cancelled in error. An immediate apology was
sent to each of the two sections the following day and the amended
voting result was announced on 3 November 2008 in the following
letter of explanation.
3 November 2008
TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL
I have received two objections to the result of the election for
The first objection from Greece informed me that they had sent
40 Applications for Membership and four Applications for Lodge
Charters to Adyar in June 2008.
Unfortunately, these had been placed in a pending file and forgotten.
The total membership of Greece now stands at 108 Members,
qualifying that Section for a place on the General Council and
validating their vote in the election of Vice President.
The second objection from South Africa informed me that they
now have five active lodges, as a new Lodge had been Chartered
in February 2008.
Unfortunately, no entry had been made in the Lodge Charters Ledger
where lodges are officially recorded. A search of correspondence
files has revealed evidence of a Charter being sent to the South
African Section in May 2008, qualifying that Section for a place
on the General Council and validating their vote in the election of
I apologise to both these Sections for any inconvenience and unrest
these clerical errors may have caused. It should be noted however,
that at the time these errors occurred, the International Secretary was
under extreme pressure.
The number of Members of the General Council eligible to vote is
amended to 36 and the result of voting in the election of Vice
President has been amended to reflect the increase in valid votes.
AMENDED VICE-PRESIDENT VOTING
The amended result of voting on the Nomination of Linda Oliveira
as Vice-President of The Theosophical Society from 20 September
2008 is as follows:
Votes for Linda Oliveira: 16
Votes against Linda Oliveira: 15
There were 36 members of the General Council eligible to vote.
A total of 32 voting slips were received.
A total of 3 members neglected to vote.
One voting slip dated 14 October 2008, in favour of Linda Oliveira,
was received on 29 October 2008, and was not included in the
Voting slips will now be numbered and placed in a sealed envelope,
to be tabled at the General Council meeting on 25 December 2008,
in order to facilitate confirmation.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Anton Rozman" <anton_rozman@...> wrote:
> Dear Keith,
> Thank you very much for your additional comments on the (1) Nomination of the new Vice-President. I see that you already elaborated also points (2) Use of postal ballots procedure and (3) Status of GC members. Anyway, I would like to kindly ask you to answer two additional questions about (2) and (3).
> You said that:
> "The procedure for voting was the same method that has been used for many years".
> Can you please explain the proceedings and when and why this procedure was adopted as it is not designed in the TS Rules and Regulations?
> And secondly, there was an allegation that:
> "Irregularities continued with the Vice-presidential postal ballots in that after the voting deadline, General Council members were scrutinized with an eye to disqualifying various voters, such as those from Colombia and South Africa (South Africa being later reinstated), and then the approval of Greece post facto as eligible to vote."
> You said:
> "No objections to the nomination of a Vice-President, or to the procedure of voting, were received until after the result was announced. Thirty three members of the General Council voted in the postal ballot, validating the nomination and the voting procedure, by casting a vote and signing their names on a voting slip."
> As far I understand the events all this means that (a) postal ballots were sent (in September) also to the representatives of Colombia, South Africa and Greece, that (b) at the conclusion of the postal ballot procedure (in October) the election results were announced (please, can you give us these partial results too) without votes from these three countries (as not qualified for the voting rights), that (c) after the requests from South Africa and Greece their votes were reinstated, and that (d) final voting results of the postal ballot procedure were actually announced on the GC meeting in December, followed by objections regarding the procedure.
> Warmest regards,
> --- In email@example.com, "keith_fisher@" <exsecy@> wrote:
> > Dear Anton
> > It is clear from Rule 9. that the President's term of office is for a
> > period of seven years only. There is no provision in this rule for
> > further terms of office, each term being a separate unit.
> > ********
> > Rule 9. President's term of office
> > The term of office of the President shall be seven years from the
> > date of assuming office.
> > ********
> > It was an error of judgement on the part of the General Council, at
> > its meeting in December 2007, to elect a Vice President for a three
> > year term of office when the term of office of the President only
> > had six months to run.
> > Rule 11(a) does not require the term of office of the Vice President
> > to be stated, as the rule itself limits the term of office to three years.
> > ********
> > Rule 11. Nomination and election of Vice?President; his duties
> > (a) Within three months of assuming office the President shall
> > nominate the Vice?President subject to confirmation by the
> > General Council. His term of office shall be at the discretion of
> > the President but when the Vice?President has been three years in
> > office that office shall become vacant by the passage of time and
> > the President, within three months, shall again make a nomination
> > and submit it to the General Council. Notwithstanding this provision
> > the Vice?President shall remain in office and his term shall continue
> > until a successor has been nominated and confirmed.
> > The Vice?President in office may be renominated. It shall be his duty,
> > among other things, to carry on the executive functions of the President
> > in case the President is dead or where the Executive Committee finds
> > that he is disabled by accident, serious illness or otherwise from
> > performing the duties of the President.
> > ********
> > The President nominated a new Vice President within three months
> > of assuming office for the new seven year term, the nomination was
> > strictly in accordance with Rule 11(a).
> > The term of office of the new Vice President was not stated in the
> > nomination, so that it always remains at the discretion of the President.
> > The procedure for voting was the same method that has been used for
> > many years, including the nominations in 2007, by postal ballot so that
> > all members of the General Council had the opportunity to cast a vote.
> > The only difference was that as Rule 11(a) did not require three months
> > notice to be given, the election was held from September to October.
> > The Vice President was confirmed by a majority vote and the voting slips
> > were scrutinized and confirmed at the General Council Meeting in December.
> > No objections to the nomination of a Vice President, or to the procedure
> > of voting, were received until after the result was announced. Thirty three
> > members of the General Council voted in the postal ballot, validating the
> > nomination and the voting procedure, by casting a vote and signing their
> > names on a voting slip.
> > The Vice President in office who has dealt with the Rules and Regulations
> > of the Theosophical Society for many years, was one of the first to vote.
> > Rule 11(a) makes no reference to Rule 3. and does not require the
> > Vice President in office to be removed from office before another
> > Vice President can be nominated. Therefore, Rule 3. is irrelevant in
> > the replacement of a Vice President, and if used it would be in serious
> > conflict with Rule 11(a). It would transfer the control of the term of
> > office of the Vice President to the General Council, and it would no
> > longer be at the President's discretion.
> > ********
> > Rule3. Removal of General Council members and officers
> > It shall be competent for the General Council to remove any of its
> > members, or any officer of the Society excepting the President of
> > the Theosophical Society and excepting the General Secretaries of
> > National Societies, by a three?fourths majority of its whole number
> > of members, at a special meeting called for the purpose, of which at
> > least three months' notice shall have been given, the quorum consisting,
> > however, of not fewer than five members.
> > ********
> > The status of the Colombian Section was that it did not qualify for
> > voting rights under Rule 36(d) at the time of the election, as it only
> > had 52 members
> > The status of the South African Section was that it qualified for voting
> > rights at the time of the election as it had 5 lodges and 259 members.
> > The status of the Greek Section was that it qualified for voting rights
> > at the time of the election as it had 6 lodges and 108 members.
> > ********
> > Rule 36(d) Minimum number of members for National Society
> > If at any time the number of members in good standing of a National
> > Society falls below seventy or the number of Lodges (Branches) falls
> > below five the President may, at his discretion withdraw its Charter.
> > In the event of the Charter not being withdrawn, the General Secretary
> > of the Section concerned shall cease to have voting rights as a member
> > of the General Council until the necessary numerical strength is recovered.
> > ********
> > Best wishes
> > Keith
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Anton Rozman" <anton_rozman@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear Keith,
> > >
> > > In regard to the Vice-President's election there seems to exist three important questions, namely: (1) Nomination of the new Vice-President while the old one was still in office (he has not resigned, he has not been removed), (2) Use of `unusual procedure of a postal ballot' for the confirmation of the new Vice-President from the part of the members of the General Council and alleged `irregularities', and (3) Unclear status of the General Council members from South Africa, Colombia and Greece.
> > >
> > > (1) As already said there are in the TS Rules and Regulations two relevant stipulations concerning this issue. Rule 11(a):
> > >
> > > Within three months of assuming office the President shall nominate the Vice-President subject to confirmation by the General Council. His term of office shall be at the discretion of the President ?;
> > >
> > > and Rule 3:
> > >
> > > It shall be competent for the General Council to remove any of its members, or any officer of the Society ? by a three-fourths majority of its whole number of members.
> > >
> > > You already made a comment that:
> > >
> > > Rule 3 is an expulsion rule and would only be used to remove an Officer or Additional Member if they had committed an offence or misdemeanour. This did not apply to the Vice-President in office. A new Vice-President was nominated in accordance with Rule 11(a) ?
> > >
> > > I am afraid that according to such interpretation the Vice-President who commits an offence or misdemeanor has far more rights then a regular Vice-President who can be, at the discretion of the President, taken from the office without any proceedings of the governing body of the TS.
> > >
> > > Maybe, dealing with the "political" (in a sense of the management of public affairs) aspects of the President's decision and the situation after the elections would bring us nearer to the truth.
> > >
> > > Would you like to make any additional comment?
> > >
> > > Warmest regards,
> > > Anton
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application