The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross



An election of chapter officers in Beta Sigma Phi is a very special activity. There are two phases to be considered in an election, and both of them are important.

Perhaps the first thing that occurs to the members of a chapter in nominating and electing officers is an expression of confidence and trust for the members nominated and elected to each office. That confidence and trust must work both ways. The members of the chapter must not only have confidence in their candidates, the candidates must also have confidence in the members of the chapter. They must feel that the members of the chapter will accept their leadership and support them in it in every possible way.

The second phase to be considered is the mechanics of the election process itself, and it is here that a chapter can defeat its own purposes most easily. Even though the election process should be and is very simple, the technical matters are sometimes overlooked, producing uncertain results, and to some extent a sense of dissatisfaction among members of the chapter.

In very large organizations, elections can be a very complicated thing, and must be hedged all around with safeguards and complicated procedures. That is not the case in Beta Sigma Phi chapters. In a Beta Sigma Phi chapter, the election of officers should be a simple and direct expression in the most democratic way possible of the will of the majority of members of the chapter.

It is highly recommended that this information about election procedures be retained in the chapter's permanent record book to be read at each occasion when an election is about to take place, so that each member will have a full understanding of the procedure.


Nominations shall be made from the floor at the second regular meeting in March each year. At this meeting, the President shall call for nominations from the floor, and nominations shall be made for each office--beginning with the President and proceeding through the Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, and Extension Officer. City Council representatives may also be elected at this same meeting. City Council Representatives are not chapter officers.

In considering members for nomination, every care should be taken to avoid nominating a member who is eligible for the next higher degree, and if holding office would delay her progression to that degree (if she plans to progress into a chapter of a higher degree.)

Any active voting member is entitled to make a nomination.

A nomination does not need to be seconded.

No one member, except by general consent of the entire group, can nominate more than one member until after all members of the group have had the opportunity to nominate.

After nominations have been made, the President should ask, "Are there further nominations? Hearing none, the nominations are closed." A motion may be made to close the nominations. It must be seconded and passed by a two-thirds vote.

A vote shall be taken on each office in turn. The vote for each office shall be held immediately after the nominations for that office have been closed. The vote shall be by secret ballot and it shall require a majority of the votes cast to elect.

The nominations and voting for each office shall be complete before the nominations for the next office begin.

Discussion of each candidate shall be limited to a three-minute speech by the member placing that candidate's name in nomination.

In the event only one nomination is made for any office, the vote for that office may be taken by voice or by show of hands.

When ballots are required, they shall be collected by two tellers appointed by the President. They will immediately count the ballots and write the results on a piece of paper, followed by their signatures, which shall immediately be given to the President. The President shall then announce the result of the ballot. In the event no candidate has received a majority, another ballot shall be taken. If there are more than two candidates, only the two having the largest number of votes on the first ballot shall be included for the second ballot.

At the conclusion of each balloting, the tellers will place the ballots in envelopes, which shall be sealed and retained by the Secretary for 30 days.

In the event that any member feels there is an irregularity in any phase of the election, she shall make it known to the chapter immediately. The chapter may, at its discretion and upon a majority vote, declare the election for a specific office, or for the entire slate of officers, null and void if it finds there was an irregularity in election procedures which would invalidate the election of any officer or of all officers.

Such an irregularity would be
 (1) a miscount of ballots
 (2) nomination and election of a member ineligible by reason of inactivity on the International Roster
 (3) Leave of Absence
 (4) Member-at-Large status locally

Failure to follow prescribed election procedures, if such failure could affect the outcome of the election, would also constitute an irregularity and of which the election could be contested.

A ballot cast for anyone who has not been nominated shall be treated as a blank ballot.

Ballots cast for an ineligible person shall be treated as a blank ballot.

Failure to contest the election before the meeting at which the election is held is adjourned, expresses tacit approval. No election may be contested at any time for any reason after the meeting at which the election is held is adjourned.

If the procedures listed above are followed, the election will be a true expression of the will of the majority of the chapter. No matter how fine and capable she is, not every candidate can be elected. An election of officers is not a popularity contest; and so failure of a candidate to be elected should not under any circumstances be thought to reflect upon her or upon those who have nominated and supported her.

To be nominated for office is a high honor. Candidates who have not been elected and those who have supported them should take the lead in offering congratulations and support to those who have been elected.

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