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It’s election time! And, no, we don’t mean THAT election. We mean electing new leaders for your parent group.
Whether you’re faced with ushering in an entirely new board or just bringing in a few new officers to fill vacant positions, part of wrapping up before summer is establishing the leadership for your PTO/PTA for the coming year. We’ve put together this guide to help ease the stress of nominating, voting and transitioning in these newly elected board members.
For a brief and helpful guide on the basics of PTO/PTA elections, we encourage you to look through this blog post and put some of these tips to good use (including the free promotional flyer!).
1. When should we hold elections?
The nomination process typically kicks off in March and elections should take place in April. It’s best to start getting information out early and to provide important dates and what positions need to be filled (including how many vacancies for each position if it is shared between multiple officers; i.e., co-presidents, a communication team, more than one treasurer).
2. How do we get candidates to run for a position?
It’s a really good idea to establish a nomination committee that is tasked with promoting the elections and actively seeking/recruiting candidates.
3. Who gets to vote?
This is determined by your parent group bylaws. Voting may be limited to members who pay dues (typical for PTAs), or it might just be parents/teachers who attend the meeting the day of the election. Administrators/school staff do not usually vote in parent group officer elections.
4. Should the election be in-person or online?
While digital voting (i.e., via email) may seem efficient, it can actually complicate and slow down the election process. Not only must the votes be verified that they came from a member who is eligible to vote, but this process can also easily be manipulated in a way that voting by an in-person paper ballot cannot.
5. What happens if we have a tie?
In the case of a tie, it is best to first recount the votes to make sure and then to have a revote. It is also a good idea, especially for small groups, to talk with the candidates about potentially co-chairing the position or for one of them to fill a different position if any are available.
6. Should candidates give a speech/campaign?
Sure! Giving candidates a few minutes to speak during the election meeting is always a good practice. If they choose to campaign for votes outside of the election meeting that is typically fine as well, as long as they are not partaking in bashing the opposing candidate(s) (such action would make it apparent that they should not be on the PTO/PTA board!).
7. How should we tally the votes?
It’s not recommended that you use the nominating committee to count the ballots. Ideally, have another committee (2-3 people who are not officers or running for a position) to tally the ballots.
8. When/how should we announce the results?
Announce the results immediately after they are tallied to those who attended the election meeting. New officers should also be given an introduction to the school/parents who could not attend through the parent group bulletin board, a newsletter, or even through a fun video that is played during morning announcements.
1. Form a nominating committee and ask teachers/administrators for recommendations of potential candidates who you can reach out to.
2. Use flyers, newsletters, the parent group bulletin board and personal, one-on-one conversations to get parents to nominate themselves for open positions.
3. Schedule important meeting dates: Nomination meeting, Election meeting, and Post-election meeting for the newly elected officers to get to know the group and their responsibilities.
4. Establish which positions need to be filled and how many people it will take to fill them. Also, use this time to consider if positions should be co-chaired or filled by a team.
5. Re-evaluate open positions and see if there is a way to break down responsibilities into smaller projects/committees.
6. Provide new officers with necessary information, tools, and resources (including people who have held that positon before) to help them transition.
Free (Customizable) PTO Election Flyer
Click the image below to download the customizable flyer!