For the sake of voters everywhere, I’d like to sing the praises of tellers: Being a good teller is plain old hard work, requiring the perfect mix of caution and confidence. Where and how does a teller assure voters of her diligence? In a tellers report.
A Tellers Report Should Never Omit the Essentials
Let’s be clear about one thing: A tellers report should not be a few numbers scribbled on the back of a Target receipt you just found at the bottom of your purse. A tellers report gives the voting membership confidence that all of the votes cast were both counted and properly accounted for.
With this in mind, a tellers report should include the following categories of information for each vote taken:
- Number of votes cast
- Number of votes necessary for election
- Number of votes received by each candidate or position
- Number of illegal votes and the reason they are illegal
A Tellers Report Should Never Include Extra Information
A tellers report should be complete and informative, yes. (See my last point.) But there’s no need to get verbose. Specifically, there’s no need to include the number of members eligible to vote or the number of members abstaining.
Unless your governing documents say that a certain vote or election needs a majority of the entire membership to pass, the number of members eligible to vote is irrelevant. You’re only interested in the number of members that actually voted.
And the number of abstentions are in the generally irrelevant category, too.
A Tellers Report Should Always Appear in the Minutes
The tellers report is part of the official business transacted at a meeting. That means that it becomes part of the official record of the meeting – the minutes.
Just so we’re on the same page, when I say that the tellers report should go in the minutes, I mean all of the report. Not just one line about who won the election or which proposal was adopted. All. Of. It. Number of votes cast, number of votes necessary to win, number of votes received by each candidate or position, and number of illegal votes. The whole thing.
Maybe you’re thinking, TMI? Or maybe you’re feeling sorry for the people who lost and you’re thinking, why do we need to make a permanent record for all time of that sad event? Yeah, this isn’t the time for those thoughts.
Complete info – full record – the whole shebang – this is a good thing in teller reports. Recounts and re-dos are real when it comes to ballot votes, and you need a solid record of how you arrived at the winner the first time.
If you’re a teller, do it right. Create voter confidence by counting ballots confidently yourself. Then, draft a record that’s got all the right info and none of the superfluous stuff. It’s a win-win in every respect – for you, the victor, the voters, and yes, even an unsuccessful candidate.