Make Sure You’re Prepared for Your PTA’s Annual Meeting

By Michael Morgan, Vice President for Leadership Services

Your PTA is required to have an annual association meeting. Your California State PTA Leadership Services Commission is here to help you. A few simple tips will ensure the official business is done correctly and more easily than you might think. 

Publish a Notice About the Meeting

Your PTA board must announce to members the planned business to be conducted at the annual meeting and do so at least 30 days in advance. 

  • Review your bylaws to determine the day and month of your annual meeting and work your way backward in planning from there. 
  • A crucial piece of business at this annual meeting is the election of officers for the coming term. 

The election of officers should be included on the annual association meeting notice whether a nominating committee was or was not elected. As you plan for your annual meeting and particularly for the election, keep these things in mind:

  • The Secretary should bring the current membership list and black pieces of colored paper to use for balloting, should there be multiple candidates for an office.
  • PTA Members eligible to vote must have been members for at least 30 days.
  • Anyone who is nominated from the floor must accept the nomination.
  • For information about the ballot process during a teleconferenced meeting, refer to FAQs for Elections via Teleconference and Google ballot form.

Prepare and Announce the Slate of Nominees

Your PTA will need to post the names of those nominated for office by the nominating committee. This notification must be at least 28 days before the annual meeting. The 28-day allowance takes the short month of February into account, as annual meetings typically happen in March. 

Before notifying the membership of the nominees, the Nominating committee will present its report to the current PTA president. The Nominating Committee Report lists the nominees, the dates the committee met and is signed by all members of the committee. In the event the slate is incomplete or a nominee withdraws, the nominating committee continues its work up to the election and may present a revised report.

If your PTA did not elect a nominating committee, the annual election is still noticed and the election is still conducted. However, with no nominating committee, all nominations are taken from the floor.

Holding the Election

It can be nerve-racking to stand in front of your membership and conduct elections. That’s why we have prepared a guide and script that will take you through it all step by step. We’re going through much of the same information here. 

To start the election, the president follows these steps:

  • Calls the meeting to order and conducts any other business on the agenda.
  • Calls upon the parliamentarian or designee to read from your local PTA bylaws Article V, Sections 1, 2, 4 a, 4 e, 5-8, 11
  • Calls upon the nominating committee chair to read the report of the nominating committee. The president rereads the slate. 
  • For each elected position, open the floor for additional nominations so any member may participate. Nominations from the floor do not require a second. (Be patient if seconds are voiced.) Anyone nominated from the floor must consent to the nomination. When there are no further nominations for the position, the president closes nominations for that position. 
  • The procedure is repeated for each elected officer position, allowing for optimum participation by members. The parliamentarian, nominating committee chair, and/or secretary help record the nominees. After all nominations are closed, the president pauses and quickly confers with the parliamentarian about the nominees for each position. 
  • The president reads the title of each position and its nominees for the association members. 

If there are no nominees for an elected office, the president announces: Any positions not filled at the annual election are considered “vacant positions” to be filled by the board-elect according to the bylaws. 

For the positions with one nominee, the president has two options. 

  • The president may declare these uncontested nominees elected by acclamation: For the positions of x, y, z there is but one nominee. I declare these nominees x, y, z, duly elected by acclamation. Congratulations! 
  • For a voice vote, the president says, For the positions of x, y, z there is but one nominee. We can proceed with a voice vote. All those in favor say aye. All those opposed say no. Congratulations! These candidates have been elected. (as long as the candidate receives one vote they are elected)

When there are multiple nominees for an office, a ballot vote is required (Toolkit: The Election, Ballot Vote). The need for a ballot vote triggers several steps:

  • Each position with its nominees is listed (on a white board or in a manner where members can see or hear names).  An individual ballot vote may be taken for each elected position, or a single ballot may include all contested positions. 
  • The president appoints a tellers’ committee of three members, the first appointee is the chair: If there is no objection, I appoint A, B, and C to serve on the teller committee. Hearing no objection these individuals will serve on the committee. Note: a nominee may not be a teller committee member. 
  • The president asks members eligible to vote to stand, and the tellers count the house. This number will later be compared to the ballot count.
  • The teller committee members distribute one ballot to each member eligible to vote (30-day member status required). The secretary should have the membership list and blank pieces of colored paper to use for balloting ready. 
  • The president restates each office and its nominees, instructing members to carefully and legibly include the name of the office with their preferred candidate on the ballot; ballots are folded one time or in half. 
  • Each voting member then raises their hand, and a teller committee member takes the ballot. Ballots are not passed. Ballots are only handled by tellers. 

During the ballot, there is no conversation or teleconference communication. When all ballots have been collected, the teller committee retires to a location to count ballots. During the tabulation, the president proceeds with the other business of the organization. For the permitted ballot process during a teleconference meeting, refer to FAQs for Elections via Teleconference and Google ballot form.

Determining Who Is Elected

The tellers open each ballot, tally the votes for each office, and record those ballots that are blank or illegible or disqualified when a voter uses an incorrect name. The report is signed by the tellers’ committee members and presented to the president. 

Upon receipt of the teller report, the president determines whether each contested office has a candidate with 50% of the vote. These nominees may be declared elected. For those offices where no candidate received 50% of the vote, another ballot must be taken. At this point the president reports the ballot outcome to the association and the complete tellers’ report is recorded in the minutes. Unless requested, it is not required to orally report the votes received by each candidate. 

The president’s announcement might go something like this:

   There were 24 ballots cast, one was illegible.
   President: Congratulations, Cathy is elected president. (Cathy 13; Mary 10; one blank.)
   Secretary: No nominee received a majority vote. (Denise 7; Sherry 7; Bob 8; one blank.)
   Another ballot vote must be conducted for the position of secretary. 

For contested offices, the ballot vote continues until one candidate receives a majority vote or until candidates withdraw. When a second vote is required, the house must be recounted. 

When the election has concluded, the tellers’ chair makes a motion to destroy all ballots. The president conducts the vote to destroy ballots. Any objections to the election procedures or outcome must be made prior to the meeting’s adjournment. 

The nominating committee process and the notice of who is on the slate emphasize to association members the importance of identifying leaders for the following term. It also alerts association members and current officers that they should recruit qualified nominees. At the annual meeting, nominations from the floor are always in order, regardless of the slate the nominating committee has prepared. The annual election is important. It determines the ongoing viability of your PTA, member engagement, and future successful programs.

Here are additional resources from the California State PTA to help you through the election process: (document revised.)

Nominating Committee: The most important committee of your PTA

By Brad Waller, CA State PTA Parliamentarian

January marks the time to think about the election of your PTA’s nominating committees! 

Your local bylaws determine when your nominating committee should be elected, typically in January or February. The nominating committee election occurs at an association meeting at least two months before the annual election meeting. This timing is important because it:

  • gives the committee one month to identify a slate of PTA officers, 
  • provides time for the 30-day member notice of the annual meeting, and 
  • provides time for the 28-day notice of the slate of nominees. 

The bylaws also indicate how many members are elected to serve on the committee and how many alternates are required.

Why is the nominating committee the most important committee of the PTA? 

They will identify your PTA’s future leaders. Consider the qualifications of the committee members carefully. They must understand and appreciate the school culture and its ethnicities, have knowledge of past PTA accomplishments, and understand who would best advance the work of PTA in your community. Those elected for service must observe strict confidentiality and must be individuals trusted by the community. They must have time to serve, be ready to work as a team, discuss delicate matters, and have an understanding of the roles of the officer positions. In the California State PTA Toolkit Nominations and Elections section, you’ll find additional guidance for the important task of electing the nominating committee:

Two requirements, in particular, ensure an unbiased nomination process. Individuals are ineligible to serve twice (back-to-back) and the president never serves on the committee. The principal, if not elected to serve on the committee, is always a consultant and would be a voting member if serving on the committee. Committee members serve until the annual election meeting.

How does the Nominating Committee do its work?

At its first meeting, the members elect the chair with the parliamentarian’s assistance. If an elected member is unable to attend the first meeting, then an alternate member steps in for the duration of the committee’s work. During discussion, committee members select the most qualified nominees for each position. Ask your PTA’s current officers to provide a short paragraph or outline of their duties or to share their procedure books. 

The committee members can interview candidates as a group or assign teams to conduct interviews. Refer to National PTA’s resources for sample questions and a candidate checklist. When there is ample time, committees may develop and distribute an application to inspire individuals’ interest in serving. Committees may also survey the PTA’s members to determine whom they believe are qualified leaders.

The nominee for president is identified first, then the positions of secretary, treasurer. The other officers follow once the three required positions have been slated. The committee is not obligated to nominate individuals for their preferred positions, nor advance an executive vice president or first vice president to the position of president. The best leaders are adaptable and essential skills apply to all roles. The committee looks for individuals committed to the PTA principles, keeping the names of candidates confidential from other potential candidates. Committee members do not bargain with candidates or waive job duties as described. Nominees for appointed officers and chairs are not included in the work of the committee. After the election, the president-elect makes appointments for these positions, which are ratified by the board-elect.

Once a slate has been agreed upon by the committee, the committee chair notifies the president of the slate, who releases the information no later than 28 days prior to the annual meeting. The committee continues its work if any positions do not have a nominee or should one withdraw. At the election meeting the chair presents the slate to the membership.

Plan now to elect your PTA’s most qualified members to this important committee. The future of your PTA depends on the essential work of the nominating committee today.