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Q&A: Are Church Members Allowed to Insert "Write-in" Candidates?

Along with turning to your version of parliamentary procedure, you should consult two other legal resources.

Last Reviewed: March 8, 2022

Our church bylaws state:

All nominees for the office of deacon shall be chosen from the membership of the church and must be nominated by a nominating committee of seven members appointed by the pastor and church board. A list of all nominees shall be distributed to all members on the night of the election.

During our annual church business meeting, one member asserted that write-in ballots are always permissible. He insisted he was right, and also stated that both state law and parliamentary procedure allow it.

Was he right? Do members have a right under state law or parliamentary procedure to insert “write-in” candidates on their ballots when this is not authorized by our bylaws?

There are several published versions of parliamentary procedure. Many churches use Robert Rules of Order, Newly Revised, which contains the following brief mention of write-in voting:

If the bylaws require ...

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  • July 1, 2009
  • Last Reviewed: March 8, 2022

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