Jump directly to the Content

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 ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • July 1, 2009
  • Last Reviewed: March 8, 2022

Related ResourcesVisit Store

50-State Public Accommodations Laws Report
50-State Public Accommodations Laws Report
How statutes and court decisions across the country do - or don't affect churches
Church Governance
Church Governance
What leaders must know to conduct legally sound church business.
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy
Church leaders and boards can take relatively simple, yet effective steps to reduce the likelihood of child sexual abuse.
Board Member Orientation
Board Member Orientation
The concise and complete guide to nonprofit board service