The Electoral Commission appointed by the Board of Trustees of Croquet England in April 2023 will revise these Rules in due course. The first elections for charity trustees will be held in the period leading up to the AGM of the Organisation in October 2025.
It is not anticipated that there will be major changes, other than in the terminology. For example, the term "Individual Member of the Association" (meaning a person who is a member of the CA either because they pay a subscription directly to it for e.g. Premium membership, or because they have chosen to be a Standard member through membership of a Member Club) will be changed to "Member of the Organisation" (meaning a person who is an Associate of Croquet England, either because they pay a subscription directly to the Organisation or because they have chosen to be a Standard Associate through membership of a Affiliated Club, and has signed and submitted the required declaration relating to voting). Further, by way of example, the elections will no longer be for "voting members of the Council" but will be for the "elected charity trustees"
By-elections will no longer be required because the charity trustees have the power to appoint a new trustee in place of a charity trustee who ceases to hold office for any of the reasons specified in the Constitution (e.g. resignation, death, disability or removal).
1. Election Timetable
1.1 The Electoral Commission shall determine when elections for voting members of Council are needed. It shall set closing dates for nominations and voting in any ballot required so that the voting members of Council elected in any scheduled election are known no later than 28 days before the date fixed for the Annual General Meeting at which they will take up office.
1.2 In the case of a by-election, a call for nominations shall be issued within 3 months of the vacancy occurring.
1.3 The timetable for an election may be changed if there are special circumstances making it necessary to do so.
1.4 At least 56 days shall be allowed for nominations to be made and at least 21 days for voting.
2. The Returning Officer
2.1 The Electoral Commission shall appoint some suitable person, who may or may not be an Officer or a member of the Association, to act as Returning Officer in an election.
2.2 The Returning Officer shall be responsible for recording nominations, preparation, distribution and receipt of ballot papers, the operation of any electronic voting system, the scrutiny and counting of votes cast and the declaration of the result of the election.
2.3 The Returning Officer shall appoint two scrutineers who shall not be members of Council and may appoint one or more people to assist him or her.
2.4 The Returning Officer shall be responsible for the hearing and determination of any appeal against any irregularity made pursuant to paragraph 11.2 hereof and may make such arrangements for the hearing and determination of any appeal as he or she may, in his or her absolute discretion, decide.
2.5 The Returning Officer may, after hearing any appeal against any irregularity, either dismiss the appeal or declare the election invalid and order a new election or make such recommendation to the Council as he or she may think fit.
3. Call for Nominations
3.1 The Returning Officer shall publish the names of the constituencies for which elections for a voting member or members are to be held; the number of vacancies in each of those constituencies; the timetable for the election and an invitation for nominations.
4. Eligibility for Nomination
4.1 A candidate must be an Individual Member of the Association habitually resident in the Home Area of the Association.
4.2 A candidate must be proposed and seconded by Individual Members of the Association registered to vote in the constituency in which he or she is standing for election and must have agreed to stand.
4.3 A candidate for re-election or at a by-election must meet the condition in clause 18(e) of the Constitution (which provides that a member may serve for a maximum of three terms consecutively, following which he or she shall be ineligible for three years).
4.4 No person may be a candidate in more than one constituency at the same time.
5. Nomination Procedure
5.1 Nominations shall be e-mailed to returning.officer#croquet.org.uk, identifying the constituency, the person nominated, and their proposer and seconder. A personal statement, of no more than 300 words, may be attached for publication.
5.2 The e-mail shall be copied to the Secretary(s) of the Federation(s) making up the constituency, to enable the Federations to comply with their responsibility to ensure that at least the required number of suitably qualified candidates is nominated (set out in paragraph 18(d) of the Constitution) and publish the nomination on their website. The Returning Officer shall inform the Federation Secretary(s) whether or not the nomination is valid after checking it.
6. Entitlement to Vote
6.1 Every Individual Member of the Association who has attained the age of 16 shall be entitled to vote in an election in the constituency in which he or she is registered to vote, as recorded in the Association's membership database.
6.2 Members may set or change the constituency in which they are registered to vote, subject to any restrictions imposed for operational reasons or to prevent suspected abuse.
7. Ballot Procedure
7.1 When a ballot becomes necessary, the Returning Officer shall configure and publicise any electronic voting system and distribute, or make available, ballot papers to all of the Individual Members of the Association entitled to vote in the constituency using such means as to him or her shall seem fit.
7.2 The Returning Officer shall publish any personal statement submitted by each of the candidates whose name appears on the ballot paper.
7.3 The Returning Officer shall specify the date by which votes must be cast electronically or ballot papers returned to him or her at the specified address. Ballot papers must be signed and contain the voter's membership number or address. They may be returned by post or by such other means as the Returning Officer may specify, including an email from a registered address.
8. Method of Voting
8.1 Each voter shall have one transferable vote.
8.2 Each voter must indicate his or her first preference, by following the instructions in an electronic voting application or with the figure 1 on a ballot paper.
8.3 The order of a voter's preference for some or all of the other candidates may also be indicated. In an electronic voting application, the instructions should be followed. On a ballot paper, distinct figures, ranging from 2 up to the number of candidates for which an order of
preference is to be indicated, should be placed against the names of those candidates; lower figures indicate higher preferences.
9. Valid and Invalid Votes
9.1 An electronic vote or a ballot paper on which a first or only preference is expressed unambiguously shall be valid.
9.2 An electronic vote or a ballot paper on which no first or only preference is expressed or on which any first preference is void for uncertainty shall be invalid.
9.3 A ballot paper which does not bear the signature and name and the address, or membership number, of the voter shall be invalid.
10. Counting the Votes
10.1 The Returning Officer shall examine the ballot papers returned to him or her and shall count them in order to determine the total number of votes cast.
10.2 The Returning Officer shall then identify and set aside any invalid ballot papers; count them and subtract the number of them from the total number of votes cast to get the total valid vote.
10.3 The Returning Officer shall examine the valid ballot papers and shall sort them into parcels according to the first preference recorded for each candidate and record the total number of first preference votes recorded for each candidate.
10.4 The Returning Officer shall then calculate the quota by dividing the total valid vote by one more than the number of places to be filled.
10.5 The Returning Officer shall then consider each candidate in turn in descending order of their votes and deem elected any candidate whose vote equals or exceeds the quota.
10.6 The Returning Officer shall thus complete the first stage of the count and shall proceed to distribute the surpluses of any elected candidate so as to give effect to the next available preferences and to transfer the votes of the excluded candidates with the fewest votes, in accordance with the detailed instructions for the counting of votes set out in the guide published and made available on line by the Electoral Reform Society entitled "How to Conduct an Election by the Single Transferable Vote" (3rd edition 1997).
10.7 The Returning Officer may use any electronic means which he or she is satisfied will produce, or assist in producing, the same result as the procedure set out above.
11. Defects in the Ballot Procedure
11.1 Accidental failure to deliver or make available electronic voting or a ballot paper in due time or at all to a member entitled to vote shall not invalidate an election or be treated as an irregularity unless a substantial number of members entitled to vote were unable to do so in due time.
11.2 A member who alleges that there has been or may have been an irregularity in the election may within 14 days after the declaration of the result appeal to the Returning Officer. Subject to any order made by the Returning Officer on appeal, no irregularity shall invalidate an election.