From Rose Wilkinson, Returning Officer

Blind Citizens NZ’s 2023 Board election is for two Member at Large positions. In alphabetical order by surname, individuals whose terms conclude at the end of this year’s Annual General Meeting and Conference (13-14 October) are Andrea Courtney and Paula Waby.

Call for nominations

Rule 10 Elections, clause 10.1, directs Blind Citizens NZ in its election procedures. In publicising this year’s scheduled election and the call for nominations, members are advised that:

  • people currently in these positions are eligible for re-election;
  • the term of office for both positions is three years;
  • successful candidates will commence their term immediately following the conclusion of this year’s Annual General Meeting and Conference (13-14 October);
  • the election for the two positions happens at the same time, by a ballot of all eligible Ordinary (voting) Members;
  • nomination forms and | or email nomination procedures are available upon request from National Office.

Anyone standing for election should take the time to ask for, and become familiar with, the duties and responsibilities of Blind Citizens NZ’s Board Members. This information identifies the skills, experience and knowledge needed as a Board Member. Additionally, the Board has recently finished its evaluation of skills and attributes to identify what it needs of Board Members standing for election in this year’s election. 

The Board emphasises the importance of the following skills and attributes for anyone standing for election and encourages individuals to identify these in their CV:

  • Board Members are required to be well-prepared for Board Meetings and to be aware of the time-commitment involved. This involves reading meeting agendas of around 150 pages (or more) in length.
  • The Board is always looking for people who have financial skills, who will focus at a governance level, and who have community and stakeholder connections.

To be eligible for nomination for any position, you must:

a. live in New Zealand; and

b. for at least 24 months of the past five years up to and including 24 August 2023, have been a (financial) Ordinary Member of Blind Citizens NZ.

Nominations require two people to support you i.e. move and second your nomination. There are two ways nominations can be completed and submitted. You can use a paper form, or the email process. If using the paper form, signatures of all three members involved in the nomination are required. Email procedures similarly require the same people to confirm their respective role in the nomination process. If you choose the email procedure, you are required to contact the Returning Officer at National Office prior to commencing this process. This is important, as there are instructions unique to the email procedure that must be followed. The email procedure mirrors requirements for the paper-based option as closely as possible.

Ordinary Members, financial as at 24 August 2023, are eligible to stand for election to these two positions. 

The closing date for nominations is 4pm Thursday 24 August 2023. Candidates are required to provide their CV at the same time as their nomination is submitted to the Returning Officer. Nominations and CVs should be sent to the Returning Officer at one of the following:

Once nominations close, ifthe maximum number of nominations for the two positions is received, no election will be needed. Candidates will be declared elected unopposed. Should nominations exceed the number of positions being elected, an election will then be held. 

Voting in the election

Ballot material (names of people standing for election, information they have provided about themselves etc.), will be sent to all Ordinary Members recorded as financial on the member database at National Office as at 4pm, Thursday 24 August 2023. No later than Thursday 14 September 2023, ballot material will be distributed in the voting member’s preferred format.

When does voting close? Completed ballots (votes cast by voting members) must be received at National Office no later than 4.00 pm, Tuesday 3 October 2023. Vote counting will take place no later than Wednesday 11 October 2023.

Ways to cast your vote in Blind Citizens NZ’s election: there are several options available for members to participate in the election process. Election (ballot) material about candidates standing for election is available in large print, audio, Braille, by email, and via our National Feedback Line bulletin on TellMe. If you are in any doubt about what your preferred communication option is to receive information and vote in Blind Citizens NZ’s election, please contact our National Office to check.

You choose your preferred voting option: When voting in Blind Citizens NZ elections, you can choose one of three options. It is important to remember that the way you vote, can be different from the way you choose to receive your election (ballot) material. 

You can cast your vote using the large print form, the Braille-card option, or TellMe. For many reasons we encourage members to try TellMe. This offers a truly independent, confidential, and empowering voting experience. Using TellMe means you can independently do all the things you need to do in an election – you hear about the candidates standing for election, and you can cast your vote. 

Casting your vote by TellMe means you are in control. This includes certainty that your vote will be received by the due date and time. There is no worrying about whether a postal ballot will reach its destination in time to be counted. 

Postal votes offer less certainty that your vote will arrive by the close of voting. If you would like to know more about using TellMe and casting your vote using this option, please contact our National Office.