Section VII. Branches
C. Polling Procedures
The Crown may poll any land group at any given time for any reason they see fit. The Heirs may poll any land group at any given time for any reason they see fit with the permission of The Crown. Polling processes mandated by East Kingdom Law must adhere to the following criteria.
1. A gentle may participate in the polling who:
a. Holds a current Society membership. Any gentle who joins the SCA or cures a lapse in Society membership during a polling process will not be sent a ballot but may obtain one from the Officer administering the poll, if they provide proof of Society membership and residence.
b. Resides within the formally approved boundaries of the branch.
2. Ballots and the Polling Process
a. The members of a branch must be polled by ballots mailed via the postal system.
i. Ballots must be prepared by the Local Seneschal in accordance with one of the Kingdom ballot templates (available on the Documents page of the Kingdom Seneschal’s website), and be approved by the Kingdom Seneschal or his appointed Deputy.
ii. Expenses of preparing and mailing the ballots will be borne by the branch. However, a branch may petition the Kingdom Seneschal and the East Kingdom Council of the Exchequer to have the costs covered by the Kingdom.
iii. Ballots must be mailed to the voting members no less than 30 days but no more than 45days before the closing date of the polling.
iv. A voting member may obtain a ballot from the Local Seneschal if one was not received by mail.
b. Ballots must be printed with:
i. A statement of the purpose of the polling.
ii. The closing date of the polling.
iii. Instructions for completing and returning the ballot.
iv. The recipient and address to which the completed ballots must be returned.
v. A choice of statements allowing the ballot recipient to certify whether or not they are at least fourteen years of age.
vi. A list of candidates or choices, including the option to abstain.
vii. Spaces for the ballot recipient to fill in their Society membership number and legal name.
viii. A space for the ballot recipient’s legal signature.
c. For ballots to be counted, they must:
i. Be returned to the Branch Polling Deputy and received, in a sealed envelope, by the closing date of the polling as printed on the ballot.
ii. Be properly completed and signed with the voting member’s legal name legibly printed on it.
d. At a minimum, ballots will be tallied by the Branch Polling Deputy, a Regional Seneschal, and the Kingdom Seneschal (or designate). Talliers must not reside in the branch conducting the polling or have any other conflict of interest regarding the polling. Returned ballots may only be viewed by the talliers, the Kingdom Seneschal and/or the Kingdom Seneschal’s designates, and The Crown.
e. At least one-half (50%) of the polled members must respond to the polling for a polling to be considered valid. If a polling fails to be valid by this criterion, the disposition of the polling falls to The Crown.
i. Properly executed ballots from members less than 14 years old shall count to establish the polling validity.
ii. Only properly executed ballots from members 14 years old or more shall count toward the preference tally.
iii. Any ballot returned by a member which is not properly executed shall be declared invalid and shall not count at all.
f. For pollings in which a single-choice ballot template is used, the outcome of the polling will be determined by a simple majority of valid returned ballots. If a polling fails to result in such a simple majority, the disposition of the polling falls to The Crown.
g. The results of the polling must be reported to The Crown and Kingdom Seneschal within three weeks of the closing date of the polling.
h. Upon The Crown’s receipt of the results of the polling, The Crown has four weeks to inform the Kingdom Seneschal, the Seneschal of the polled barony, the polled barony’s current Territorial Baron/Baroness, and the newly-selected successor(s) which of the candidate(s) presented in the poll has been selected to be the next Baron/Baroness. Should the four-week period overlap the Coronation of Their Heirs, the current Crown may either make the selection, or defer to the Heirs. If the selection is deferred, the new Crown shall make the selection within four weeks after their Coronation.
i. The selection of a Baronial Seat once made shall be binding regardless of the date of the Baronial Investiture.
j. If the Kingdom Seneschal and The Crown agree that a variance from this process is reasonable and will not impact the integrity of the process, one may be granted.
a. Proxies are not valid for use in any polling mandated by East Kingdom Law.
b. The use of proxies in local voting is discouraged. However, if local policy or custom allows their use, proxies must:
i. Be signed and legibly printed with the signatory’s legal name.
ii. Be dated.
iii. Be worded for use for one or several specific issues that will be addressed at a specific date or meeting.
iv. Be accompanied by proof of the signatory’s Society membership, if local policy or custom requires Society membership for the matter being voted upon