What’s all this Proxy business?

voting proxy

Every year, members and clubs have the opportunity to vote on important business matters. These votes have a direct impact on the future of Toastmasters International. It is important that the club officers who have these voting rights on behalf of their club, are prepared in advance for  the Annual Business Meeting on August 28th. This is what Proxy is for, but many of us might have a few questions on what exactly a Proxy is and how the whole process works.

What happens at the Annual Business Meeting?

In the Annual Business Meeting participants have a chance to vote in the International Officer and Director elections, as well as Proposals to amend the Bylaws of Toastmasters International. This year everything will happen online so things will work a little differently.

In 2020, voting will be conducted using an electronic ballot which will be active for 24 hours starting during the Annual Business Meeting on August 28. A training video will be available on the website and live training sessions by the Credentials Committee will be offered from August 23 to August 25.

There will be a Town Hall where the Executive Committee will address questions regarding the proposals that were submitted prior to the recording of the event and there will be a discussion during the Annual Business Meeting.

The voting results for the proposals and elections will be announced on Saturday, August 29, at 6 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) during the Annual Business Meeting Results and President’s Inauguration event.

What are we voting for?

Each active and eligible Toastmasters Club is allowed to cast to votes each for International President, 1st Vice President and Second Vice President and International Directors. Normally, for every position there is two to three candidates which overall adds up to 25- 30 candidates up for election every year, as well as Proposals A and B to amend the Bylaws of Toastmasters International.

How do we vote?

The act of voting is where the Proxies come to be important. Once the club has decided on the way they want to allocate their votes (meaning who they will vote for for each position and how will they vote on the proposals), you must designate a Proxy to vote at the meeting. You can designate a delegate from the club, another active member, or the District Director.

How do we designate a Proxyholder?

  • The club Proxy assignment is done by the Club President or Club Secretary.
  • To assign the club votes, go to Club Central, log in, choose the club(s) you are assigning proxies for, and click on Club Proxy.
  • If you as a President or secretary plans to do the voting on behalf of your Club, you must assign the Proxy for yourself, this is not done automatically.
  • If you are designating the Proxy to a delegate from the club, another active member, or the District Director you must select the kind of Proxy you are assigning.
  • The Credentials process will be conducted online from August 19 to 22. Proxyholders must log into the Toastmasters International website during that time to obtain their Proxy summary report and be validated for access to the electronic ballot.

What kind of Proxies are there?

Instructed Proxy: The club has indicated a preference for particular International Officer and Director candidates and for the proposals; therefore, the Proxyholder must vote as instructed.

Uninstructed Proxy: The club has not indicated a preference for particular candidates and for the proposals. The Proxyholder must vote as they believe is in the best interest of the organization, and their vote must not be governed by any other person, group, or caucus.

How can our club prepare for the vote?

Follow these steps to prepare your club to vote:

  • Encourage members to learn more about the candidates and the proposed amendments.
  • Organize a discussion at an upcoming meeting about the support of Proposals A and B and which candidates best meet the needs of Toastmasters International.

If club officers want to reach out to the candidates, they can through the candidates’ campaign websites or campaign social media profiles.

How does the DD prepare for the vote?

The District Trio prepare themselves very well in order to cast their votes and the votes of the uninstructed Proxies that have been assigned to them, this way they can vote in a way that represents the best interests of the organization. They inform themselves on the long term interests of the organization and know the strategic interests of the District and how to achieve them.

The trio read the proposals for the amendments very carefully and conducts 30 minute interviews with all the candidates,  they invent a lot of time to interview the candidates, from a point of view of our District and Region. After that they have a discussion about who to vote for.

Which resources can we use to prepare?

Anyone who plans to exercise the vote on behalf of a Club, should be prepared to make a decision that will benefit our District and the organization overall. And as we come closer to the due date, we hope this article helps you all to go ahead and assign your Proxy and exercise your right to vote.

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