Is it true that Elections are being held now for the Board of Directors of the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California (the “Temple”)?
Why is this Election being held now? Who decided to call this Election?
The last Temple Board of Directors Election was held more than 20 years ago, despite the Temple’s Bylaws stating that Board Elections are to be held every two years. The current Board voted to remedy this by calling an election for all eleven Board seats, in order to put the Temple and its governance on a regular, forward-looking footing.
Important decisions regarding the Temple and its Members need to be made, including financial decisions and decisions on who to formally admit as new (voting) Members, especially devotees who have been participating in Temple activities for some time as non-Members. The current Board believes that it should not be making those decisions. Instead, those decisions should be made – and need to be made – by a newly-elected Board that possesses the democratic legitimacy that comes from having been freshly elected in a fair, transparent, and properly run Election managed by independent persons. The current Board believes that the most urgent matter for the Temple is to elect a new Board, which will be able to make those important decisions. The current Board believes that delaying or dragging out the Election process would leave the current Board in charge for an extended period, making important decisions that should be made by a new Board.
What is the current Board’s role in the Election?
None, other than calling the Election, appointing an independent Election Commissioner to run the Election and certify the results, and an independent company to manage the logistics of conducting the Election, and approving the entire Election process that was recommended by those independent parties, including putting all eleven Board seats up for Election. In addition, the Board approved two amendments to the Bylaws, one to allow for the Election to be held in the current circumstances (e.g., to elect all eleven Board seats in this Election, instead of only three Board seats every two years under the pre-existing Bylaw election provision), and the second to update the Bylaws to the 21st century, by making it clear that electronic communications and meetings are permitted, instead of only “mail and telegraph” communication and in-person meetings as stated in the pre-existing Bylaws.
What is the timing of the Election process?
The Board met on June 14, 2021 and voted to call the Election. On June 21, 2021, a Notice of the Election and instructions on how to nominate candidates for the eleven Board seats was delivered to the US Postal Service, which mailed the Notice on June 23, 2021 to Temple Members. The document that was mailed to each Member was approved by the independent Election Commissioner. A website (nomination.malibuhindutemple.org
) was simultaneously opened so that Members can nominate themselves or another Member as a candidate for the Board seats. The website contains space for each candidate to submit a Qualifications Statement, which will be included in the Election materials that will be mailed, with the ballots, to Members.
All nominations are due by July 4, 2021. Shortly thereafter, a mailing will go to the Members, which will include the ballot, Election materials with the names of the candidates and their Qualifications Statements, and a stamped, pre-addressed ballot return envelope to be used by Members in submitting their ballots. The ballot return envelopes will be sent to a US Post Office Box. The Election Commissioner is the only person with a key to that US Post Office Box. All ballots are due by July 28, 2021. The Election Commissioner and an employee of the independent company managing the logistics of the Election will, sitting together, count and recount all ballots submitted by Members. On July 29, 2021, the Election Commissioner will certify and announce the results of the Election.
How was it decided who the Temple Members are?
The official list of Temple Members is old, but there is no newer list that even exists. One of the first tasks of the newly-elected Board is almost certain to be: determining how best to implement the updating of the list of Temple Members. Like many other membership organizations, only the Temple’s Board of Directors has the ability to admit new Members. The current Board decided that only the newly-elected Board – not the current Board, elected two decades ago –would have the democratic legitimacy to decide who should be admitted as new Members.
What mailing address was used to send out the Notice of Election to Members?
Two sources were used. Four months ago, a mailing went out asking Members to confirm or to update their contact information. For those who responded, the address they confirmed or updated was used for the Notice of Election mailing. For those who did not respond, their addresses, as shown in the official list of Members, was used. As with updating the list of Temple Members, one of the first tasks of the newly-elected Board is almost certain to be: determining how best to implement the updating of Temple Members’ contact information.
Can I look at the list of Members so that I may obtain their phone numbers and addresses?
Yes, you are welcome to look at the list of Members. Without their consent, however, the Temple cannot make available to you the Members’ personal information, including phone numbers and addresses, in view of privacy issues. To schedule a time to see the list of Members, please email the Temple at firstname.lastname@example.org
I haven’t received the Notice of Election because the Temple only has my former address, and I have not updated my contact information with the Temple. Can I update my contact information now, so that I can receive a ballot and vote in the Election?
Yes. To update your contact information, go to https://members.malibuhindutemple.org
, log-on, and enter your new contact information. In case you can’t log-on because your zip code does not match the one in the Temple records (try both current and former zip codes), go to https://members.malibuhindutemple.org/new-user-signup/
and upload your ID. If you use the upload-ID method, the Election Commissioner will review your information and either approve or, only in case of an abnormality, disapprove your proposed change. The Election Commissioner’s decision will be final. Please note that the last day for updating your contact information is July 3, 2021. Your new contact information will be used for mailing you the ballot, Election information, and return envelope.