The House of Delegates is the legislative and policy-making body of the Association. It is composed of elected representatives and others as provided in the Bylaws. The House of Delegates transacts all business of the Association not otherwise specifically provided for in this Constitution and Bylaws and elects the officers except as otherwise provided in the Bylaws.
3.2.1 General. An officer, except the public trustee, must have been an active member of the AMA for at least 2 years immediately prior to election.
3.4.1 Time of Election. Officers of the AMA, except the Secretary, the medical student trustee, and the public trustee, shall be elected by the House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting, except as provided in Bylaws 3.6 and 3.7. The public trustee may be elected at any meeting of the House of Delegates at which the Selection Committee for the Public Trustee submits a nomination for approval by the House of Delegates. On recommendation of the Committee on Rules and Credentials, the House of Delegates shall set the day and hour of such election. The Medical Student Section shall elect the medical student trustee in accordance with Bylaw 3.5.6.
3.4.2 Method of Election. Where there is no contest, a majority vote without ballot shall elect. All other elections shall be by ballot.
220.127.116.11 At-Large Trustees.
18.104.22.168.1 First Ballot. All nominees for the office of At-Large Trustee shall be listed alphabetically on a single ballot. Each elector shall have as many votes as the number of Trustees to be elected, and each vote must be cast for a different nominee. No ballot shall be counted if it contains fewer or more votes than the number of Trustees to be elected, or if the ballot contains more than one vote for any nominee. A nominee shall be elected if he or she has received a vote on a majority of the legal ballots cast and is one of the nominees receiving the largest number of votes within the number of Trustees to be elected.
22.214.171.124.2 Runoff Ballot. A runoff election shall be held to fill any vacancy not filled because of a tie vote.
126.96.36.199.3 Subsequent Ballots. If all vacancies for Trustees are not filled on the first ballot and 3 or more Trustees are still to be elected, the number of nominees on subsequent ballots shall be reduced to no more than twice the number of remaining vacancies less one. The nominees on subsequent ballots shall be determined by retaining those who received the greater number of votes on the preceding ballot and eliminating the nominee(s) who received the fewest votes on the preceding ballot, except where there is a tie. When 2 or fewer Trustees are still to be elected, the number of nominees on subsequent ballots shall be no more than twice the number of remaining vacancies, with the nominees determined as indicated in the preceding sentence. In any subsequent ballot the electors shall cast as many votes as there are Trustees yet to be elected, and must cast each vote for different nominees. This procedure shall be repeated until all vacancies have been filled.
188.8.131.52 All Other Officers, except the Medical Student Trustee and the Public Trustee. All other officers, except the medical student trustee and the public trustee, shall be elected separately. A majority of the legal votes cast shall be necessary to elect. In case a nominee fails to receive a majority of the legal votes cast, the nominees on subsequent ballots shall be determined by retaining the 2 nominees who received the greater number of votes on the preceding ballot and eliminating the nominee(s) who received the fewest votes on the preceding ballot, except where there is a tie. This procedure shall be continued until one of the nominees receives a majority of the legal votes cast.
184.108.40.206 Medical Student Trustee. The medical student trustee is elected by the Medical Student Section in accordance with Bylaw 3.5.6.
220.127.116.11 Public Trustee. The public trustee shall be elected separately. The nomination for the public trustee shall be submitted to the House of Delegates by the Selection Committee for the Public Trustee. Nominations from the floor shall not be accepted. A majority vote of delegates present and voting shall be necessary to elect.
Council on Constitution and Bylaws, Council on Medical Education, Council on Medical Service, and Council on Science and Public Health
6.8.1 Nomination and Election. Members of these Councils, except the medical student member, shall be elected by the House of Delegates. Nominations shall be made by the Board of Trustees and may also be made from the floor by a member of the House of Delegates.
18.104.22.168 Separate Election. The resident/fellow physician member of these Councils shall be elected separately. A majority of the legal votes cast shall be necessary to elect. In case a nominee fails to receive a majority of the legal votes cast, the nominees on subsequent ballots shall be determined by retaining the 2 nominees who received the greater number of votes on the preceding ballot and eliminating the nominee(s) who received the fewest votes on the preceding ballot, except where there is a tie. This procedure shall be continued until one of the nominees receives a majority of the legal votes cast.
22.214.171.124 Other Council Members. With reference to each such Council, all nominees for election shall be listed alphabetically on a single ballot. Each elector shall have as many votes as there are members to be elected, and each vote must be cast for a different nominee. No ballot shall be counted if it contains fewer votes or more votes than the number of members to be elected, or if the ballot contains more than one vote for any nominee. A nominee shall be elected if he or she has received a vote on a majority of the legal ballots cast and is one of the nominees receiving the largest number of votes within the number of members to be elected.
126.96.36.199 Run-Off Ballot. A run-off election shall be held to fill any vacancy that cannot be filled because of a tie vote.
188.8.131.52 Subsequent Ballots. If all vacancies are not filled on the first ballot and 3 or more members of the Council are still to be elected, the number of nominees on subsequent ballots shall be reduced to no more than twice the number of remaining vacancies less one. The nominees on subsequent ballots shall be determined by retaining those who received the greater number of votes on the preceding ballot and eliminating the nominee(s) who received the fewest number of votes on the preceding ballot, except where there is a tie. When 2 or fewer members of the Council are still to be elected, the number of nominees on subsequent ballots shall be no more than twice the number of remaining vacancies, with the nominees determined as indicated in the preceding sentence. In any subsequent ballot the electors shall cast as many votes as there are members of the Council yet to be elected, and must cast each vote for a different nominee. This procedure shall be repeated until all vacancies have been filled.
Guiding principles for House elections
The following principles provide guidance on how House elections should be conducted and how the selection of AMA leaders should occur:
- AMA delegates should: (a) avail themselves of all available background information about candidates for elected positions in the AMA; (b) determine which candidates are best qualified to help the AMA achieve its mission; and (c) make independent decisions about which candidates to vote for.
- Any electioneering practices that distort the democratic processes of House elections, such as vote trading for the purpose of supporting candidates, are unacceptable. This principle applies between as well as within caucuses and delegations.
- Candidates for elected positions should comply with the requirements and the spirit of House of Delegates policy on campaigning and campaign spending.
- Candidates and their sponsoring organizations should exercise restraint in campaign spending. Federation organizations should establish clear and detailed guidelines on the appropriate level of resources that should be allocated to the political campaigns of their members for AMA leadership positions.
- Incumbency should not assure the re-election of an individual to an AMA leadership position.
- Service in any AMA leadership position should not assure ascendancy to another leadership position.
- Delegations and caucuses when evaluating candidates may provide information to their members encouraging open discussion regarding the candidates.
- Delegations and caucuses should be a source of encouragement and assistance to qualified candidates. Nomination and endorsement should be based upon selecting the most qualified individuals to lead our AMA regardless of the number of positions up for election in a given race. Delegations and caucuses are reminded that all potential candidates may choose to run for office, with or without their endorsement and support.
Guidelines for nominations for AMA elected offices include the following:
- Every effort should be made to nominate two or more eligible members for each Council vacancy;
- The Federation (in nominating or sponsoring candidates for leadership positions), the House of Delegates (in electing Council and Board members), and the Board, the Speakers, and the President (in appointing or nominating physicians for service on AMA Councils or in other leadership positions) to consider the need to enhance and promote diversity;
- The date for submission of applications for consideration by the Board of Trustees at its April meeting for the Council on Legislation, Council on Constitution and Bylaws, Council on Medical Education, Council on Medical Service, Council on Science and Public Health, Council on Long Range Planning and Development, and Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs is made uniform to March 15th of each year;
- The announcement of the Council nominations and the official ballot should list candidates in alphabetical order by name only; and
- Nominating speeches for unopposed candidates for office, except for President-elect, should be eliminated.
Rules for AMA elections
- The Speaker and Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates are responsible for overall administration of our AMA elections, although balloting is conducted under the supervision of the chief teller and the Committee on Rules and Credentials. The Speaker and Vice Speaker will advise candidates on allowable activities and when appropriate will ensure that clarification of these rules is provided to all known candidates. The Speaker, in consultation with the Vice Speaker and the Election Committee, is responsible for declaring a violation of the rules.
- Individuals intending to seek election at the next Annual Meeting should make their intentions known to the Speakers, generally by providing the Speaker’s office with an electronic announcement “card” that includes any or all of the following elements and no more: the candidate’s name, photograph, email address, URL, the office sought and a list of endorsing societies. The Speakers will ensure that the information is posted on our AMA website in a timely fashion, generally on the morning of the last day of a House of Delegates meeting or upon adjournment of the meeting. Announcements that include additional information (e.g., a brief resume) will not be posted to the website. Printed announcements may not be distributed in the venue where the House of Delegates meets. Announcements sent by candidates to members of the House are considered campaigning and are specifically prohibited prior to the start of active campaigning. The Speakers may use additional means to make delegates aware of those members intending to seek election.
- Announcement cards of all known candidates will be projected on the last day of the Annual and Interim Meetings of our House of Delegates and posted on the AMA website as per Policy G-610.020, paragraph 2. Following each meeting, an “Official Candidate Notification” will be sent electronically to the House. It will include a list of all announced candidates and all potential newly opened positions which may open as a result of the election of any announced candidate. Additional notices will also be sent out following the April Board meeting and on “Official Announcement Dates” to be established by the Speaker.
- Candidates may notify the HOD Office of their intention to run for potential newly opened positions, as well as any scheduled open positions on any council or the Board of Trustees, at any time by submitting an announcement card and their conflict of interest statement to the House Office. They will then be included in all subsequent projections of announcements before the House, “Official Candidate Notifications” and in any campaign activity that had not yet been finalized. All previously announced candidates will continue to be included on each Official Announcement Date. Any candidate may independently announce their candidacy after active campaigning is allowed, but no formal announcement from the HOD office will take place other than at the specified times.
- The Federation and members of the House of Delegates will be notified of unscheduled potential newly opened positions that may become available as a result of the election of announced candidates. Candidates will be allowed to announce their intention to run for these positions.
- If a potential newly opened position on the Board or a specified council does not open but there are other open positions for the same council or the Board, an election will proceed for the existing open seats. Candidates will be offered the opportunity to withdraw their nomination prior to the vote. If there are no scheduled open seats on the Board or specified council for which a potential newly opened position is announced and if the potential newly opened position does not open (ie., the individual with the unexpired term is not elected to the office they sought), no election for the position will be held. In the event that a prior election results in a newly opened position without a nominated candidate or more positions are open than nominated candidates, the unfilled position/s would remain unfilled until the next annual meeting.
- The AMA Office of House of Delegates Affairs will provide an opportunity for all announced candidates to submit material to the HOD office which will then be sent electronically by the HOD Office in a single communication to all delegates and alternates. Parameters regarding content and deadlines for submission will be established by the Speaker and communicated to all announced candidates.
- Our AMA believes that: (a) specialty society candidates for AMA House of Delegates elected offices should be listed in the pre-election materials available to the House as the representative of that society and not by the state in which the candidate resides; (b) elected specialty society members should be identified in that capacity while serving their term of office; and (c) nothing in the above recommendations should preclude formal co-endorsement by any state delegation of the national specialty society candidate, if that state delegation should so choose.
- An Election Manual containing information on all candidates for election shall continue to be developed annually, with distribution limited to publication on our AMA website, typically on the Web pages associated with the meeting at which elections will occur. The Election Manual will provide a link to the AMA Candidates’ Page, but links to personal, professional or campaign related websites will not be allowed. The Election Manual provides an equal opportunity for each candidate to present the material he or she considers important to bring before the members of the House of Delegates and should relieve the need for the additional expenditures incurred in making non-scheduled telephone calls and duplicative mailings. The Election Manual serves as a mechanism to reduce the number of telephone calls, mailings and other messages members of the House of Delegates receive from or on behalf of candidates.
- Active campaigning for AMA elective office may not begin until the Board of Trustees, after its April meeting, announces the candidates for council seats. Active campaigning includes mass outreach activities directed to all or a significant portion of the members of the House of Delegates and communicated by or on behalf of the candidate. If in the judgment of the Speaker of the House of Delegates circumstances warrant an earlier date by which campaigns may formally begin, the Speaker shall communicate the earlier date to all known candidates.
- The Speaker's Office will coordinate the scheduling of candidate interviews for general officer positions (Trustees, President-Elect, Speaker and Vice Speaker).
Interviews conducted with current candidates must comply with the following rules:
a. Interviews may be arranged between the parties once active campaigning is allowed.
b. Groups conducting interviews with candidates for a given office must offer an interview to all individuals that have officially announced their candidacy at the time the group’s interview schedule is finalized.
i. A group may meet with a candidate who is a member of their group without interviewing other candidates for the same office.
ii. Interviewing groups may, but are not required to, interview late announcing candidates. Should an interview be offered to a late candidate, all other announced candidates for the same office (even those previously interviewed) must be afforded the same opportunity and medium.
iii. Any appearance by a candidate before an organized meeting of a caucus or delegation, other than their own, will be considered an interview and fall under the rules for interviews.
c. Groups may elect to conduct interviews virtually or in-person.
d. In-person interviews may be conducted between Friday and Monday of the meeting at which elections will take place.
e. Virtual interviews are subject to the following constraints:
i. Interviews may be conducted only during a 4-7 day window designated by the Speaker beginning at least two weeks but not more than 4 weeks prior to the scheduled Opening Session of the House of Delegates meeting at which elections will take place.
ii. Interviews conducted on weeknights must be scheduled between 5 pm and 10 pm or on weekends between 8 am and 10 pm based on the candidate’s local time, unless another mutually acceptable time outside these hours is arranged.
iii. Caucuses and delegations scheduling interviews for candidates within the parameters above must offer alternatives to those candidates who have conflicts with the scheduled time.
f. Recording of interviews is allowed only with the knowledge and consent of the candidate.
g. Recordings of interviews may be shared only among members of the group conducting the interview.
h. A candidate is free to decline any interview request.
i. In consultation with the Election Committee, the Speaker, or where the Speaker is in a contested election, the Vice Speaker, may issue special rules for interviews to address unexpected situations.
- Every state and specialty society delegation is encouraged to participate in a regional caucus, for the purposes of candidate review activities.
- Campaign memorabilia may not be distributed in the Not for Official Business (NFOB) bag.
- Campaign materials may not be distributed by postal mail or its equivalent. The AMA Office of House of Delegates Affairs will no longer furnish a file containing the names and mailing addresses of members of the AMA-HOD. Printed campaign materials will not be included in the “Not for Official Business” bag and may not be distributed in the House of Delegates. Candidates are encouraged to eliminate printed campaign materials.
- A reduction in the volume of telephone calls and electronic communication from candidates and on behalf of candidates is encouraged. The Office of House of Delegates Affairs does not provide email addresses for any purpose. The use of electronic messages to contact electors should be minimized, and if used must include a simple mechanism to allow recipients to opt out of receiving future messages.
- Campaign expenditures and activities should be limited to reasonable levels necessary for adequate candidate exposure to the delegates. Campaign memorabilia and giveaways that include a candidate’s name or likeness may not be distributed at any time.
- Campaign stickers, pins, buttons and similar campaign materials are disallowed. This rule will not apply for pins for AMPAC, the AMA Foundation, specialty societies, state and regional delegations and health related causes that do not include any candidate identifier. These pins should be small, not worn on the badge and distributed only to members of the designated group. General distribution of any pin, button or sticker is disallowed.
- At any AMA meeting convened prior to the time period for active campaigning, campaign-related expenditures and activities shall be discouraged. Large campaign receptions, luncheons, other formal campaign activities and the distribution of campaign literature and gifts are prohibited. It is permissible for candidates seeking election to engage in individual outreach meant to familiarize others with a candidate’s opinions and positions on issues.
- Candidates for AMA office should not attend meetings of state medical societies unless officially invited and could accept reimbursement of travel expenses by the state society in accordance with the policies of the society.
- Group dinners, if attended by an announced candidate in a currently contested election, must be “Dutch treat” - each participant pays their own share of the expenses, with the exception that societies and delegations may cover the expense for their own members. This rule would not disallow societies from paying for their own members or delegations gathering together with each individual or delegation paying their own expense. Gatherings of 4 or fewer delegates or alternates are exempt from this rule.
- A state, specialty society, caucus, coalition, etc. may contribute to more than one party. However, a candidate may be featured at only one party, which includes: (a) being present in a receiving line, or (b) appearing by name or in a picture on a poster or notice in or outside of the party venue. At these events, alcohol may be served only on a cash or no-host bar basis.
- Displays of campaign posters, signs, and literature in public areas of the hotel in which Annual Meetings are held are prohibited because they detract from the dignity of the position being sought and are unsightly. Campaign posters may be displayed at a single campaign reception at which the candidate is featured. No campaign literature shall be distributed in the House of Delegates and no mass outreach electronic messages shall be transmitted after the opening session of the House of Delegates.
- At the Opening Session of the Annual Meeting, officer candidates in a contested election will give a two-minute self-nominating speech, with the order of speeches determined by lot. No speeches for unopposed candidates will be given, except for president-elect. When there is no contest for president-elect, the candidate will ask a delegate to place his or her name in nomination, and the election will then be by acclamation. When there are two or more candidates for the office of president-elect, a two-minute nomination speech will be given by a delegate. In addition, the Speaker of the House of Delegates will schedule a debate in front of the AMA-HOD to be conducted by rules established by the Speaker or, in the event of a conflict, the Vice Speaker.
- Our AMA (a) requires completion of conflict of interest forms by all candidates for election to our AMA Board of Trustees and councils prior to their election; and (b) will expand accessibility to completed conflict of interest information by posting such information on the “Members Only” section of our AMA website before election by the House of Delegates, with links to the disclosure statements from relevant electronic documents.
AMA guidelines on the election process are as follows:
- AMA elections will be held on Tuesday at each Annual Meeting
- Voting for all elected positions including runoffs will be conducted electronically during an Election Session to be arranged by the Speaker
- All delegates eligible to vote must be seated within the House at the time appointed to cast their electronic votes
- The final vote count of all secret ballots of the House of Delegates shall be made public and part of the official proceedings of the House
- Campaign receptions: Our AMA will investigate the feasibility of a two- (2) year trial of sponsoring a welcome reception open to all candidates and all meeting attendees. Any candidate may elect to be “featured” at the AMA reception. There will not be a receiving line at the AMA reception. Other receptions sponsored by societies or coalitions, whether featuring a candidate or not, would not be prohibited, but the current rules regarding cash bars only at campaign receptions and limiting each candidate to be featured at a single reception (the AMA reception or another) would remain. The Speakers will report back to the House after the two year trial with a recommendation for possible continuation of the AMA reception.
- Campaign literature: An AMA candidate's page will be created on the AMA website or other appropriate website to allow each candidate the opportunity to post campaign materials. Parameters for the site will be established by the Speaker and communicated to candidates.
- Interviews: The Speakers are encouraged to continue recorded virtual interviews of announced candidates in contested races, to be posted on the AMA website.
- Voting process and election session: The Speaker is encouraged to consider means to reduce the time spent during the HOD meeting on personal points by candidates after election results are announced, including collecting written personal points from candidates to be shared electronically with the House after the meeting or imposing time limits on such comments.
- Election Committee: In accordance with Bylaw 2.13.7, the Speaker shall appoint an Election Committee of 9 individuals for 1-year terms (maximum tenure of 4 consecutive terms and a lifetime maximum tenure of 8 terms) to report to the Speaker. These individuals would agree not to be directly involved in a campaign during their tenure and would be appointed from various regions, specialties, sections, and interest groups. The primary role of the committee would be to work with the Speakers to adjudicate any election complaint. Additional roles to be determined by the Speaker and could include monitoring election reforms, considering future campaign modifications and responding to requests from the Speaker for input on election issues that arise. The Speaker and Vice Speaker shall be full members of the Election Committee.
- A campaign complaint reporting, validation and resolution process shall be established as follows: Campaign violation complaints should be directed to the Speaker, the Vice Speaker, or the AMA General Counsel and should include the following details:
- The name of the person(s) thought to have violated the rules
- The date of the alleged violation and the location if relevant
- The specific violation being alleged (i.e., the way the rules were violated)
- The materials, if any, that violate the rules; original materials are preferred over copies. Where necessary, arrangements for collection of these materials will be made
Campaign violation complaints will be investigated by the Election Committee or a subcommittee thereof with the option of including the Office of General Counsel or the Director of the House of Delegates.
- The Committee will collectively determine whether a campaign violation has occurred. As part of the investigation process the Election Committee or its subcommittee shall inform the candidate of the complaint filed and give the candidate the opportunity to respond to the allegation.
- If the complaint implicates a delegation or caucus, the Election Committee or its subcommittee shall inform the chair of the implicated delegation or caucus of the complaint filed and give the implicated delegation or caucus chair(s) the opportunity to answer to the allegation as a part of the investigative process.
- For validated complaints, the Committee will determine appropriate penalties, which may include an announcement of the violation by the Speaker to the House.
- Committee members with a conflict of interest may participate in discussions but must recuse themselves from decisions regarding the merits of the complaint or penalties.
- Deliberations of the Election Committee shall be confidential.
- The Speaker shall include a summary of the Election Committee’s activities in “Official Candidate Notifications” sent to the House. Details may be provided at the discretion of the Election Committee and must be provided when the penalty includes an announcement about the violator to the House.
- A record of all complaints and the results of the validation and the resolution processes, including penalties, shall be maintained by the AMA Office of General Counsel and kept confidential.
- The Election Committee will review the Campaign Complaint Reporting, Validation and Resolution Process as implemented and make further recommendations to the House as necessary.
- Review of Implementation: After an interval of 2 years a review of our election process, including the adopted recommendations from this report, be conducted by the Speaker and, at the Speaker’s discretion the appointment of another election task force, with a report back to the House.
- Amended Policy D-610.998 will be widely communicated, including being published in the Election Manual.