This is a common blind-spot for Boards of Directors
in a Member-based organization. They think they confer the board of directors and the Membership just rubber-stamps it. Not the case at all. You need to read
- State law
- Articles of Incorporation
- Parliamentary procedure if your Bylaws invokes one.
Very often the Board itself isn't even responsible to send ballots; that role is typically defined. If the responsible person doesn't send ballots, file suit immediately. This is a trivial matter for a court to deal with. They'll be ordered to show and given a firm lecture: "Follow your own rules and don't make me intervene again".
The Board is not entitled to pick a slate
President: Jill Stein
That is what a slate is. It is a list of the candidates the issuing body prefers.
There may be a procedure that calls for the Board to pick a presumptive list of qualified candidates. That should be all credible candidates who have been nominated. Very often, Boards have trouble finding volunteers and stretch to meet the minimum number. More likely, they innocently stop there when a further search could turn up more candidates. When this sets in as habit, this morphs into the Board's belief that they are entitled to pick their favorites. When they have 2 extra candidates, the Board starts thinking it's their job to narrow the field "for you" (for themselves) by excluding some from the ballot.
That's when the list of candidates becomes a slate. And I even hear Boards refer to it as exactly that. The Board is now a political party of their own! That guarantees everyone else's right to also get political, which is probably not what they want :)
They are already obliged to fully support anyone's campaigning. When the Board itself takes a partisan position, that responsibility is even more acute. If the Board obstructs others' campaigning, back to court and order the election canceled and re-run such that everyone has time to campaign. While you're there, ask the court to settle questions about access to the Member addresses and contact info for campaigning, and whether the Board has the right to govern member speech about the affairs of the organization (they don't).
All of them have unclean hands since they are all endorsing the same wrong idea of sending up a ballot that has only one faction's slate pre-printed. This kind of cluelessness is usually accompanied by arrogance. I think, if the Board deadlocks the election because of refusal to do this, you should go to court and get a judge shake them out of their skepticism/disbelief.
(you can't tell them; it sounds like politics coming from you).
Your situation is democracy at work.
You have 2+ factions of Board members with 1 slate each per faction. They are ALL credible candidates. The Board's proper role is to put them ALL on the ballot.
Then, each faction publishes their own slate, and you have a good old fashioned election. Worst system in the world, except for all the others.