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Amending Cooperative Bylaws

Digital changes are taking place in institutions worldwide and members of cooperatives are adjusting their daily lives to the new digital innovations of the 21st century. Have a look at our blog 'digital life'!

Therefore, changes have to be made! Amending the bylaws usually takes place at the Annual General Meeting of a cooperative. Members and the board of directors can bring forward resolutions to amend the bylaws which are then voted on. There is a certain percentage set in the bylaws of how many members have to vote in favor of the amendment. If voter turnout is low, make sure that the future election period and election place are well-known to members. 

Amending the bylaws to conduct online elections

The option exists to cast a vote online and to arrange online general meetings in cooperatives. The individual cooperatives have to verify this with the relevant legislation and then decide if electronic voting option and online general meetings should be included in the bylaws.

In order for your virtual general meeting to have a quorum, you should let your members vote online. Conduct online elections in addition to voting on the AGM or as an alternative to postal voting.

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Examples for amending the bylaws*

If you want to encourage digitalization within your cooperative, take the first step by voting online. This way your members can actively participate in running your cooperative. 

If your bylaws have not yet included electronic means for voting, here are a few examples of amendments for you:

§ Election of the board of directors
The board of directors is elected through postal voting or a similar, secure electronic voting option for a two-year term. 

§ General meeting
Every member has one vote in the general meeting. Absent members can cast their vote via postal voting or a similar, secure electronic voting option

§ Delegates meeting
Every delegate has one vote at the delegates meeting. Absent delegates can cast their vote via postal voting or a similar, secure electronic voting option

The bylaws or the election code should also include a section about the conditions and process of electronic voting. 

*The examples presented on this website regarding how to amend the bylaws are carefully written examples only. Their use is not obligatory and no claim of completeness is made by POLYAS. 

POLYAS Tip: Our online voting experts can support you in amending your bylaws and/or election code to make online elections possible in your cooperative. Contact our online voting experts now!

Effectiveness of amending the bylaws

Adding online voting and polling to the bylaws or election code is a legal precondition of members being able to exercise their voting rights online. Generally, an alteration or amendment to the bylaws or election code, which allows online voting, is sufficient to allow it. 

Put the topic ‘online elections’ on the agenda at your next general meeting. It's best to inform your members beforehand about the advantages of online voting in cooperatives. POLYAS will gladly distribute information about online voting to your members.

Request a legally non-binding quote for an online election!