Board Election Process in Cooperatives
Generally speaking, all cooperatives elect a board of directors to run the organization on behalf of its members. They do this either directly when members themselves vote for candidates or indirectly through elected delegates. As such, there is some variation in the way the board election process works between individual cooperatives. It also depends on the legal form the cooperative has taken.
Board of directors
The board of directors is usually elected by the members. If the cooperative has a high number of members and operates across several regions, the members may elect delegate who then elect the board of directors on their behalf. The number of seats on the board is outlined in the cooperative's bylaws.
The role of the board of directors
The board of directors runs the cooperative on behalf of the members and represents their interests. The individual responsibilities of board members are described in the bylaws of the cooperative and typically include appointing an executive and other committees.
Election process in board of directors elections
Who can be a member of the board?
Depending on the cooperative's bylaws, anyone can be a director on the board including members and non-members. In some cases, the cooperative will explicitly require external directors to sit on the board.
Nominations for the board of directors
Every member of the cooperative can nominate candidates if the bylaws allow it. Details of the nomination process are also specified in the bylaws. Additionally, a deadline for submitting nominations is usually set.
Term of the board of directors
The term of the directors is set out in the bylaws, but it usually varies between 1 and 5 years. In some cases, all members of the board have to be re-elected and approved every year by the membership.
Voting system and procedure
The bylaws establish the voting system and voting procedure which will be used in the election. For example, they will specify if votes are to be cast for individual candidates or parties (or groups). Furthermore, the bylaws outline the voting procedure to be used in the election. This could be voting in paper form, in person through a show of hands, by post and/or electronic voting.
Voting rights in board of directors elections
There can be active and passive members in cooperatives, but all can vote on the board of directors unless stated otherwise in the bylaws. There is also the option that members elect delegates. The bylaws also outline which members are considered active or passive.
POLYAS-Tip: Amend your bylaws to make online voting possible in your cooperative. Learn about all functions in our POLYAS online voting support center >
Advantages of online board of directors elections
Online voting in your cooperative is the next step towards the digital future.
- Reduce the amount of time and money spent on board of directors elections by conducting them online
- Increase voter turnout by giving all of your members the opportunity to vote online in the election, regardless of whether or not they can make it to the polling station in person.
Set up the election, conduct it, and download the results quickly online and then concentrate on the important issues facing your cooperative.