Checklist: Board Elections in Credit Unions

Board of directors elections are conducted in a similar manner throughout North America. Election processes and voting systems can slightly vary because of the size of the credit unions and Caisses Populaires. However, the election planning process is generally the same.  We have provided a practical checklist which you can use to ensure that you meet all of your election planning deadlines or just to refresh your memory.

Seven Steps in your Credit Union’s Board of Directors Election

  • Set up an election committee

The first step in organizing elections is to set up an election or rather nomination committee. The committee is often appointed by the current board and is typically comprised of three members. In smaller credit unions the next board of directors election* can also be conducted by an election officer, provided that the election committee has established protocols for the officer to follow. 

  • Check voting rights and eligibility to vote

Each credit union establishes a series of criteria, helping to determine who is eligible to vote in board of directors elections. These are stated in the bylaws and include specifics about the age, place of residence, or of years membership to determine eligibility. 

  • Create electoral roll 

After checking who is eligible to vote in the upcoming board election, the electoral roll is created. It must include the name, address, membership number and contact details of all credit union members who are eligible to vote. Alternatively, all members can be listed but those who are ineligible must be clearly marked. 

  • Define nomination period 

Prior to the election, members have the opportunity to nominate potential candidates. The election committee sets out a nomination period in which members have the chance to fill out nomination applications. The deadline to apply for candidacy is generally 90 days prior to the election. 

  • Send out election invitations 

Once you have created your electoral roll and decided on the candidates standing for election, you can send out invitations to the AGM. In general, most elections take place at credit union AGMs. Should you wish to enable members to vote prior to the AGM, the invitation may include information about the online voting process and separate, sealed documents containing login details or postal voting documents.

  • Election period

The election period, if using postal vote and/or online voting, usually starts a few weeks before the AGM. Members then have the chance to cast their vote by mail or vote online. In most cases, the election period ends before the AGM. If your AGM is always over attended, you may wish to allow your voters to assign proxy voters to vote on the AGM on their behalf, or enable online voting instead. 

  • Counting votes & publishing election results 

Once the election period is over and voting is finished, the election committee must oversee the vote counting process. After they have reached a unanimous result, the election committee publishes it online, in a member’s magazine or at the AGM.

* Note: Depending on the size of the credit union, a delegate system may be in place who are elected by the members. Delegates can either elect the board of directors directly or represent other voters from their local area. You can use our nomination platform to help you through this process. 

Download a Checklist for your Board of Directors Election

We have summarized the main steps, to help you manage your election. Feel free to use this checklist as a guideline for your next board of directors election.

The checklist for board of directors elections is free to download:
Checklist board of directors election in credit unions (PDF)

POLYAS tip: The checklist underlines the complex election planning process in credit unions. Adding online voting to your voting process can vastly simplify your election management. Contact our election experts now to learn more!

Use a Digital Electoral Roll in your Board Elections

The electoral roll is, in many elections, the document that causes the most difficulty. Along with the the ballot papers, it is the most important document in your election. Before your next election, ensure that your electoral roll is up-to-date and you have all necessary contact details. Today’s digital world offers new opportunities to market your election and send out election documents in a secure manner. Using digital technology to market your election and send out election documents helps you save money through minimizing printing and mail costs.

Online voting is also vastly better for the environment (PDF)