Election Process in Credit Unions

In North America, nearly 7,000 credit unions and caisses popularies* exist, offering financial services to more than 114 million members. Credit unions and caisses populaires are unique financial institutions as they are owned by their members.  Customers are, therefore, shared owners and have rights to influence the strategic direction of credit unions and caisses populaires

*Caisses populaires are credit unions mostly operating in French Canada. 

Elections in Credit Unions

As a cooperative institution, every member of the credit union is eligible to run for election as a board member, provided that they are in good standing. Credit unions and caisses populaires elections are conducted a ‘one member – one vote’ policy found in other cooperatives.  The details about the prerequisites needed for their elections as well as their election process can be found in their bylaws. While bylaws differ between credit unions, they all follow a similar trend. 

Board of Directors 

In general, directors serve a three-year term on the board and are elected by the all members at the annual general meeting, and those who have voted in advance online or via post. The average credit union board comprises of seven members, each representing a different part of the credit union.


If the credit union has a significant amount of members spread across various regions, delegate elections take place. Members elect their delegate who will then vote on their behalf at the annual general meeting electing the board, different resolutions or other issues concerning the credit union. 

Implementing online voting in your board and delegates election can reduce time and costs. 

Election Process

In most credit unions, elections are conducted at the annual general meeting. There are numerous credit union elections, but one is particularly important – the board of directors election. The election process for the board election starts by establishing a nomination committee. This can be comprised of members or the current board of directors. They accept the nominations for potential candidates and set up the election. 

Learn more about our nomination platform to simplify the entire nomination process

Members can vote for their candidates by different means. One option is to vote at the annual general meeting in person. However, postal voting, Online voting or other electronic voting methods are possible, if permitted in the bylaws.

Overview of the election procedure

  1. Determine which positions are open for election
  2. Determine who is eligible to vote and be nominated
  3. Officially announce the date of election open nominations and registration to members
  4. Set up your election
    1. Start of election period (if postal vote or online voting is allowed)
    2. End of election period – ballots are counted and results published 

POLYAS tip: Online voting and security go hand in hand at POLYAS. Contact our election experts to learn more about secure online elections!

Advantages of Online Voting in Credit Unions

Online voting offers several advantages for credit union elections. Many credit unions have their members spread across the country. Online voting allows them to participate without the need to travel far to attend the AGM. Members can vote from any place with internet access and thereby not allowing their votes going to waste. The practicality offered by online voting will also help boost voter turnout.

Simple election administration

POLYAS offers simple tools to make your election administration easier and less time-consuming. Create the ballots online, upload your electoral roll and send out invitations to your election via email. You not only save postage but also do something for the environment. By voting online, you can allocate more resources to other aspects of your credit union.

Learn more how online voting with POLYAS works