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Learn how to amend your social club bylaws

Amending Social Club Bylaws

As times change, your social club will naturally take new directions and want to implement new policies. Maybe your members wish to expand the size of the board or change the club's headquarters. 

Therefore, you will need to look into changing your bylaws. Given that your social club is democratic and looking to reflect the will of its members, these amendments will need to be voted on. Normally this occurs at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is held a yearly gathering of all your members. Amendments and resolutions are brought forward which are then voted on. Your bylaws may state that there must be a quorum or a certain number of members present for an amendment to pass. Therefore, it is important to make sure these meetings are well advertised and held at a time that will allow as many members to attend as possible. Many social clubs vote using a show of hands. However, if you really want to bring your election into the 21st century, you can also conduct live voting by electronic means. Read more about POLYAS live voting and conducting your next election electronically here! 

Amending Bylaws to Allow Online Voting

Fortunately, there are no legal restrictions on online or electronic voting for social clubs. Given how loosely defined the term 'social club' is, organizations are free to conduct elections as they see fit. However, some organizations have bylaws that prohibit online voting. They may only allow for voting via post or a show of hands. In the digital age, there is no reason your members should have to vote using such rudimentary means.

You can vote to change your bylaws at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM). At least once a year, your social club should hold an AGM in which you discuss and vote on key issues relating to your organization. Normally, members can bring forward resolutions and amendments to be voted on. This is the opportunity where changes can be made to the bylaws if necessary. A new amendment should be passed that allows voting via the internet or through electronic means. Depending on your bylaws, there may need to be a quorum or minimum amount of members present to allow the amendment to pass. Learn more about bylaws and their contents here. 

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Examples of Amended Bylaws

Your organization may decide to amend their bylaws in order to allow online voting. In this case, you may be wondering of how these bylaws should be worded. Here are some examples: 

§ Election of the board of directors
The board of directors is to be elected via paper ballot or a similar secure electronic voting method for a one year period

§ General meeting
Each member has the right to one vote at the Annual General Meeting. Absent members can vote using a secure electronic voting method.

§ Delegates meeting
Every delegate has the right to one vote at the delegates meeting. Should a delegate be unable to attend, they may vote via post or a secure electronic voting method.

The bylaws should also outline how electronic voting will take place.

Please note that the amendments above are examples. Their use is not compulsory.

Why Allow Online Voting?

While it may seem unnecessary and challenging to change your bylaws, the enabling of online voting will prove to be well worth it. Given that it is comfortably the most convenient means of voting, you will see an immediate increase in your voter turnout. If your elections require a quorum, or minimum number of voters, this would make it easier to allow new resolutions and amendments to pass. Logistically, planning elections will also be easier as everything can be set up with a few clicks of a mouse.

You can also combine online voting with postal or live voting, allowing your members to participate by whatever means they prefer. In the 21st century, there is no need to continue to hold your elections in an antiquated manner. Chances are your social club's main means of interacting with its members is through the internet. So why not let them vote online too? 

Still unclear about how online voting works? Click here to learn more.