Winning Candidates in Cooperatives' Election organization

Election organization can be a daunting task. It is both an important and time-consuming task to organize a board of directors and/or a delegate election. Mistakes can easily be made and diminish confidence in your cooperative’s ability to conduct elections, damaging your reputation as well as your future turnout. In order for your next elections to run smoothly, we have some practical tips for you to read that will help your election organization run smoothly.

1. Review the legal basics

When starting to organize your next election, you need to review your legal framework. Specific deadlines should be clearly stated in your bylaws or election rules. Candidates should, for example, have collected their signatures for their application to candidacy a number of months or weeks before the election is due to begin. Deadlines that are stated in your election rules are there to help you plan and to keep your election on track. Additionally, be aware of newly added legislation concerning cooperatives in your country. Read carefully through all the legal documents to organize a legally valid election.

2. Check the electoral roll

After reviewing your legal framework, update your electoral roll. As your members can have different voting rights, you need to check if any of your voters do indeed have different voting rights. This is most likely to be due to different districts, where voters within a certain area can vote on local issues. Regardless of voter segmentation, be sure that you are aware of them and have planned them into your election.

3. Think about the voting procedure

Two types of voting procedures are especially popular with cooperatives: voting at the AGM and postal voting. It is recommended to re-calculate the costs and time for traditional voting procedures, as sending election documents via mail has become more expensive. We also recommend that you ask yourself, how you can optimize your election management.

Numbers of cooperatives already take advantage of online voting, to lower their costs and save time in their election organization. Online voting can easily be combined with live voting at an AGM or mail elections. Thereby, simplifying election management and increasing voter turnout. Read more about online voting in cooperatives.

4. Create a schedule for your election organization

Depending on your voting procedures, you can create a schedule for your election with every essential step in the election planned out. Note each task, what it entails and what the deadline is. Assign it to yourself or another election organizer. Here are some tasks that you must not forget:

  • Appoint/elect an election committee or officer
  • Send out election information and invitations
  • Mail election documents
  • Decide on election period
  • Count votes and announce election results
  • Deadline to contest the election

Do not forget to share your election schedule with all members of the election committee, and the board in general if it is necessary.

5. Have a Plan B ready

No matter how well prepared you are: something can always go wrong. In those cases, you have to be able to react fast to save the situation and amend any mistakes. Think carefully where the weak spots in your election could be. Play through possible scenarios with your election officers to work out possible solutions. Afterwards, create a list with all of the contact details of those involved with the election organization. It is prudent to inform all of your employees about any possible weaknesses in your election planning so that they know what to do, or at least who to contact.

Make use of our practical tips about your election administration. More information and helpful election material here. We wish you best of luck in your election planning! Don’t forget, we are here for you – contact us for fully managed online elections!