Legal elections

You have prepared your election down to the last detail. The election calendar is set, the decision for the proper election procedure has been made, all candidates are ready – time to take another look at all of the legal regulations. After all, it’s not for nothing that they say everything has to be just right.

For an error occurs if the results of the election are not valid – regardless of how perfect all of the preparation, organisation and execution of the election were otherwise. Because then you have to bite the bullet for better or worse, and start back from square one. No matter if this change in circumstances would entail a lot of time and expenses, you can assume that there will be a lot of frustration, and in the worst case voter participation will be far lower the second time around.

Checking everything over twice is worth it to avoid this. Run through everything once more during the planning process. Here are a few tips on what you should always ensure.

Before the election begins: Sound out the legal issues

Electoral index complete and operational?

The electoral index is the informational foundation for your election. Ensure one last time that all of the information has been properly documented and can be used. Your electoral bylaws certainly stipulate an announcement or messaging schedule that must be adhered to – and you can only ensure this if you are able to reach every voter and nobody is forgotten.

Followed the election bylaws?

Your charter stipulates the conditions that an election must fulfil. Run through each one of these point by point with your electoral committee. Ensure that each point is adhered to, and most importantly that they are present and defined.

The electoral organiser, committee and board should be able to recite the election bylaws in their sleep – you are thus not only on the safe side, but you also exhibit a high degree of confidence to the voters.

Are the candidates authorised to be candidates?

One often forgets to ask: Can the candidates actually run? Your charter may also place restrictions on candidacy which determine who is authorised to run.

For instance, in association elections this may include the length of the candidate’s membership, or a certain number of signatures from supporting members.

Election procedure defined in the charter?

The planned election procedure must also be defined in the bylaws in a way that is visible to all voters. If you would like to offer the opportunity to vote online, you must ensure that this is also permitted in the bylaws. The earlier you figure this out, the more time you have for other matters, such as amending the the association charter.

Regardless of whether it is a committee or a board election: The legal issues are important everywhere. Once everything is as it should be, your election management was successful and you are ready to commence the election.