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Guidelines for co-operative elections

A co-op’s board of directors is elected each year at its annual general meeting (AGM). Here’s some guidelines for how to prepare for and run these elections.

Before the Meeting

  1. The board should create a nominating committee in charge of finding candidates that will be presented at the AGM. This committee should talk to regular members to raise awareness of the board’s duties and the upcoming election.
  2. A co-op’s bylaws should state the amount of notice members need to receive prior to the AGM. The secretary must issue notice of the meeting’s date, and a call for nominations for candidates to serve on the board. (Typically, the call for nominations is issued two months before the meeting, while notice for the AGM is issued one month before the meeting).
  3. Those interested in serving on the board should submit a nomination form (that’s been signed by another member) to the nomination committee.

At the Meeting

  1. The AGM’s agenda should allocate time for the election of directors.
  2. The chair of the nomination committee must present the list of candidates. The chair may call for any additional nominations from the floor three times (if this is allowed in the co-op’s bylaws).
  3. If the number of candidates is within the range of directors set out in the bylaws, the chair will call for the slate of candidates to be approved by the members. If the number of candidates is more than the maximum number of directors allowed in the bylaws, the chair must call a vote.
  4. Each member should be issued the number of ballots equivalent to the maximum allowed number of directors (i.e., if the maximum number of directors allowed on the board is 9, give everyone nine ballots each). Each member will write the names of the candidates they wish to vote for on a ballot; one name per ballot.
  5. The votes will be counted by an individual designated by the nominations committee before the meeting. The directors with the most votes are elected to the board of directors (e.g. the 9 candidates with the most votes).
  6. The chair will ask the newly elected board of directors to stand to be acknowledged by the members.

After the Meeting

  1. The newly elected board of directors should immediately meet following the annual meeting.
  2. At this first board meeting, directors must determine who will hold signing authority (if applicable) as well as the officers of the co-operative.
  3. The directors will appoint a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary (or secretary-treasurer).
  4. The directors may, if necessary, strike committees to support the activities of the co-operative (e.g. finance, governance).

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