How to Hold a Board Election
When you're considering running in a board election, whether for a school club, student council or a local non-profit organization, you need to familiarize yourself with how the organization's elections are conducted. As an officer of an organization with an elected board, you must ensure elections are conducted according to the organization's bylaws, along with any relevant local laws. Make sure nominations and elections are publicly announced and carefully managed, to ensure transparency and head off any future challenges to the election's validity.
Review the organization's bylaws to learn the required procedure for electing members to its board. Follow the procedure exactly to ensure the election is a valid one.
Prepare and publicize a notice of the upcoming election and a call for nominations. The notice must be publicized sufficiently ahead of the scheduled election date to comply with the timelines in the bylaws. Typically, an organization would allow two to four weeks for nominations to be turned in, followed by a two to four week period of publicizing the nominations so voters have the opportunity to study the issues and learn the positions of the nominees.
Hold a nominating meeting at which all nominations must be made in person or turned in: Your initial announcement should make clear that no nominations will be accepted after this date. Verify that all nominees are willing to stand for election to the organization's board by contacting each one individually. Also make sure each nominee meets the organization's criteria for board member elections, such as being a member in good standing in the organization, current on dues or other fees, resident within the appropriate geographical boundaries and providing the required number of recommendations or petition signatures.
Publicize the slate of candidates for the specified time period. If required in the bylaws, a designated official or officials of the organization should schedule and conduct interviews with each candidate prior to the election. If a public forum for the candidates or candidate speeches are required, they should be held during the period that the names are publicized in advance of the election.
Prepare ballots for the election, either in hard copy or online, depending on how the organization holds its elections. Be sure each candidate's name is spelled correctly and any required accompanying information is correct. Depending on your organization's bylaws, either list the candidates in alphabetical order or in the order their nomination packets were received (if not at a nomination meeting). Ensure candidates understand this approach in advance to ward off any claims of favoritism or influencing the outcome by the order of the names on the ballot.
Hold the election at the publicly specified time and location. Ensure all those casting ballots are eligible to vote in the election, either by checking identification or using the organization's current membership list. Collect all ballots and keep them secure until the voting period is completed.
Create an impartial group of three trusted people to count and recount the ballots, and to prepare the list of newly elected board members. Publicize the names of the winning candidates at a public meeting, via electronic means or in the organization's print newsletter, as specified in the bylaws.