Board Nominations:
They Don’t Have to be Scary!

The election of Board Members, who will end up running the Cooperative on behalf of its Members, is an essential part of what makes housing cooperatives a unique and successful form of home and communi-ty ownership. But for many Cooperatives, the ordeal of organizing and executing nominations and elec-tions can be incredibly tiresome and even stressful due to their long-term importance. However, this guide breaks down the process and provides a clear and easy to follow narrative:

  • Brush up on your Cooperative’s bylaws and other election rules. Every cooperative is different with its own history and procedures, and it is im-portant to follow what has been codified by the Membership.

  • In accordance with knowing the rules, be aware of the specific functions of how and when nomi-nations are to be named and at what specific meetings they are to take place.

  • Ensure you have time for the election on the day it is to take place. Fit it into the agenda at a time where it can surely be completed.

  • Once the nomination process has been complet-ed, each nominee is allowed to speak about them-selves, the position, and their vision of them-selves in the position. It is advisable to prescribe a time limit for this process, and such a limit may be in your bylaws or other rules.

  • The election can now begin. Your cooperative bylaws or rules may dictate how the vote is to be counted, whether it is by voice or, more common-ly, through a ballot.

  • In prior preparation, the chair of the election should have tasked an individual(s) with being in charge of making, distributing, and counting the ballots. A space for write-ins is necessary.

  • The ballots must be distributed in accordance with the bylaws, and great care must be taken to know how many voters are present to ensure a proper necessary margin of victory for the candi-dates.

  • Proper direction should be given as to how to correctly mark the ballots. Members should not share their ballots with anyone nor should they write their name on it.

  • When the voting is concluded and the ballots have been collected by the designated individu-als, the Chair formally concludes the election process after asking one last time if there are any other ballots to count. From here, the ballots are securely taken and counted by the designated committee.

  • The bylaws may state what threshold is necessary for a nominee to win an election. Often, it is likely
    a simple plurality, others may require a majority (that is, over half).

  • The Chair announces the winners of each positions.

  • Take time to examine your own nomination and election process. Are there ways that it can be
    improved or expedited? Do some of the rules seem outdated? You as a member can contribute
    to editing the election rules to make the next election better
  • Proxies and absentee ballots are sometimes confused, and require a clear understanding of how
    they are to be used. Your attorney should be involved in assisting the Board in this matter.

  • Your Cooperative Attorney ought to be involved in preparing for and overseeing the election process.
    Since questions sometimes arise and are time sensitive, the Attorney should be present at
    the meeting.

Although it can be time consuming, nominating and electing these individuals is important because they
run many of the operations of your community. We hope this simple guide may be of use to you in the
future as you navigate this process.

As with anything else, if you have any questions or concerns about nominations and elections, both in
how they are run or how to change them in the future, do not hesitate to contact your legal counsel.