The following procedures will be followed for all Co-op votes, as authorized in Article 3 of the Putney Food Co-op Bylaws.
The Co-op Voting Procedure is used for a variety of matters. On an annual basis, a Co-op Election will be held to elect members to the Board of Directors as provided in Article 4 of the Bylaws. Other types of Co-op Votes may be scheduled to coincide with the election of board members or they may be held at other times.
AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- Role of the Secretary: The Secretary will be accountable to the board to assure that the procedures established by this resolution are followed. In the event that the Secretary has a conflict of interest (i.e., is running for re-Election) or is unable to fulfill the duties described in this resolution, the board shall appoint another board member to take the place of the Secretary for this purpose.
- Nominating Committee: The Nominating Committee, consisting of the Secretary and at least one other board member, will work with the Vote Coordinator to ensure that the vote is secure, accessible to all members and all procedures are followed. Should it be required, the Nominating Committee will assist or assign additional individuals to assist the Vote Coordinator with tallying the votes.
- Vote Coordinator: The General Manager will assign a staff member to coordinate Co-op Votes and will provide the resources reasonably necessary for the vote to be conducted in compliance with this resolution. The Vote Coordinator will prepare and distribute all materials needed for the vote, work with anyone assigned to assist in tallying votes and perform and/or delegate other tasks as necessary to implement the Co-op Vote in compliance with the resolution. In order to establish best practices and provide continuity from one Co-op vote to the next, a checklist will be created and maintained to document tasks performed by the Vote Coordinator. The Vote Coordinator is accountable to the GM, but coordinates and communicates with the Secretary/Nominating Committee to assure process transparency.
- Meeting Notice / Duration:
- Notice of Membership meetings shall be provided to all members at their last known address and posted prominently in the store at least 2 weeks before the close of voting. The notice for any regular or special meetings shall include the proposed agenda for the meeting and a complete description of any issues to be voted upon by the members. The notice will include the date, time and location of the confirmation meeting, the duration of the voting period and instructions for voting. All information provided to members about issues presented in the Co-op Vote shall be factual, fair and balanced. The Vote Coordinator may use additional means of communication at her/his discretion to achieve maximum member awareness and participation.
- Voting shall last for a duration of 2-5 weeks during which time ballots may be cast as provided in the Bylaws, article 3.5. All meetings shall provide for an assembly of members (of more limited duration) in person to receive the report(s) of the Co-op. The duration of a meeting and the date, time and place of the assembly shall each be determined by the board.
- Electronic voting shall close at noon on the day of the Annual Meeting. Voting via paper ballot will close during the Annual Meeting and will be warned at said meeting.
- The Co-op will make voting accessible through a combination of the following:
- Electronic voting from a remote computer (if needed, the Co-op can arrange for use of a computer in the Co-op)
- Paper ballot, mailed or hand delivered to the Vote Coordinator
- All ballots must include the member’s name and identifying member number and the Voting Coordinator will take appropriate measures to ensure that each member has only one vote and no votes by proxy are allowed.
- Ballots: The Vote Coordinator will ensure that the ballot forms are prepared and present the voting options in an impartial manner with clear instructions on how to vote. Reproductions or ballots in an alternative format are acceptable if they clearly indicate the voter’s intentions and otherwise comply with voting requirements.
- Confidentiality of Ballots: The ballots that have been cast will be held in a secure location. The Vote Coordinator will have custody of the ballots and will assure that the votes on individual ballots are not viewed by unauthorized persons except as provided herein. Those authorized to view the ballots are the Vote Coordinator, the Nominating Committee and any vote tabulators assigned by the Nominating Committee, all of whom will be under an affirmative obligation not to reveal how any individual owner voted except with the explicit permission of the member-voter. If any ballots that have been cast have been determined to be invalid, those ballots will be made available for inspection by members at the meeting held to confirm the vote. All ballots shall be retained in a secure location until the board has certified the vote results and for a period of 30 days thereafter. The board may authorize additional inspection of ballots on a confidential basis after the Secretary presents the vote results if necessary to verify the outcome.
- Verification of Ballots and Compilation of Results:
- The Vote Coordinator will verify that the name and member number on each ballot corresponds to a member in good standing and that no more than one ballot is cast by a member. Votes by proxy are not allowed and will be disqualified.
- Votes may be tallied by the Vote Coordinator and/or other designated vote counters as they come in or periodically during the voting period. Should more than one vote be received for one member, both votes will be considered invalid.
- The Secretary will oversee the verification and compilation process and may review any or all ballots to assure they have been accurately recorded. Progress reports may be provided by the Vote Coordinator or the Secretary as to the total number of votes cast on individual ballot issues and the total number of ballots received, but the number of votes for or against individual candidates or ballot questions will not be disclosed until the conclusion of voting at the confirmation meeting.
- Annual Meeting: An annual confirmation meeting open to all members will be held at the time date and location established at the beginning of the Co-op Vote Process. At this meeting, the Secretary will declare the vote to be concluded and present the number of votes cast for each item on the ballot. The Secretary will report on any unusual or noteworthy circumstances that may have been observed in the voting process and will answer any questions members may have. If the results are challenged or for any other reason the Secretary is unable to confirm the election results at that time, the confirmation meeting may be adjourned until such time as the Secretary is prepared to report conclusive results to the board.
- Certification of Co-op Vote Results: The Secretary will report the results to the board of directors at the next board meeting following the conclusion of the vote, and acceptance of the Secretary’s report by the board will constitute certification of the results of the Co-op Vote.
Ready to cast your ballot? Click here!