Board Elections: How Nomination and Election
of Board Members Works

Learn more about how ElectionBuddy easily handles board member nominations and elections for your organization.

What is a Board of Directors Nomination?

A board of directors election is an election where voting members elect new/returning board members for leadership positions in their organization. These nominations are very common, as most organizations have a board of directors. Since a board has a heavy influence on the leadership of an organization, the nomination and election is extremely important!

One of the things that makes a board election different from a standard executive officer election is that often, board of director elections involve multiple candidates running for multiple available seats on the leadership board. This is known as a “multi-winner” election (as opposed to a “single-winner” election). Most boards will want to hold this type of nomination, since it simplifies the election process. This makes board elections similar to any election where you have multiple winners, such as electing committee membership or team members.

Board members are usually given staggered terms in order to prevent all of the board positions from being available for election at once. This ensures that there are always experienced, knowledgeable directors on the board, along with new directors who can bring fresh ideas to the table. New and current board members work together to lead the organization.

An organization’s bylaws should contain specific information on how the board of directors are nominated and elected, the length of the term served for each board member, and how many voting members of the organization must vote in order for the board of directors nomination to be valid (i.e. quorum). Organizations can decide how frequently to hold nominations. Nominating committee members can happen every few months, every year, or whenever your organization decides to hold an election.

Possible Voting Methods for a Board of Directors Election

Because board nominations can be multi-winner elections, you need a voting method that allows you to have multiple winners. ElectionBuddy’s plurality voting method will allow you to put multiple candidates up for multiple vacancies on the board.

This also works for committee or school board nominations, and any election where you are voting for multiple candidates in a multi-vacancy position.

Sample ballot for a board of directors vote using the plurality voting system with ElectionBuddy.
ElectionBuddy has other nomination methods that can be used in a multiple-candidate, multiple-vacancy position. These voting methods include:

Preferential

We use STV to calculate the results for a multiple-vacancy preferential election. Preferential nominations are an excellent option for multiple-winner elections because voters can indicate their preference for a specific candidate relative to the other board members. In contrast, with plurality, voters are only stating their board member preferences relative to nominees they didn't vote for; there is no way to gauge preference among the candidates they chose. Preferential nominations give a more precise picture of how the voters truly feel about the nominees.

Board of directors example ballot using preferential voting with ElectionBuddy.

Cumulative

The cumulative voting method, like the preferential voting method, allows voters to express a more accurate degree of preference for the board member nominees. This is because voters can cast more than one vote for any candidate that they really prefer over the others. ElectionBuddy will still pick multiple winners even if a voter can choose to vote for only one candidate.

ElectionBuddy example ballot setup for a board of directors vote using cumulative voting.

Common Ballot Features Used in Board of Directors Nominations

Common features used when building a ballot for Board of Directors nominations include:

  • The “Abstain” option, which allows for voters to abstain from voting on the board of directors ballot question.  Allowing voters to abstain from voting will help prevent voters from nominating board members they don't support.

  • Allowing for write-ins, which can be helpful in multiple ways. Along with providing an alternative voting opportunity for voters who do not like any of the candidate(s) nominated for the board of directors position, it can also be useful for collecting nominations during the election process when not enough candidates are available to fill all the vacant seats on the board.

  • Random order of your listed candidates changes the order of the nominees each time a voter opens the ballot. This helps eliminate the Ballot Order Effect, which states that candidates are more likely to be voted for when their position on the ballot is higher in relation to the other candidates.

  • Candidate profiles, which are an excellent way to inform your voters about the candidates running for the board position. This allows them to make an educated choice on which candidate they should nominate without forcing them to leave the ballot to look up the information on a different web page.

Try a board of directors vote now!

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