The very first thing you need to do before anything else is form an Election Management Group who will oversee your elections and ensure everything is done within the scope of your society rules and any adopted election policy.
An EMG should be formed by members of the Society (who with the exception of the Secretary) may not include serving Society board members.
An EMG should be chaired by an independent person who is NOT a member of the Society
No members of the Society Board whose positions are due to be offered for election shall play any part in determining the composition of the EMG or any aspect regarding the conduct of the elections
Members of the EMG shall not be eligible to nominate candidates nor be a candidate themselves and shall ensure that they are not associated closely with any candidates
An EMG will ensure that the election is run in accordance with the societies Election Policy
The EMG shall make the final decision as the eligibility of candidates, nominations and valid votes
Any decisions taken will be by majority vote and recorded. The Chair of the EMG shall have a casting vote in the event of a tie
It is important you lay out the key stages of your election before you begin the process and understand the timings you must adhere to.
Most societies hold their annual elections in tandem with their AGM.
Below is a breakdown of the important stages to include in your election timetable.
The AGM will take place within six months of the societies year end
The Board shall agree the number of vacancies to be elected Any changes to the numbers to be elected shall be communicated to members in the nomination form
The Secretary to circulate a nomination form with advance notice of the AGM at least eight weeks before the AGM
The Board to ensure that the membership of the EMG has been agreed before the Secretary circulates nominations forms
During the Election Period, the EMG shall manage the process, with the assistance of the Secretary as required
If the number of nominations is greater than the available seats then arrange for hustings to be held and nominee campaigning
Issue ballot papers to members
Nominations & Eligibility
It is crucial that the EMG lay out the criteria for nomination eligibility and the process of nominations and make this clear to all members prior to the commencement of collating nominations.
Usually the criteria would be laid out on a document accompanying the nomination forms or on the societies website.
Any person wishing to be a candidate for election to the Society Board must be a fully paid-up member of the Society and be nominated by at least two fully paid-up members of the Society
The EMG will verify that nominations are from members of the Society
Society members can nominate as many candidates as they wish
It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that their nomination is valid and submitted in accordance with the election timetable
Decisions over the validity of nominations shall be a matter for the EMG having due regard for the Secretary’s assessment of the membership status of an individual nominating a candidate
The names of those nominating candidates shall be appended to each candidate’s statement
By submitting a nomination, Candidates will be deemed to have accepted the Election Policy, the Society’s Rules, and any other policies and rules adopted by the Society Board and the membership and agreed to be bound by them
Important Legal Information
With the exception of Co-opted Members co-opted onto the Society Board under Rule  of the Model Rules, NO person can be a member of the society board:
who ceases to be a Member of the Society
who has been a member of the Board for 12 consecutive years
who is subject to a bankruptcy order or has in place a composition with his/her creditors
who is subject to a disqualification order made under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
fails to abide by any rules for the conduct of elections made by the Society Board
who has a conviction for an indictable offence (other than a spent conviction as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
in relation to whom a registered medical practitioner who is treating them gives a written opinion to the Society stating that they have become physically or mentally incapable of acting as a Director and may remain so for more than three months
When it comes to campaigning, there are set guidelines for candidates to follow to ensure the process is fair and equal.
The below is taken from our election policy template. The figures stated with regards to length of candidates statements can be agreed by the society board when initially implementing the election policy.
Candidates must also submit a statement in support of their nomination and may also submit a photograph for publication with their statement.
Campaigning under the auspices of the Society will be restricted to the statements submitted by the candidates and to any hustings organised by the Society
All candidates’ statements are to be sent by email to the relevant members of the EMG
Candidate statements should be at least 400 words long and no longer than 1000 words. If a candidate’s statement has more 1000 words, it will be truncated
Individual Society board members who indicate a preference in public must make it clear that they do not speak on behalf of the Society board and express a purely personal opinion of course this is our model rules, which can be adapted for your own Trusts/Club. It may be that you are happy for a different approach to campaigning rather than confining candidates to hustings and the statement.
The key is to be clear about what is allowed, be fair to all candidates and think about how your policy can be effectively implemented to ensure everyone abides by the same rules.
To avoid any accusations of or unintentional bias in your elections, ensure candidates and their statements are listed in a random order on all correspondence including the ballot paper.
Hopefully your election runs without incident and everyone involved is happy with proceedings.
On the off chance that there are issues raised it is important to have an appeals process in place and this further highlights the importance of a correctly constituted Election Management Group.
Some of the appeal guidelines are set out below:
Candidates or complainants shall raise matters with the EMG whose decision is final
Complaints after voting has closed shall be made to the EMG not later than three working days after the close of poll. Any complaint received after this date shall be ruled out of order
If any candidate should contravene the Election Policy, the EMG shall judge whether a disqualification should apply and their decision is final
Any appeal against the decision of the EMG shall be made through and governed by the disputes procedure as set out in the Society Rules
If there are more nominated candidates than places available on the society board then a full ballot will be held.
Decide towards the start of the process whether you intend to hold hustings, as they are optional, and if so whether you wish to hold them before the AGM or at the AGM.
If hustings have been held before the AGM:
The EMG will issue postal ballot papers and copies of candidates’ statements with the notice sent convening the AGM
Votes may be submitted by the post up to the day of the AGM, and also deposited at the start of the AGM
The Count shall be made during the AGM, and the result announced before the close of the AGM
If hustings are held at the AGM:
The EMG shall arrange for candidates to address the AGM and field questions from the floor
The EMG will then issue postal ballot papers and copies of candidates’ statements
Votes shall then either be deposited at the AGM or posted to the Secretary
The election result shall be announced within 4 weeks of the date of the AGM starting