Virtual Meeting and Vote
Virtual Meetings and Electronic Voting (District Council and District Executive Committee)
Per protocol 7.1, virtual meetings occur as recommended by the District Director and are agreed upon by a majority of the District Executive Committee. Any agenda item that requires a vote must adhere to the following process:
- Notice of the electronic vote posted to the District website four weeks in advance of the vote opening.
- District posts the proposed agenda item at least 14 days in advance of the vote.
For the following agenda items, which are specific to the District Council, a vote must adhere to the following process:
- District posts proposed budget at least 14 days in advance of the vote.
- District posts information about the proposed appointed District leaders at least 14 days in advance to the vote.
Selecting a virtual meeting platform:
First you will need to select the platform or software that will be utilized. When making your selection it is important to consider the tasks or business that will be conducted—this determines the features the platform must have. You may want to distinguish between required features and nice-to-have features. Some items to consider are:
- Number of attendees
- Audio and/or video capabilities for the meeting host and attendees
- Ease of use
- Ability for attendees to participate in the discussion
Once you have established the necessary features, the next step is to evaluate the available platforms. To do so, consider seeking help from someone on your team or District who has experience in this area. GoToMeeting is one of many platforms that can be utilized to support the items noted above.
Finding a team:
To conduct a virtual meeting successfully, you will need help. Do not plan to manage the meeting platform and host the meeting by yourself. Select or appoint one or two members who are experienced with technology to support you in managing the platform. This will allow you to focus on running the meeting and facilitating discussions.
Select a platform that allows attendees to silently signal their desire to speak so not everyone is speaking at once. Additionally, consider selecting a platform with the ability to mute attendees to help maintain order during discussions. Most platforms will have a feature allowing the host to chat with attendees privately or publicly. Ask members to submit their questions or type in their name to signal that they would like to address the entire group. As members enter their question or name, the chat feature captures the requests in the order received. The member or members who are managing the platform can notify you, the meeting host, of the speaking order of attendees.
Before starting the meeting, it is important to provide guidelines for everyone. Some examples are:
- Attendees should mute their microphone/phone when not speaking
- Attendees should wait until they are acknowledged before speaking
- Attendees should limit their speaking time –tell attendees how much time they have
- The host reserves the right to mute attendees as needed
Selecting a voting platform:
Similar to preparing for a virtual meeting, you will need to select a platform that will meet your needs. Some requirements to consider for an electronic vote are:
- Number of voters
- Ability to assign weighted votes (for members carrying multiple votes – not including proxies)
- Automatic tabulation of results
- Ability to import voters
Both Election Buddy and Election Runner can accommodate the minimum requirements needed to host an electronic vote. The basic setup between these two platforms is similar and both offer free trials for you to experiment.
Finding a team:
When planning and setting up the electronic vote, you will want to assemble a team or appoint a committee to assist you. Once again, seek out members who are experienced with technology to manage the voting process.
There are some tasks that need to be completed before the vote. These tasks are very similar to the credential process at in-person meetings. Since the vote will not be held in-person, the credential process is completed prior to setting up the voting platform. The tasks you must complete include:
- Register all voting members prior to setting up the vote. This serves two purposes:
- It creates a list of voters to be imported into the voting system
- It determines if quorum is met or not based on the number of voters registered
- Determine the number of votes each member is entitled to, most commonly known as weighted votes. The club officer list from World Headquarters will help you assign the number of votes to each voting member.
To register voters, you will need to survey who will be attending the meeting. The club officer list can be used to obtain the officer’s email address to distribute the survey. This determines the number of club presidents and vice presidents education who will be in attendance to see if quorum is met. Use a survey tool, such as Google Forms or Microsoft Forms, to help you attain the information needed. You should include questions such as:
- Name (first and last)
- Membership number
- Club number(s) in which President/VPE is representing
- Will you be attending the meeting?
- What is your preferred email address to receive the link to vote?
The survey should be distributed to all members who are eligible to vote.
- For the District Executive Committee meetings, this includes all Division Directors, Area Directors, the District Director, the Program Quality Director, the Club Growth Director, the Administration Manager, the Finance Manager, the Public Relations Manager and the Immediate Past District Director.
- For the District Council meetings, this includes all Club Presidents, Vice Presidents Education and District Executive Committee members. However, members of the District Executive Committee do not count toward a quorum.
Set a specific amount of time for members to register. Once the registration period has closed, the results can be prepared. Members must attend the meeting to vote. As such, remove anyone who cannot attend the meeting. Once voter registration has been completed, your next steps are to:
- Determine how many Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education will be in attendance. This determines if quorum is met.
- Determine the number of votes each member is entitled to. Members holding multiple voting positions across clubs are entitled to a maximum of two votes.
- Download the voter import template list or format the voter information per the instructions of the voting platform. Common fields include Name, Voter ID, Email and Weight (number of votes). Using the survey results and club officers list, you will have all the information to complete the import of voters.
Creating the ballots:
The voting platform takes you step-by-step through the process of creating the ballots. Please note that if more than one agenda item is being voted on, you should create separate ballots for each item. If multiple agenda items are put onto the same ballot, the results will not be tabulated until after all items on the ballot have been voted on. For example, if the ballot includes both the approval of the District budget and District appointed leaders, the results will not be posted until members have submitted their selection for both ballots.
Since the vote is conducted electronically, notifications should be sent to the voters once the vote is launched. Part of setting this up is establishing the voting period, or when voters can cast their ballots.
Once the ballots are created and ready to be sent to the voting members, you must determine when to send it. It can be sent prior to the meeting or right before the first vote, depending on what works best for your meeting.In the event that a quorum (one-third of all Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education) is not met for a District Council meeting, business transacted shall be deemed as valid as if a quorum were present if it thereafter is expressly approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the member clubs in the District on the basis of two (2) votes per club. The vote and voting period will need to be set to accommodate obtaining a majority on the basis of two votes per club.
Conducting the virtual meeting and electronic voting:
During the meeting, a team should assist with managing the virtual meeting platform and the electronic voting platform, including the Administration Manager. As noted earlier, the meeting should start with housekeeping guidelines so that all attendees are aware of how the meeting will be conducted. The meeting will then proceed to each agenda item. If an agenda item requires a vote, then the discussions and voting will take place.
The District Director or the chair of the meeting will call upon the attendees for questions and discussion as outlined earlier. Once discussion is over, the chair can ask the attendees to cast their vote.
Both Election Buddy and Election Runner have dashboards that report in real time and automatically tabulate the votes as they come in (both in percentages and in number of votes), although you may need to refresh the page occasionally. Once the voting period is closed, the team managing the vote can manually close the vote and announce the results before moving on to the next item. The process will repeat until all agenda items have been addressed.
Closing each vote manually will prevent the results from being changed. The person overseeing electronic voting should familiarize themselves with the features by practicing with the free trial.