Online Meetings and Electronic Voting (District Council and District Executive Committee)
Per protocol 7.1, online 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 is posted to the District website four (4) 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.
Select the platform or software that will be utilized. It is important to consider the tasks or business that will be conducted to determine the features the platform must have. 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 and to vote
Once you have established the necessary features, the next step is to evaluate the available platforms. Consider seeking help from someone in the District who has experience in this area. Zoom is one of many platforms that can be utilized to support the items noted above.
Finding a team:
Select one or two members who are experienced with technology to support in managing the platform before and during the meeting.
Select a platform that allows attendees to signal their desire to speak without interrupting the speaker. 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 team managing the platform can notify the meeting chair of the speaking order.
Before starting the meeting, it is important to provide guidelines for everyone. Some examples are:
- Mute their microphone/phone when not speaking
- Wait until they are acknowledged before speaking
- Limit their speaking time — advise attendees how much time they have
- The host reserves the right to mute attendees as needed
For meetings that require business to be voted upon, an electronic voting platform will be needed. Some requirements to consider for an electronic vote are:
- Number of voters
- Ability to assign weighted votes (for members carrying multiple)
- 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 to help decide which will be best.
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. It is best to select a team to plan and set up the electronic vote. Seek members who are experienced with technology to manage the voting process.
Use a survey tool, such as Google Forms or Microsoft Forms, to help obtain the information needed to register voters. The District Council report available through District Central can be used to obtain the leader's email address to distribute the survey. The questions for the survey should include:
- Name (first and last)
- Membership number
- Club number(s) the President/Vice President Education is representing
- Will you be attending the meeting?
- What is the email address to receive the link to vote?
The survey should be distributed to all members who are eligible to vote.
- District Executive Committee meetings; include all Division Directors, Area Directors, District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Administration Manager, Finance Manager, Public Relations Manager, and Immediate Past District Director.
- District Council meetings; include all Club Presidents, Vice Presidents Education and District Executive Committee members. Only Club President's and Vice President's Education count toward 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. Remove anyone who cannot attend the meeting.
There are some tasks that need to be completed before the vote. The credential process is completed prior to setting up the voting platform. The tasks to complete include:
- Register all voting members prior to setting up the vote to create a list of voters to be imported into the electronic voting system.
- Determine the number of votes each member is entitled. The District Council report available through District Central will help assign the number of votes to each voting member.
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, separate ballots should be created 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. 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. Establishing the voting period is critical for voters to know when they may cast their ballots.
Once the ballots are created, they can be sent to members prior to the meeting or right before the first vote, depending on what works best.In the event that any business is transacted at any District Council meeting at which a quorum is not present, the action shall be deemed as valid as if a quorum were present if it thereafter is expressly approved in writing, personally, by mail, fax, e-mail, electronic transmission or other reasonable means, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Member Clubs in the District on the basis of two (2) votes per club.
Conducting the online meeting and electronic voting:
During the meeting, a team should assist with managing the online meeting and electronic voting platform. As noted earlier, the meeting should start with established guidelines so that all attendees are aware of how the meeting will be conducted. The meeting will then proceed to each agenda item.
The District Director or the chair of the meeting will call upon the attendees for questions and discussion. Once discussion is over, the chair can ask the attendees to cast their vote.
Election Buddy and Election Runner have dashboards to automatically tabulate the votes in real team that are cast (both in percentages and in number of votes). 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.