Onsite Elections in Action

Onsite elections play an important role in many organizations’ annual meetings, providing members with another easy way to cast their votes. Often we’ll get asked how an onsite election is supposed to look and the answer is always a resounding “it depends”. There are many factors that influence how an annual meeting and onsite voting are run, and a vendor that is experienced with all types of onsite elections can be invaluable in these situations.

Every Onsite is Unique
Depending on the size of the meeting and the voting response via other methods (mail ballots, online voting, etc.), the number of ballots cast onsite can vary greatly. SBS has worked on elections with 10-15 votes cast onsite and also elections with several hundred ballots submitted at the meeting.

Some state statutes include additional requirements that are important to be aware of. For example, Colorado cooperatives are required to have all ballots (even mail ballots) counted onsite at the annual meeting. It’s important to know the details of your state’s statutes and bylaws and be sure to communicate these to your election vendor.


You may be wondering about why your organization might want to have a vendor run the onsite portion of your election, even if you don’t anticipate a high turnout of voters at the meeting. There are a few valuable advantages a third-party provider can bring:

  • Fast, accurate reporting
    Results of voting at the meeting can be announced at the meeting. Same-day reporting is a necessity in many elections, which can be difficult to manage without third-party help – especially when including ballots from other voting methods.
  • Third-party objectivity
    Having a third-party handle your onsite election can eliminate much of the stress and hassle surrounding the event, and it also provides an unbiased, objective party to verify election accuracy. Members of your organization can feel confident knowing those running the election are completely unbiased and their only motivation is to manage a successful voting event.
  • Expert guidance
    It’s reassuring for everyone involved to know an election is in the hands of experts who know the ropes. If anything out of the ordinary comes up, you have a vendor that has seen it all and can be composed and decisive at a vital time for your organization.

Consulting with your vendor throughout the entire election process can help ensure best practices are followed across the board. Working with an expert third party also brings confidence, objectivity, and the highest levels of accuracy to your onsite election.

Interested in learning more about how onsite member elections work? Let us know and we’ll share more information and examples of successful onsite elections during annual meetings. We’re here to help.

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