Voting Options

Cooperatives March 08, 2011|Print

Authors: Phil Kenkel, Oklahoma State University,, and Bill Fitzwater,
Oklahoma State University

Various types of voting options are available to the board.

  • Viva Voce or Voice
  • Roll Call
  • Division
  • Ballot
  • General Consent

Which option is used will depend on the sensitivity of the issue and the precedents set by the board. Generally a voice vote is sufficient for the general decisions of the board.

If the bylaws require that voting be kept in the minutes, boards can employ roll call voting; each member is called on to cast their vote one way or another.

In some situations where the vote is close, a division vote is called. This type of vote calls for board members to signify by raising their hand or giving some other sign, and counting individual votes.

If a specific count is needed and individual members do not want to publicize their vote, a ballot vote can be made. Members record their vote on a ballot or sheet of paper. The board chairman then counts these ballots and the majority decides.

Directors have the right to change their vote, up until the time the results of the vote is announced by the Chair, unless the vote is by secret ballot. The chair will count the votes and announce the results.

Proxy votes are only to be used if permitted in the bylaws of the cooperative. The director may authorize another director, generally in writing, to vote in his or her absence. The proxy may then vote on only a particular vote (specifically limited proxy) or on all issues (general proxy), according to the discretion of the absent director.

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  • Rural Cooperatives magazine, Rural Development, Business and Cooperative Programs, USDA - This bimonthly magazine contains articles and news items relevant to agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives. An archive provides access to past issues of the magazine from 1998 to 2011.
  • Directory of Farmer Cooperatives, Service Report 22, USDA Rural Development, October 2013 - This directory contains a list, by state, of almost 1,500 farmer-owned marketing, farm supply, service, fishery and bargaining cooperatives. The information includes the cooperative’s contact information, type of cooperative and products that they sell. An online directory is updated every month.