Challenging an Election or Recalling a Board Director
What If I Believe the Election Was Unfair?
Any active member may file a challenge to an election if they believe that the outcome was compromised. The challenge must clearly state what circumstances have compromised the election and must be filed within 14 days after election day (the voting deadline).
Submit the challenge to the Customer Service Desk at either store, addressed to the Election Committee Chair and Board President. Let the clerk know what you are submitting and make sure that she/he dates and time stamps it to ensure that you met the deadline. Staff will notify the appropriate parties.
The Board will determine (Directors affected by the challenge will not participate in the decision) if the challenge has merit, and if so, will hear evidence offered by the involved parties regarding the following:
- Whether the election was improperly administered or unauthorized campaign practices were committed.
- Whether the improper administration or practice prejudiced the outcome of the election.
If the Board determines the improper administration of the election or an unauthorized campaign practice has prejudiced the outcome of the election, the Board may develop a remedy that serves the best interests of the Cooperative.
What If I Believe a Director Is Incompetent?
SNFC, as a consumer-owned cooperative, is controlled democratically by its members through their elected Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for ensuring the long-term security and viability of the Co-op, and for making decisions in the best interests of the membership as a whole. It is also legally accountable for the actions of the corporation. The Board of Directors is composed of members just like you who are willing to take on these responsibilities.
However, there is always the chance that an elected director is not up to the task. The Board may dismiss one of its Directors only under specific circumstances: if he or she is “declared of unsound mind” by a court, convicted of a felony, or has failed to attend three meetings in a 6-month period (see Bylaws section 7.04).
Therefore, the SNFC Bylaws (section 9.04) provide for the recall of a Director by the Co-op’s members. This process has never been used in the history of SNFC, and should not be taken lightly.
A recall can happen by two mechanisms:
- A vote of the majority of the total members of SNFC at a member meeting.
- A 2/3 vote of those participating in an emergency election conducted by mailed ballot (see section 9.04 of the Bylaws for more information).
To use the first option, you could wait until the next Quarterly Member Meeting, or get a petition signed by 5 percent of the members. This petition requires the Board to hold a special meeting within a specified time period (see Bylaws section 6.03). You would also need to do some organizing to get over 50 percent of the members to attend the meeting.
To recall a Director via a mailed ballot, the first step is to initiate a petition stating which Director is to be recalled and the reason(s). The petition must be initiated by an active member and signed by 20 percent of the active members of SNFC (and include both signature and printed name and member number). The petition must also list a sponsor and his/her contact information. As with all petitions, authorized campaign practices must be followed as signatures are collected (see the Election Policy).
Submit the challenge to the Customer Service Desk at one of the stores, addressed to the Board President (if the President is being recalled, then address it to the Vice-President). Let the clerk know what you are submitting and make sure that she/he date and time stamps it. Staff will notify the appropriate parties.
Once the petition is submitted, the emergency election cycle begins. Emergency elections are conducted on a shorter time frame than annual elections. The reasons for the recall and the statement of defense by the Director will be posted in the stores and publicized to members by all practical means.
If the Director is recalled, a new Director must be elected by the membership (via established election policy and procedures) to fulfill the remainder of the recalled Director’s term (see Bylaws section 7.02).
For More Information
For more information, contact the Chair of the Policy Committee or any Board member.