Board of Directors Election Process

What is a Board of Directors Election?

A Board of Directors election is an election where voting members elect new/returning Board members for their organization. These elections are very common, as most organizations have a Board of Directors. Since a Board has a heavy influence on the leadership of an organization, these elections are extremely important!

One of the things that makes a Board election different from a standard Executive Officer election is that often, Board of Director elections process involve multiple candidates running for multiple available seats on the Board. This is known as a “multi-winner” election (as opposed to a “single-winner” election). This makes Board elections similar to any election where you have multiple winners, such as electing Committee or Team Members.

Board members are usually given staggered terms in order to prevent all of the Board positions from being available for election at once. This ensures that there are always experienced, knowledgeable Directors on the Board, along with new Directors who can bring fresh ideas to the table.

An organization’s bylaws should contain specific information on how the Board of Directors are elected, the length of the term served for each Director, and how many voting members of the organization must vote in order for the Board of Directors election to be valid (i.e. quorum).

Possible Voting Methods for a Candidate Member Approval Election

Because Board elections can be multi-winner elections, you need a voting method that allows you to have multiple winners. The Voting Vote plurality voting method will allow you to put multiple candidates up for multiple vacancies on the Board.

This also works for Committee or School Board elections, and any election where you are voting for multiple candidates in a multi-vacancy position.

The Voting Vault has other voting methods that can be used in a multiple-candidate, multiple-vacancy position. These voting methods include:


We use STV to calculate the results for a multiple-vacancy preferential election. Preferential is an excellent option for multiple-winner elections because voters can indicate their preference for a specific candidate relative to the others. In contrast, with plurality, voters are only stating that the candidates they’ve chosen are preferred over the ones they didn’t — there is no way to gauge preference among the candidates they did choose. This gives a more precise picture of how the voters truly feel about the candidates.


The cumulative voting method, like the preferential voting method, does allow for voters to express a more accurate degree of preference. This is because voters can cast more than one vote for any candidate that they really prefer over the others. The Voting Vault will still pick multiple winners even if a voter can choose to vote for only one candidate.

Common Ballot Features Used in Board of Directors Elections

Common features used when building a ballot for a Board of Directors election process include: