I’m a member of the Coast Capital Savings credit union. Their board of directors has staggered terms, so every year they have an election to replace some of the board members.
The outgoing directors form a nominations committee, which recommends some of the candidates. This strikes me as vaguely corrupt, but Google tells me that they’re common for both private and non-profit boards. They are correlated with bad performance and corruption when the CEO or current board members sit on the committee, but I couldn’t find anything bad about outgoing directors, although external directors are considered the best people to have. Given that the recommended candidates usually win, it does make me wonder about the democratic value of the membership merely certifying the recommendations?
This is the first year they’ve had online voting, which is interesting because I consider online voting impossible to secure. But a credit union board isn’t exactly a high-stakes election and banks spend more time worrying about securing their websites than anybody else. (Another option would be voting by ATM!)
Another thing that I don’t think they’ve done in the past is that Coast Capital Savings will donate $1 to charity for every vote. It’s a bit ironic that if you don’t vote you can presume that the money will be indirectly given back to you as a member in the future, but I suspect it will increase voter turn-out in this case.
$1 to charity is much more of an incentive than a few dollars back to you on your tax return, which is what some people have proposed to raise turn-out in public elections. I can’t imagine how this would work for public elections: vote and we’ll increase social services, don’t vote and we’ll lower your taxes.