Introducing online voting

This article was originally published in February 2018

PCC introduces option of online voting for the 2018 election

A core cooperative principle is democratic member control, which means that members can participate in making certain decisions for the co-op. The way this comes to life for our co-op is through our Annual Election when members have the opportunity to vote for candidates to serve on PCC’s Board of Trustees and PCC’s Nominating Committee. As a result, we’re excited to share that PCC will offer members the option to vote online in the 2018 Election.

In preparation for this year’s election, and at the suggestion of our Board of Trustees, PCC explored how we might make it easier for members to vote while also meeting our goals around sustainability and our triple bottomline. As part of this process, we researched how other local co-ops (like REI and Central Co-op in Capitol Hill) conduct elections and found that online voting was a consistent theme.

The election guide, previously separately printed and mailed, will now be a centerfold in the May Sound Consumer and available on the election page of our website. This reduction in paper and printed materials is an important step in our goals around environmental responsibility. It also results in an additional benefit to the co-op: cost savings. Through the changes above, we will spend less on paper, printing and postage.

Another advantage of moving to an online voting option is added security for a member’s vote. Beginning this year, we will partner with a third party, Election Service Corporation (ESC), to count and certify a member’s online vote. ESC also does REI’s elections and this change will bring an added level of efficacy and accountability to our co-op’s election process.

When is PCC’s 2018 election?

Voting online, in-store, or by mail will begin on April 27, 2018 and end on May 30, 2018. Ballots can also be submitted at PCC’s Annual Members’ Meeting on June 6, 2018. To be eligible to vote in the 2018 election or on matters at the Annual Members’ Meeting, you must be an active PCC member as of February 1, 2018.

What you can do to prepare for online voting

Active members will receive their unique online voting ballot via email. While we have email addresses for many members, we may not have your most up-to-date email. This month, if you are an active member, you will receive a notice via mail encouraging you to update your member information. If you do not receive it please contact PCC Member Relations at 206-547-1222 or visit the Membership page of the PCC website to provide correct contact information.

When the election opens on April 27, 2018, all members who were active as of February 1, 2018, and for whom PCC has a valid email address, will receive an email that will take them to their personal ballot. Once members cast their vote, they will get a confirmation email. It’s that simple.

Can you still vote with a paper ballot?

We will continue to offer paper ballots in our stores and to members upon request. Eligible members who choose to use a paper ballot will be able to request one by calling the phone number specified in the election guide in the May issue of the Sound Consumer, or by visiting any one of our stores. Members who prefer to drop their completed paper ballot in a PCC store must do so by May 30, 2018. Mail-in paper ballots must be received at PCC’s Co-op Office by May 30.

Our election partner will verify each ballot to ensure one vote per membership throughout the voting period and ballots received at the Annual Members’ Meeting in June will be certified by the Secretary of Elections.

Additional information about the election will be provided in future issues of the Sound Consumer.

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