Being a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendance via Zoom, Michigan Farm Bureau’s November 30th meeting was hardly a typical one. Participants gathered both on the live floor and virtually from their homes to discuss proposed bylaw changes and elect two board positions. With numerous motions to discuss and vote on, the Bureau needed a comprehensive way to involve everyone in the vote; including the virtual attendees. Using Meridia’s CloudVOTE voting software, the MI Farm Bureau avoided the tedium of manual vote counting while ensuring that every participant was fully involved in the discussion and voting process for each motion.
Electing new officials can be an involved process for the Bureau. To be elected, a candidate must garner a simple majority of all votes cast. If no single candidate collects a majority of votes, the least popular candidate is eliminated and the voting process starts again for the remaining candidates until a simple majority is achieved. Once the first official is elected, the entire process starts again to elect the remaining official. The process can take several hours in a traditional vote, however while using Meridia’s keypads and CloudVOTE software, the Bureau completed the election in 30 minutes. The speed and accuracy of the system allowed the participants to see the results of each vote clearly, eliminating the need for paper ballots during particularly contentious votes and streamlining the process. All of the votes were counted automatically in CloudVOTE, thus eliminating the need for manual vote counting.
While discussing the proposed bylaw changes, each participant was able to voice their opinion clearly with the help of CloudVOTE despite the unique blend of live and virtual attendees. During this portion of the meeting the Bureau had the option to make an amendment to each motion. The amendment was then discussed by the meeting members before being voted on. Since CloudVOTE provides all the necessary tools for both live and virtual voting, every attendee was part of the vote and able to discuss each amendment as if they were in the room. And if the discussion became so lively that a board member made a “motion to end the discussion”, they were able to add an ad-hoc vote quickly.