Board Voting by Email: 3 Major Risks

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • May 19, 2023
Board Voting by Email
Reading Time: 3 minutes

An online board voting tool empowers board members to conduct efficient voting via a secure platform. Look for one with these features.

Holding an in-person meeting simply to vote on a particular decision might not seem like the best use of resources, but the risks associated with voting by email are real. 

While email is fast and convenient, it’s notoriously insecure. It also needs to be carefully regulated for your board to legally use it to make decisions. 

Read on to learn about some of the most significant risks of voting by email, special requirements some states impose for voting by email, and why board management software mitigates these risks.

Should Boards Vote by Email?

In many states, boards must adhere to specific rules in order to vote by email. In fact, 44 states specify board members must have the opportunity to “communicate concurrently” prior to voting to ensure no new information is presented that could sway their decision.

If your board chair or CEO puts out a call to vote that clearly specifies each member must respond, the results may be considered legitimate if every member properly responds in writing from their business email (preferably not a personal email) within a reasonable amount of time. 

Email votes must also be unanimous to be considered legitimate. Additionally, you’ll need to meet in-person to vote again if the results aren’t unanimous.

Under the right circumstances, email voting can certainly offer a convenient alternative to meeting in-person, but there are several risks you need to consider. 

Risks of Voting by Email

Voting by email may seem like a convenient alternative to voting in-person, but doing it safely may be harder than you think. You’ll want to consider these 3 major risks before voting from a personal email address.

1. Security Issues

Email platforms are prone to security breaches, making them problematic for any voting that contains confidential information. For instance, approximately 83% of organizations reported at least one phishing attack in 2021, while 94% of malware is delivered through email. 

2. Unreliability

Email voting can also be less reliable than in-person voting. Voting remotely means there’s no guarantee conversations were held behind the scenes that may have influenced a member’s vote. With email voting, there’s also no way to guarantee the response even came from the intended board member. 

3. Legality 

Email voting, as well as virtual board and committee meetings, are not legally permitted in some states. Therefore, it’s crucial to look closely at your state’s laws and local regulations before allowing your board to vote by email. 

Even if your state does allow email voting, it must be done according to strict guidelines, which means that it may not be as convenient as you expect it to be. 

Decisions made based on a voting method your state doesn’t approve of can cause your board and organization to face penalties. It can even negatively impact your ability to obtain funding in the future. Ultimately, the cons of voting by email often outweigh the pros.

How Board Portals Improve Board Voting

Using a board portal offers a much more secure solution that enhances security and better aligns with most local guidelines than voting by email. 

Board portals make it significantly easier to organize conversations and decisions in a central hub, increase communication, and hold secure conference calls when needed. Board portals also include a wide range of additional features and helpful tools, such as customizable templates for creating strong agendas,  secure messaging system, and a convenient platform for assigning tasks and keeping track of deadlines. 

Getting Started With OnBoard 

At OnBoard, we provide a secure option for voting online that removes the need to vote by email and ultimately simplifies board voting procedures

Our board management software comes equipped with key features and capabilities that make it easier for your board of directors to stay organized and work efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Can Board Members Communicate Via Email?

    Most types of communication between board members can be conducted via email as long as you use a secure email platform. However, it’s often better to avoid sending sensitive or confidential conversations by email.

  • Can Board Minutes Be Approved by Email?

    Minutes need to be approved in-person at future board meetings. Your board secretary should send a copy of each meeting's minutes to your entire board shortly after each meeting. Approval cannot be voted on until members have the option to make adjustments at the next meeting. 

Ready to upgrade your board’s effectiveness with OnBoard the board intelligence platform? Schedule a demo or request a free trial

About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.