Free Online Voting Systems: 5 Questions to Consider

Published 01/07/2021 by YesElections

When tasked with running your organization’s election, you’ll have to address myriad issues depending on the voting method you choose, including prepping mail-in ballots, selecting observers for polling sites, and among the most crucial, how you plan on improving turnout.

At the end of the day, however, the most important question is: How will you run the election? The options include operating it in-house, which can be quite the daunting task; employing an election management service, which takes the responsibilities off your plate; or utilizing free online voting systems. While using the latter may be made based on financial considerations, there are key questions to consider before going that route.


Will I be saving time & money?

Time is a valuable thing, especially when everyone seems to be inundated with work. Opting for a free online voting system will eliminate the need for you to prepare, mail, and count paper ballots, saving you time. However, free systems typically require some work. You’ll need to create the online ballot, fill out the names of candidates, and somehow determine how to ensure someone doesn’t vote twice, intentionally or not. 

Utilizing a free online voting software will provide some immediate cost-savings, especially on paper ballots and postage or poll workers for in-person contests. However, there are many trade-offs you must consider. Although you’ll be saving a chunk of your budget, you’ll be losing time and may not have the opportunity to take advantage of additional features and services, that will improve elections going forward. For example, you won’t have the promise of security and secrecy, and there’s always the chance the service will share your data with third-party companies. Additionally, your organization won’t be able to utilize multiple methods of voting, which can increase voter turnout and engagement because it gives members more of a choice as to how to participate. 

Engaging an election management agency can save your organization and its employees time and money. YesElections handles every aspect of the contest, from the nomination of candidates to the final tabulation, so you don’t have to lift a finger, except to vote. Plus, all features are included in your quoted price. 


Is the process going to be seamless and easy to use?

Because you’ll be responsible for every aspect of the election without any help from a professional, you’ll want to ensure the system you choose is easy to use. This goes for you and your voters. Voting is important and you want to make sure each and every member easily casts their ballot. If you don’t set up automated email reminders about the contest, detailing login or passcode information, website address, and steps to cast a ballot, your members may have a tough time figuring it out. If the voting process is too arduous, some members may decide it’s not worth the effort. 

YesElections offers a simple and easy-to-use online voting software that seamlessly integrates with your organization’s website. Our company sets up the system and provides step-by-step directions on how to cast a ballot from any device, so you don’t have to. This ensures all members know when, where, and how they can make their voice heard.  


Will the ballots be secure & secret?

The short answer is it depends. You’ll have to do research to find out which software offers security and protection free of charge. For many, this is an add-on feature or isn’t offered at all, meaning your organization will have to pay extra or run an election without security, which is not advisable. This can result in an inaccurate and unfair contest. To guarantee all votes are fairly cast, you’ll need to provide a variety of security measures, ranging from single-vote verification to secret ballots to a stable and private network. 

YesElections offers all of these security features, plus ballot tracking to monitor clicks and open rates. Our system is also completely auditable so your organization can double-check the results if need be. 


Will membership data be given out to third-parties?

Sometimes free products come with unknown tradeoffs, so the company is really getting something in return for your use. This can often be lists of names or other profile data. With free online voting services, there’s no way to tell if the company will be giving out the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your members to third parties. This can be concerning, as you’ll have no control over where this data lands and how it’s used in the future. As a result, some members may be hesitant to vote if they’re unsure their data is protected. 

YesElections promises to never share your information with third-party companies. Your data is confidential and strictly used for the election.


What additional features am I missing out on?

Typically, a free online voting system provides one service: the election. Beyond that, it doesn’t offer much else. Your organization may have goals it wants to meet such as increasing turnout by, say, 5 percent and online engagement by 3 percent. You’ll need additional features to achieve such objectives. 

Election management agencies provide a variety of complementary features to fuel voter turnout and engagement. YesElections enables organizations to combine online voting with other methods of voting such as paper ballot and phone voting to guarantee accessibility. We also provide the necessary security and data privacy measures. Another popular feature we offer is social media integration, so voters can share virtual “I Voted” stickers to their Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. This may remind or encourage other members to participate, boosting turnout and engagement rates. 


With state-of-the-art security protocols and a variety of features to boost your voter turnout, YesElections has years of experience and expertise conducting elections for private organizations. To get your contest started, request a complimentary consultation today. 

Topics: voting security, Online Voting

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