How to Run an Election with Multiple Voting Methods

Published 01/03/2020 by YesElections

Running an election with multiple voting methods can seem overwhelming. However, implementing various forms of voting can increase turnout and satisfaction because members can choose the option best for them, whether it’s traditional paper ballots or voting online.  

Multiple Voting Methods: Hybrid vs. Composite 

There are two ways to incorporate multiple voting methods: hybrid and composite. Both are comprised of online voting, in which members can cast a ballot directly from a smartphone, tablet or computer, and paper balloting, which requires a polling place or mailing services. 


With a hybrid election, members can choose how they vote. All members will be mailed a paper ballot, but have the option to vote online as well.  


When using the composite method, an organization sends email ballots to members who have provided that information and mails paper ballots to those who have only provided physical addresses. This way, organizations aren’t wasting funds on excess printing and postage. 


Follow these four steps to run an election with multiple means of voting:

1. Determine a Budget

Most associations set their annual budgets a year in advance, so all factors affecting the election must be researched and decided upon early in the process. Some considerations include:

  • Will the association run the election itself or engage an election management agency?
  • How many voting methods are required?
  • Which methods are most cost effective?
  • How will the institution promote the election to achieve the highest voter turnout?

2. Decide Who will Run the Election

An organization has two options when it comes to running elections: operate the contest internally, or hire an experienced election management agency. This decision may come down to whether or not the institution can afford the combination of multiple methods, which approaches will get the most turnout, and which type members want to utilize. The hybrid and composite approaches empower voters by giving them a say in the way they cast their ballot. For some organizations, these two options may not fulfill their needs. If that’s the case, ask your election vendor if a customized plan can be created. 

3. Schedule and Promote the Election

After deciding on multiple methods of voting, an association should schedule the nomination process and the election date. In the months leading up to the contest, collect emails from members, send e-blasts as reminders, post content on social media to encourage participation, and put a call-out on the website. Make sure all promotions include information about the different voting options, so members are aware they have more than one option to choose from. 

4. Tabulate the Results

For organizations looking to use multiple methods, it’s important to leave it up to the professionals. Keeping track of online and mailed ballots can become laborious, and votes can get lost or counted twice. Plus, having someone in the organization tabulate the results may not be the most secure option. Hiring an agency can ensure an efficient voting and tabulation process.

YesElections has been managing elections with multiple methods of voting for more than a decade. We monitor the process from nominations to tabulations, and ensure all elections are secure and accurate. For a complimentary consultation, contact us today.

Topics: Voting Management Systems, multiple methods of voting

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