Between administering benefits, approving budgets, providing oversight, along with myriad other tasks, retirement system trustees play a vital role in retirees accessing coveted benefits.
Trustees are always looking out for their retiree’s best interests, therefore elections must be streamlined and made more efficient.
Running an affordable pension system election goes a long way toward earning the trust and appreciation of members—but it’s only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Pension system elections need to be secure, mistake-free, and just as important, stress-free.
Pension system elections share many of the same qualities as contests run by other member-based groups. The ultimate goal is to ensure members are taken care of, their concerns are managed, and member enthusiasm remains high—especially during election season. Since pension system boards often include elected and appointed trustees, it’s crucial members have an opportunity to elect someone they feel will best represent their interests.
With that in mind, let’s examine how you can operate an affordable pension system election.
Online Elections Are More Cost-Effective
The single best way to make your elections more cost-effective is to operate an online election.
If you're partial to mail-in voting, on-site elections, or favor other options, online voting may at first glance appear prohibitive to turning out a sizable percentage of your electorate. But the truth is online voting has been known to increase voter turnout for all types of member-based organizations. Members cite the convenience of being able to vote at their leisure, and organizations become invested after realizing the cost-savings associated with online elections.
Online elections cost savings, explained
After the important nomination phase is completed, ballots are subsequently printed and delivered via the mail to eligible voters. Depending on your pension system's size, thousands of ballots may need to be mailed and returned.
The cost of stamps tends to rise each year—the rate for a single stamp has spiked 10 cents since 2012—though it remained steady at 55 cents in 2020. However, the United States Postal Service (USPS) does offer discounts for customers mailing a minimum of 500 pieces of First-Class Mail—an incentive that most large pension systems using paper balloting likely benefit from.
While the mass mailing discount is attractive, the only way you can eliminate those fees is through online elections.
Taken together, the elimination of printing and mailing costs can provide you with significant savings, enabling you to direct funds elsewhere.
Other benefits of online voting
On top of the cost savings, online elections are considered convenient. Members can vote from any location using any type of internet-supported device.
Increased Voter Turnout
Since voting is as simple as logging in and casting a ballot, online voting is often associated with increased voter turnout.
Consider this: American adults used the mobile internet for an average of three hours and 30 minutes in 2019, a reported spike of 20 minutes from the previous year. By 2021, that average is expected to eclipse four hours.
Americans of all ages expend a great deal of their time on the internet. While those in the 16-24 and 25-34 age brackets favored smartphones over other devices, older adults, on average, spent more than three hours per day browsing the internet on a computer or tablet in 2019.
The significance here is that while age may have been a hindrance to online voting in the past, that’s likely no longer the case.
According to the Pew Research Center: “Those 60 and older–a group increasingly populated by aging Baby Boomers–now spend more than half of their daily leisure time, four hours and 16 minutes, in front of screens, mostly watching TV or videos. Screen time has increased for those in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, and the rise is apparent across genders and education levels.”
While you may be apprehensive about introducing members to a new voting method, online voting will not only save your pension system money but it could also prove to be popular among members.
The combination of greater financial flexibility, plus convenience for members may be too good to pass up. And it's also worth noting that results can be announced much sooner as compared to paper, on-site, or other voting options.
Organized correctly, what began as a mission to bring down costs could result in a wide-ranging overhaul of your election process.
For more than a decade, YesElections has managed elections across the United States. Our investment in state-of-the-art security makes us one of the most reliable election management agencies in the nation. To learn more about how YesElections can help your organization, request a free consultation, today.