Running a national association election electronically might sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Many national associations turn to online voting, which can be a more cost-effective option as opposed to other methods, while still supplying security within your member-based organization election.
In the spirit of helping voting associations prepare for the road ahead, we’ve come up with tried-and-true tips for running your national association election online. Here are five important tips which include setting goals pre-election, reviewing your organization laws and/or bylaws, ensuring security, spreading awareness of the election, and informing voters about candidates.
Before conducting any election, it’s important to set goals, such as boosting member satisfaction by 20 percent or increasing voter turnout by 10 percent from the previous year. Both objectives can be tracked by an election management service agency through surveys and vote tabulation. An experienced election management vendor can be a great tool to help to realize these goals, provide analytical data, review past process and results, and provide recommendations to improve contests going forward.
Established election management agencies have been providing online voting for years in both small and large elections. Due to its convenience, simplicity, and integration with social media sites, online voting has been known to increase voter participation.
Review Laws & Bylaws
Being proactive never hurts. One of the most important things you can do before any election is to check state laws and bylaws governing your organization’s election process. These regulations may dictate the voting methods at your disposal, which members are eligible to compete, and how candidates are chosen.
Ensure the Election is Secure
With concerns mounting over election integrity and large-scale data breaches, it’s vital that you can guarantee your election is secure. One way to achieve this is by hiring a qualified election vendor who offers the features necessary to ensure privacy and data protection. With voters across the country casting ballots in different places at various times, it’s important to safeguard votes, ensure ballots are secret and are only counted once, and that any technical problems are eliminated.
Reputable election management agencies should have the software that protects the entirety of an election, including single-vote verification, secure nomination and voting sites, ballot tracking, and data privacy. Additional protections include real-time monitoring, firewalls, back-up generators, and precautions for “main server” failures.
YesElections boasts a single-vote verification system to prevent duplicate votes, secure nominations and ballots, ballot tracking to monitor voting in real-time, help desk voter support, and data privacy regulations, meaning it doesn’t share data with third-parties.
Spread Election Awareness
Spread the word! Promoting a national election can be challenging, especially with members being scattered across various regions. Don’t let this deter you. Spreading awareness about the nomination and election procedures, along with information about the candidates and important dates, is a crucial part of the process. If no one knows the date of the contest nor the voting method, how will they vote?
If the budget allows, use a multi-channel approach to reach voters wherever they live. For some organizations with thousands of members, postcards, letters, and flyers may be an expensive means of promoting the contest. To cut costs, you can print advertisements on the back of annual dues bills or take advantage of other distribution channels.
Social media, emails, and website postings are free outlets to get your message across. Additionally, you can create an election calendar and share it via email or add it to your website’s homepage. If utilizing an election management provider, ask them to schedule an email blast to eligible voters pre-election, and email notification reminders during the election period to only those voters who have not yet cast a ballot. There are also promotional opportunities at monthly meetings or events to verbally remind members.
Provide Candidate Information
Many national associations have an expansive network. For example, the National Education Association logged a total membership of more than 3 million in 2019 and the American Bar Association represents 194,000 dues-paying members, with approximately 14.4 percent being U.S. attorneys. . With such vast networks, it’s impossible to know everyone in the group.
Disseminating information about the candidates ensures all members will understand their opinions on the issues. When sending out promotions for the contest include headshots and bios about each candidate, plus a brief list of items on their platform.
Learn more about online voting and its benefits in our comprehensive guide: Online Voting, Explained.
YesElections has been running elections online across the globe since 2007. We have the software, technology, and security features to ensure a fair contest. To have us run your next online election, contact us today.