Associations and other member-based groups that organize elections have long relied on paper ballots to process votes. While this traditional method is still considered a popular option, organizations are increasingly turning to online elections as a way to reduce costs and increase turnout, among other advantages.
Online voting has increased in prevalence because of the benefits briefly outlined above, but also because it is incredibly convenient and makes life easier for voting members across different associations.
If your association or member-based group is still uncomfortable about fully migrating elections to online voting, perhaps you need to take some time to consider whether the benefits outweigh the momentary anxiety of moving away from a system you’ve relied on for years.
On the surface, transitioning to a new platform may feel intimidating, but that’s why most associations partner with a professional election management agency that oversees all elements of online elections, from nominations and ballot creation to security and accurate election results.
To help you get a better grasp online elections more generally, let’s analyze why online elections have become so popular and how this voting method may prove beneficial to your association.
It goes without saying that people are increasingly spending more of their personal time on digital devices. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering the many gadgets we have on our person at any given time. Americans now spend more time on mobile devices (3 hours and 43 minutes) than watching TV, according to the research firm eMarketer. Worldwide, people are more comfortable completing daily tasks online, such as banking, applying for credit cards and loans, and paying bills.
Indeed, these devices make accomplishing such tasks incredibly easy, and that also goes for voting. Depending on the election vendor, members can participate in an online election via smartphones, tablets and computers. Voting is conducted either on a secure, third-party site, or through your association’s online portal.
In a nutshell, your members can vote from wherever they are on supported devices as soon as online voting commences. Now, you can say goodbye to paper ballots and associated printing and mailing costs.
Some people reading this might be thinking: “Can’t I just use a DIY company for elections?” Yeah, that’s definitely an option, though such services are best for smaller-sized associations of 100 members or less. Additionally, these online voting platforms don’t have the robust security services and ballot authentication systems that reputable election management agencies rely on to operate seamless internet elections.
Association election security has little to do with the type of malicious attacks from bad actors that you hear about on the news. Instead, reliable vendors incorporate single-vote verification, which prevents duplicate votes. Basically, the agency managing your election knows when a ballot has been cast, by whom, and makes sure that person is marked as having voted. Any subsequent votes—most likely by accident—aren’t counted.
Our comprehensive guide to online elections expands on these security features, including private ballots, data privacy, and accurate vote tabulation.
Reliable, Accurate & Timely Results
Yet another advantage of online voting over paper balloting is its ability to accurately capture votes and provide timely results.
As we’ve written about previously, online voting protects against potential ballot inaccuracies because members simply click on a candidate or item instead of penciling in a circle on a physical ballot. If a member mistakenly enters the wrong choice on an online ballot, they can easily select the correct one, without any confusion.
Also, vendors capture results quicker in online elections, meaning associations will know the outcome relatively early. By comparison, properly processing paper ballots—which have to be returned in the mail—can take weeks.
Online Elections Increases Turnout
One of the main reasons why associations prefer online voting is because it is known to increase voter turnout, which is especially important for member-based organizations. There are multiple reasons for this, including many we’ve already discussed. Enabling online voting increases the likelihood that people will participate, while social media integration inspires—or reminds—previously apathetic voters to cast a ballot as well. Once members get a taste of how simple voting is, they’re more likely to do so again.
Online Voting Is Simple
Online voting simplifies nominations, reduces election costs by eliminating the need to print and mail ballots, streamlines the entire election process, and increases overall member engagement.
Those are just some of the reasons why online voting has become so prevalent in recent years. Aside from the fact that associations are always looking for ways to modernize operations and reduce costs, online voting essentially improves every aspect of an election.
Most importantly: You can rest assured knowing the results will be accurate and delivered to you in a timely fashion. And if your election was a success, members will be more eager to participate when the next contest rolls around.
With years of experience managing elections across the United States, YesElections offers industry-leading security and a wide array of voting services to ensure members vote, and continue to do so, for years to come. Contact us today to request a complimentary consultation.