Online voting has become the go-to election model for member-based organizations worldwide.
Once dominated by paper balloting, elections are frequently transitioning to the internet, where groups can achieve much-needed cost savings and secure access to more mature voting systems.
The underlying technology that supports election systems depends entirely on the vendor, so it’s important to ask pointed questions when interviewing potential contractors.
For starters, you’d want to inquire about ballot verification (determining if a member casts a single vote), security, data protection, nominations, and most importantly, election results. In a perfect world, a vendor’s online voting software would be able to easily manage all of the aforementioned tasks, essentially streamlining the entire voting process.
One of the most glaring advantages online voting has over its counterparts is its simplicity. From nominating members and cataloguing proposals to designing ballots and unscrambling the voting process, internet voting is the choice for those in the market for convenience.
Anyone who has managed an election in the past knows all too well how important it is to get off to a good start. The nomination period sets the tone for the entire contest, as members are permitted to recommend colleagues they believe are the best fits for specific seats, and to clearly explain proposals up for a vote.
With internet-based contests, the chosen candidates can use a vendor’s system to upload biographical information, images, and other pertinent information. The election management company will then produce online ballots each and every member will be able to access once the voting period begins.
Indeed, this is the main event. When voting is initiated, members will be provided instructions explaining how to cast their ballots—directions typically sent via email. Depending on the company running the election, voters can either cast a ballot directly from their organization's member portal or a third-party site. While both boast a measure of convenience other methods lack, the ability to cast a ballot through an internal site is considered the more practical alternative. And that’s no small thing, considering the busy lives of your members.
Online voting software promotes additional features that other methods simply can't accommodate, such as social media integration. When a member completes a ballot, they may have the opportunity to announce this to great fanfare over such social media sites as Facebook and LinkedIn. While online voting is often associated with higher turnout, incorporating these tools not only increases the likelihood members will vote again in the future, but may also inspire a more apathetic member to participate as well.
It goes without saying that correctly tallying votes is probably the most important aspect of running an election, for several reasons. First, organizations want to maintain credibility among voting members, which would be difficult to do if errors are made in counting ballots. Second, having to trace steps and correct results is not only time-consuming, but could also be a waste of important resources, including time and money.
The most credible election management agencies pride themselves on “single-vote verification” systems. Essentially, vendors cross reference names of eligible voters with those who've voted, to ensure only a single ballot was cast.
As an added benefit, online elections are often finalized in half the time it takes to complete contests primarily conducted over paper or other methods.
It makes sense that security and data protection are primary concerns for member-based groups. While many of us are fine with posting updates and photos of our families on social media channels, there’s no reason for voters to have information posted online. Reputable election vendors never share election lists with third parties. Instead, the names on these lists are used exclusively to authenticate ballots. Speaking of ballots, many of these voting sheets are secret, meaning a person's vote is as well—even to those monitoring these contests.
The most advanced voting systems can control an entire election, from start to finish. From the moment nominations are open to when votes are 100-percent certified, there’s almost nothing that state-of-the-art online voting software can’t do.
For more than a decade, YesElections has managed elections throughout 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.