Voting 101: How to Interpret Results

Published 05/29/2019 by YesElections

Private elections serve a variety of important functions. For the most part, these races will decide who sits on the board of an organization, the fate of a new union contract, or whether members agree on initiatives designed to improve the lives of the entire group.

So when it comes down to analyzing the results of these all-important races, data will be your best friend. That’s because the numbers will provide unbiased insights into your entire election, including the number of voters, who specifically cast a ballot and whether your membership prefers a particular voting method.

If you’re hosting an election independently or partnering with an election management agency, here are a few things to look for when interpreting results.


Sure, it seems obvious, but verifying who won board member seats or which proposals earned the majority of the votes should be your first concern.

These answers should be apparent as your election draws to a close, and it’ll help complete the first phase of your assessment.

Once an election is over and you’ve performed a thorough accounting, announce the final results to your membership. Regardless of whether races were hotly contested or harmonious, it’s important that members are aware of outcomes as soon as possible so they continue to trust the process.

After all, these are exercises in democracy.

If the contest also happened to decide a change in policies, procedures or enacted comprehensive agreements, such as a union contract, craft a thorough explanation so members are aware of any important changes. Of course, this doesn’t have to happen immediately, but it’s best you get started as soon as possible.

Total Votes

Now that you’ve established the winners, it’s always helpful to determine how many people actually cast a ballot.

While it’s important for all members to vote, it may be unreasonable to expect complete participation. Nevertheless, assessing overall turnout can help you develop future strategies to increase voter engagement.

In some cases, elections may be required by law. But just because these contests are mandatory, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with members and remind them of all the benefits of being aligned with your group. Also, take the time to remind them why their vote matters.

One of the best ways to increase engagement is by partnering with an experienced election management agency. Such companies evaluate your previous elections and develop strategies to drive greater turnout. Among the most popular ways to achieve this is by migrating elections online. Internet voting is convenient and lends itself well to social media engagement.

Voting Methods

Election methods vary widely, especially if an election vendor is managing your contests.

Some of the most common ways in which people can cast a ballot is by mail, over the telephone, at an actual voting booth or online. The latter is increasingly becoming the preferred method among member-based organizations, especially because people can cast a ballot on a variety of devices, including computers and tablets. Some companies also offer hybrid voting, which allows members to vote via different methods, such as online and by mail.

If the final results indicate a low percentage of mailed ballots were returned, it could be an indication that people simply forgot to vote or ignored it altogether. If your organization uses multiple voting methods, you’ll be able to compare which performed better. This data can help you make future decisions about which method to use in the future.

The Takeaway

Carving out time to analyze results can help you determine how best to manage future elections. If you think of each contest as a part of a larger process to increase engagement and awareness among members, it can go a long way to turning out more voters in future elections.

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.

Topics: Voting Management Systems

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