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Top Online Voting Benefits & Risks When Switching From Paper Ballots

Top Online Voting Benefits & Risks When Switching From Paper Ballots

Everything is done online, from sending money to friends instantly to setting your thermostat from a different city – all from an app.

So why do some organizations still use paper ballots to conduct important votes? Furthermore, why do they make their voters travel to a specific location to participate?

If you're an organization that still relies on paper or in-person voting, perhaps you have some pretty convincing reasons as to why. After all, there are sound benefits to using paper such as tradition, ease of use, and of course, a paper trail.

When it comes to onboarding your voters to an online voting system, you could argue that you're encouraging voting in a controlled environment and minimizing any fraudulent activities that could occur behind the scenes.

While these are solid reasons to continue using your existing voting methods, all of these benefits can also be achieved by using an online voting platform. Not to mention, there are numerous ways a digital voting platform can help your organization in ways that traditional and outdated voting methods cannot. Here are some pros and cons of taking your voting process online:


Pro: Your voters can vote from anywhere

One of the main reasons modern organizations switch to online voting is that they can give their voters the convenience of voting from anywhere, on any of their computers, tablets, or even on the go from their mobile devices. Since they are given a username and password to access their ballot, all they need is access to the internet, and a secure network on which to cast their vote.


Con: Some software requires an app

While some online voting software can be used securely within your browser window, others may require the use of a downloadable program or app. While these tools will get the job done, it can be an added hassle for your voters or IT department to ensure everything is set up correctly.


Pro: It makes a complex election easy

Some organizations require a more complex voting setup like anonymous voting, weighted voting, or ranked choice voting. Populating accurate results can prove to be an even bigger challenge. These situations are made easy when assisted by a platform that is created to handle those actions.


Con: A self-administered vote may take more planning

The right online voting software should have a very friendly user interface for both the administrator and the voter. We have simplified it even further by providing some support along with video tutorials and knowledge articles to walk you from signing in, all the way to email campaigns and collecting results in real time.

Some larger events and multistage votes may warrant some additional knowledge and expertise. Having an online voting  partner help you manage your vote may be the best course of action in these circumstances.


Pro: Accessibility & communication lead to higher turnout

So much can go wrong when you require in-person or mailing your ballot like, people being sick, traffic, weather delays, misplaced or lost mail. When you move your vote online, you eliminate these challenges making it more accessible by allowing voters to vote from any location and on any device.

Effective communication is the key to your election and its results. By utilizing tools such as email and text messaging, you can notify each voter about the upcoming election, send them their sign in credentials and also send reminders to those who haven't voted. This increases both engagement, and turnout for your online election.


Con: A full-fledged voting software may be more than what you need

Your organization may be taking a simple vote amongst a small team or just want to find a general consensus on an issue and is not making a major decision, so surveys or polls may be more appropriate for your needs.

Online voting software can also serve as a survey or a poll by simply adjusting the structure of the question and the answer field. It's a great way to create a "paper trail", while you can also use it for your next election.

There are also free tools that fit your immediate need, but they come at the cost of security. Depending on the level of sensitivity of the data you are collecting, they may be a great tool to utilize.


Pro: Lower long-term costs

There's always a cost associated with holding an election or a voting event. You may think traditional paper ballots are less costly but when you break it down, you will realize that you will be saving money by switching to online elections.

The costs would defer based on industry of course, but generally speaking, the cost of space, printing hundreds or thousands of ballots, mailing them, and then the time and staff required to count and re-counting and other voting initiatives.


Pro: Full transparency

A good online voting system will have a process that you can see and trust. You should be able to know just how they are tabulating your votes and how secure their process and data storage is. Unlike paper ballots, a reliable online voting platform with the right security measures in place, won't leave your votes vulnerable to fraud and tampering. Most closed voting systems require user authentication, so you can rest assured that only eligible voters are participating in their respective ballots and there is no double voting.

To get a better idea of how we can make your voting process easier and more secure, take a look at our How it Works page.

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