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Election Tips | Online Voting | Voting | Essential

How to Create a Voting Ballot in 5 Easy Steps

Putting together a voting ballot can be super simple if you know the best practices.
Sarah Diamond
Written by Sarah Diamond

If you have a simple decision to make but have a lot of options, a voting ballot may be the right solution to moving things forward.

A voting ballot is different to a nomination ballot in that the choices to the questions are presented in the ballot so that the voters can make their preferred selection.

For example, the question on the voting ballot could be “Where should you get lunch from today?” and the set list of possible choices could be “A. Your lunchbox, B. The snack bin, C. The café downstairs.”

A nomination ballot is often used for candidate-based elections and may consist of some pre-determined choices, but it may also allow your voters to select their choice of candidates from the list of voters or write-in a candidate of their choice.

Putting together a voting ballot can be super simple if you know the best practices.

There are so many options for voting platforms out there, that deciding what you need can be at times overwhelming. For quick votes, you’ll need an online voting platform that has the capacity to handle a range of voting needs as well as a range of voters. To help you create a voting ballot for your upcoming vote, we’ve put together this easy step-by-step list:

 

Step 1: Plan your vote type

What kind of event do you need a voting ballot for? As mentioned earlier, voting ballots are ideal for votes that have a list of pre-determined options. Presenting your voters with clear choices will make the voting process go smoothly and will prevent any headaches associated with write-in suggestions – especially for a vote that requires a quick answer.

Organizations often choose a voting platform with a voting ballot feature already built in, so it’s easier to input their information. Due to the nature of these votes, most admins handle ballot setup on their own since a quick vote generally consists of a minimal number of questions.

Some examples of quick votes include:

  • Planning an event
  • Your office’s next team outing destination
  • Your school’s next student event theme such as prom or homecoming
  • Your organization’s employee awards
  • Your university’s club awards

Learn more about vote types.

 

Step 2: Clean up your voter list

Nothing can drag out the progress of a quick vote like an outdate voter database. Since most closed-vote software requires that you submit or upload a set list of voters before voting can begin, you’ll want to scrub your voter list of any old email addresses or member ID numbers. This is important because it will help your voters log in and vote efficiently, so you can see results sooner!

An updated voter list is also useful if you are using a voting platform that allows question filtering. For example, if someone who used to work in marketing has since been promoted to sales and is not allowed to vote on your current ballot, then you can restrict them from voting on your ballot or any specific question that doesn’t pertain to them.

A closed election is important because it allows for complete security. Since your voter list is provided ahead of time, it leaves little room for fraudulent voting or vote tampering. You will always know who is eligible to vote. Although your vote may not require this level of security, it’s always better to be safe and stick with an online voting software that prioritizes your data.

Learn more about voter lists.

 

Step 3:  Set up your voting ballot

Now for the fun part. If your voting platform has a voting ballot feature, you’ll want to select that option to see only the fields relevant to your vote. The most important things to include are:

  • The title
  • Ballot open and close date and times
  • The questions
  • The choices
  • Instructions on how to vote
  • Whether or not you want the vote to be anonymous

With eBallot Essential, you’ll have a few more options to customize your ballot – but you can check that out here.

 

Step 4: Notify your voters

Since you don’t want all that work to be for nothing, you’ll need to notify your voters of your upcoming vote! With quick votes, you’ll want to make sure you send at least one notification before the vote, and one during the vote for good measure.

Your voter notifications should always include a brief description of the vote and instructions on how to access the ballot. You’ll need to decide whether or not you want your voters to log in traditionally with a username and password or if you want them to have one-click link access (you can have both with eBallot Essential).

Not all voting platforms come with built-in email notifications, so if you are using one that does not, simply craft one using your organization’s email system – the requirements for what to put in the body of your message will be the same: description of the event and login instructions.

The more concise and clear your message is, the easier it will be for your voters to figure out how to log in.

Learn more about email notifications.

 

Step 5: Launch your ballot

Congratulations! Your ballot is now ready to go live. Keep in mind, regardless of when you activate your ballot, your voters will not be able to see the ballot until the day that you scheduled your ballot to open during ballot setup.

An online voting platform is ideal for quick votes because it generally allows you to see results the moment your ballot opens. Real-time results like this are great for votes that only last a day or two because they cut out any tabulation on your part.

As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of energy to create a voting ballot if you know the right steps to take. Now that the votes are rolling in and a potential decision is on the horizon, what else will you use a voting ballot for?

We’ve got some ideas. Take a look at how eBallot Essential works and how we use it to make impactful decisions every day, big or small.

Originally published Jun 11, 2019, updated 1560286095364

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