Voting

How to Change a Live Voting Event to Digital

Have recent events forced you to switch your live voting event to a digital vote? Here are some basic things to know before you make any changes.
Written by Alex Hay

Casting a ballot or taking a vote in-person can be a powerful experience for your voters. Though it is a simple gesture, it’s a tangible representation of their voices making an impact on an important decision.

Unfortunately, live voting events aren’t always the most convenient way of coming to a consensus. Often they are bound to time and logistical restraints that may be too burdensome for your organizations to make worthwhile.

However, switching these events to digital-only doesn’t mean that your voters have to lose that sense of importance when casting their ballot. With the right preparation and tools, you can seamlessly take your vote online.

Get organized

If you’ve already put plans in place for a live voting event, then you should be able to easily adapt your existing plan for a digital platform. However, if you’re just getting started, you’ll need to consider a few things.

Make a list of voters

Create or export a list of all eligible voters. Make sure to include their name, email address, along with any other segmentation information such as department or group.

Just like they are used by the government to view who is eligible to vote in an election, a well-maintained voter list removes any questions about the authenticity and accuracy of a vote. They can also be used to measure the final vote turnout, or how many voters participated in the decision.

Think About Your Timeframe

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about online voting, and voting in general, is that big decisions need to be made all at once. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A vote does not necessarily have to take place during a specific timeframe or even be tied to a particular event. Digital voting gives both voters and administrators the freedom to hold a vote how and when they want it, whether it is over several hours, days, or even weeks. Because of this flexibility, you can set the timing for your vote event to match or even exceed the parameters of your rescheduled event.

Choose the right voting management platform for the job

Online voting platforms have become increasingly popular over the past several years, primarily because of their quality and ease of use. Your voters will receive a link with login information to access their ballot, then submit their votes electronically with their phones, tablet or computer for tabulation. This process is simpler than paper ballots both for accessing the ballot on the voter side and counting votes from the administrator side.

Some online voting platform providers will also provide additional services, such as third-party election administrators, promotions for the event, and ballot customizations. These services can help reduce the stress of executing a large-scale event as specialists can ensure that everything runs smoothly, allowing your team can focus on what to do with the results received.

Notify your voters

To guarantee that hosting a digital voting event won’t affect turnout, you’ll need to change your approach to your vote promotion campaigns. You might consider working with your organization’s communications, PR, or marketing teams to publicize the vote. They have intimate knowledge of what works for your organization when it comes to outreach, whether internal or external.

If you don't have an internal team to help with publicizing your upcoming vote, you can get by with sending an email about your upcoming vote. But also consider what else the people at your organization pay attention to (e.g. your social media accounts, an internal tool that you can create notifications on, etc.) Regardless, a third-party online voting vendor will help you think through the best way to get the word out about your vote and maximize turnout.

Review your results

With the features and flexibility provided by online voting solutions, you have many more options for analyzing voting results than you would if you were counting physical ballots. For example, it is much simpler to count the results of a ranked-choice vote with a software program than it is trying to keep track of voters’ preferences on your own accord.

Voting software also allows you to easily keep track of other important information that may not traditionally appear on a ballot, like demographic information. This gives you a better sense of the differences and similarities of various subgroups within your organization.

Lastly, voting software will help you better manage voter security, as you can go back into the results and ensure that everyone’s ballot was counted correctly.

Before the voting event, you’ll want to highlight some key data points that will be important for your organization to collect. When the vote is complete, take some time with your team to study the results and compare the collected results to what your initial perceptions were.

What are you waiting for?

There is a lot involved in making decisions that will affect organizations. From organizing the people and resources required for a vote to educating them about your upcoming decision, you want to be sure that you’re covering all of the bases needed for a successful outcome.

The good news is that switching from a live voting event to an online vote has never been easier or more convenient. With the right tools and preparation, your team can run a similar event in a digital space without sacrificing turnout or effectiveness.

Ready to Vote?

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Originally published Sep 10, 2020, updated September 10, 2020

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