A guide to mobile online voting software
How to find the right mobile voting software for your surveys, votes, or elections.
Introduction to the mobile online voting guide
This guide is all about using mobile online voting software to expand voting access to more of your group. We've focused on this because accessibility is one of the main reasons why you’d choose a mobile online voting software in the first place.
Keep in mind that there are many different mobile online voting software options out there. Each will allow you to balance your needs of ballot accessibility and security. Only you can decide the optimal balance, but this guide will help you think through the important points.
For a fuller understanding, have a look at our online voting system guide for a comprehensive introduction to the tool that allows you to run and manage secure votes.
Have questions? Contact us.
What is mobile online voting software?
Mobile online voting software allows you to pose questions to your group and have them vote on those questions from their mobile device, such as a tablet or smart phone. From there, you can take those responses into consideration and make decisions about the best way forward.
Why is mobile online voting software popular?
Groups enjoy mobile online voting software because ballots are highly accessible by their members. Ultimately, there are two steps required to vote: clicking on a link and voting. High voter accessibility levels means better cooperation and more feedback from your group.
Example of a ballot with high accessibility
Letting your group vote from their phones makes your questions highly accessible, since your voters don’t need to be in any specific location. This means you’ll enjoy the benefits of high voter turnout. Further, your group will be happier and more likely to be engaged the next vote you run.
Example of a ballot with low accessibility
In contrast, making your group book plane tickets and fly across the country just to be in the same room to vote would be an example of low accessibility. As you can imagine, this would likely lead to low voter turnout along with frustrated group members. You want to avoid this at all costs.
How will your group benefit from mobile online voting software?
There are two major benefits:
You’ll be able to let your group members weigh in on important topics
You’ll be able to determine your balance of accessibility and security.
Let group members weigh in
You might vote on electing people into leadership positions, or maybe you’re curious about where everyone wants to go to eat on Thursday. As you can imagine, the options are wide open.
As a general rule, expect that your group will enjoy having their voices heard and taken into consideration.
Determine the right balance for accessibility and security
'Accessibility' can refer not only to how easy it is to access your ballots (voter accessibility), but also how easy your ballots are to build and manage (administrator accessibility).
Security is more about preventing manipulation of the vote (e.g. people voting twice) and being able to audit your results if they come under scrutiny (e.g. someone challenges the outcome).
Security can sometimes come at the cost of accessibility (i.e. more security measures may make logging in to the software more complicated), but that’s not always the case depending on the voting tool you use. At the end of the day, the optimal balance of the two should be tailored to your group’s specific needs.
How do you use mobile online voting software?
This depends on the type of mobile voting software you decide on, but the major concepts are the same:
You invite group members to vote on issues important to your group
Group members vote on those items
You look at what they voted on and make decisions based on their input
Should I use a mobile online voting app that needs to be downloaded?
We wouldn’t recommend it because it directly hinders accessibility. Requiring everyone to download an app will create a needless barrier to voting.
Luckily, that is avoidable by using a web-based voting system. Well-built web apps are becoming more and more commonplace. They're highly secure and relied on by high-profile organizations around the globe.
What are the different types of mobile online voting software?
Free mobile polling and surveys
These options won’t, however, offer the security of a paid mobile online voting software. Further, their teams won’t fully support you during what may be a stressful time (e.g. someone challenging the results of your vote or election).
We recommend using free tools for polls and surveys that, at the end of the day, don’t really affect your group that much (e.g. choosing a place to cater lunch).
Paid mobile voting and survey software
The downside of free tiers is that features will be limited. If you’re running a simple vote, this may be totally fine (even preferred). But oftentimes, you’ll need to be on a paid plan to do what’s needed.
Typeform’s paid plans, for example, have numerous premium customization features like quizzes, logic jumps, and integrations with Slack and Airtable. Survicate is a great customer feedback tool that provides most everything you could ask of for simple, but customizable customer surveys.
We recommend using paid mobile voting and survey software in cases where the free plans don’t have the features you need.
Paid mobile voting management software and services
If you’re looking at paid voting and survey software, you’d do well also considering voting management software. This is particularly the case if you’re running votes or elections that are of significant importance to your group or organization.
There are two components to a voting management system: voting software and vote management services.
Secure voting software - Reputable companies that offer secure mobile voting software will enable you to run a secure vote - meaning no double voting as well as the ability to audit your results in the event of scrutiny.
Vote management services - These consulting services involve an outside team managing your voting events. In this setup, they’ll take on the responsibility of following best practices, managing voter outreach, certifying your results, and navigating any issues if they crop up.
How should I determine which type of voting software to use?
We recommend discussing these questions with your leadership team and coming to some firm conclusions about your inclinations.
What are you voting on and how important are these things to your group?
If you run a “where should we go to eat?” vote, whatever is chosen shouldn’t be that big of a deal. You never know, but hopefully no one will be upset and harbor long-term resentment if their favorite restaurant didn’t get chosen. However, if you’re voting on electing folks to leadership positions and altering major processes, that’s a whole different story.
Do your members trust in group leaders?
They might not feel comfortable sharing their opinions on potentially controversial internal issues. Or maybe they would, but only if their responses were truly anonymous. What do you think?
Would someone challenging the vote create a bad situation?
In certain organizations, someone saying “I don’t trust that this vote was fairly run” wouldn’t be a big deal. Other times, that would create massive dissent and a toxic environment. And further, in some instances, there may even be legal implications of a contested vote. What would happen at your organization?
What happens if I choose the wrong mobile voting software?
This depends on how your group is set up and the people within it.
Choosing a tool with high accessibility and low security may make it easy for your voters to access, but it can put you at risk of not being able to manage the vote optimally.
If you opt for a higher security mobile online voting software, you risk a higher monetary cost and a slightly more involved voting setup process.
If you are wondering what’s right for you, let us know and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
When should I invest in mobile voting software?
You should invest in a paid mobile online voting software when the outcomes of what you’re voting on or who you’re electing brings significant consequences for your organization. Put simply, if what you’re voting on matters a lot - you’re asking for trouble if you’re using a free service.
A secure, mobile online voting software is the only tool that virtually guarantees a smooth and successful vote.
What makes eBallot the best solution for secure, accessible mobile voting software?
We might not be the best mobile online voting system for your situation, but you should know we’re able to balance security and accessibility in a way that most others can’t.
That was a high-level introduction to mobile online voting software. Interested in where to head next?
Here are some options:
Read our introduction to online voting systems to get a better sense of what's possible
Send us an inquiry about your vote and we'll give you our advice on best next steps
Have a question? We're here to help.
Contact us to get started.