Deciding on the right solution for your event
Your cooperative or credit union has decided to invest in an online voting solution for your next event. Perhaps you are holding an annual general meeting for your board of directors, or your members will be electing leadership. With all of the online voting solutions on the market, what should you consider in order to choose the right one for your decision-making event?
Broadly speaking, we can group online voting solutions into two distinct camps: those that are designed for elections, and those built for meetings, assemblies, and similar decision-making events. While both types of solutions should come with the same basic set of features to help increase the accessibility, simplicity, and security of your event, there are a few notable differences between the two.
Online Voting for Elections
Online voting solutions intended for use during elections are typically designed to allow voters to cast their ballots from any location, on any internet-connected device, and at any time during the voting period. This means that, once the election begins and voting is open, eligible voters can log on to the voting portal, view and fill out their ballot, and cast their vote at any time before voting closes.
Prior to your election, you and your online voting provider will also need to ensure that your ballot is set up with the correct candidate and event information, and adequately tested to guarantee proper performance once voting opens.
Online voting systems for elections also tend to have a more robust security framework than those designed for meetings. While solutions designed for meetings should still guarantee the integrity of votes and the overall security of your event, elections often require added measures to protect voter privacy and anonymity, and to ensure transparency and auditability. You can read more about how an online voting system is secured here.
Online Voting for Meetings
Online voting during meetings and assemblies can be thought of as more dynamic than online voting in elections. In an election, voters can choose to cast their ballot whenever they like during the voting period, which can extend across multiple days. During a meeting, however, voting typically occurs within just a few hours. Moreover, voting is often conducted in a “live” manner, meaning that a particular agenda item or topic is brought up, discussed, and voted on before moving on to the next. Because of this, online voting solutions have been designed specifically to help make this live decision-making process more efficient and streamlined.
Managing an event through an online voting solution designed for meetings will be much more like organizing an agenda than creating a ballot. Agenda items are added to the online voting platform with all relevant information, and members log on when the meeting begins to view items and vote. Often, these online voting solutions offer you the flexibility to open items for voting one at a time, allowing you to control the pace of the meeting, or to open all items at once. Additionally, you should have the ability to add agenda items while your meeting is in process in case anything comes up in the discussion that needs to be voted on.
Finally, online voting solutions for meetings and assemblies should also integrate in some manner with a video-conferencing solution. This ensures that participants can still engage in a familiar meeting experience if they are participating virtually and remotely.
Whether you are holding an election for coop or credit union committees or your board of directors is having their annual general meeting, online voting can help you simplify and streamline any event. Scytl offers both Invote, an online voting solution for elections, and Meeting Manager, a live online voting option for meetings and assemblies. To learn more about how coops and credit unions can benefit from online voting technology, check out our previous blog article and visit our website.