Reducing the impact of your events
We often discuss the benefits of implementing an online voting solution in terms of accessibility, security, and transparency. For instance, using an online voting solution for a decision-making event or election will:
- Ensure eligible members and voters can participate from their own personal devices anywhere in the world, increasing overall engagement
- Protect all ballots cast with secure encryption technology to guarantee the integrity of results and the privacy of voters
- Provide verifiable results so that your events and elections remain trustworthy
Another benefit that also deserves to be highlighted is the lower environmental impact your decision-making events and elections will have with online voting technology in place. Looking toward the future, various organizations now maintain goals to reduce their environmental footprint. While there are many steps that can be taken in working to achieve these goals, modernizing and digitizing your events with online voting might be one of the easiest.
Reduce Resource Use
Likely the most obvious impact elections and decision-making events have on the environment is their heavy reliance on paper resources. In an entirely paper-based event:
- A ballot, which might be multiple pages long, needs to be printed for each eligible voter
- Envelopes need to be procured to both distribute and return any postal or mail-in ballots
- Results might be recorded on paper tabulation sheets
- Depending on your organization’s electoral rules, it might be necessary to print and distribute event and candidate information prior to the event
This means that an organization with just 1,000 members might require thousands of pieces of paper to hold an event or election, and an organization with 10,000 members could feasibly require up to 100,000 pieces of paper.
As a conservative example, let’s assume that when all of the paper needed to hold an election is totaled, from event information to ballots and envelopes, a given organization requires three pieces of paper per member. Considering that the carbon footprint of single sheet of A4 office paper is equivalent to at least 4.29g of carbon dioxide emissions, an organization of 1,000 members would produce 12,870 grams of CO2. Meanwhile, an organization with 10,000 members would produce a minimum of 128,700 grams of CO2, the same as driving a car 318 miles.
Implementing on online voting system can immediately eliminate this environmental impact from your organization’s footprint. Not only does the act of voting online remove the need for paper ballots and envelopes for remote voting, but most online voting systems come with the capabilities to share important event and candidate information online, and results are typically calculated automatically and displayed digitally.
Minimize Travel-Related Emissions
A less obvious environmental impact of paper-based and in-person elections is the emission of greenhouse gases as a result of travel.
If your organization is holding an in-person event, then your members will need to find a way to get there. Most often, this means driving a car. Even if the event is just a few miles away, and even if some members choose to carpool or opt for alternative modes of transportation, an organization's members can produce hundreds or thousands of kilograms of CO2 in traveling to and from an event. The environmental impact of course becomes much higher if any event requires members to travel greater distances or by plane.
It might seem that holding an event in which members who are not close by can participate remotely via postal or mail-in ballots is a solution to this issue. However, there are still emissions produced in distributing voting materials to these remote voters, and in returning them back to the organization.
All in all, the best answer to reducing these emissions is an online voting solution that allows your members to participate in your event from anywhere and without needing to be sent a paper ballot.
Even if you wish to hold your event in a hybrid manner, with some voters participating in person and others virtually, or if you would still like to offer a paper ballot to members who opt in, implementing an online voting platform can help off-set some of the environmental impact of your event. Whether your organization is looking to be a little greener in the future or you hold environmental protection as a guiding value, online voting solutions can help you achieve these goals by reducing your resource use and minimizing overall event-related emissions.