Using Online Voting to Increase Accessibility
Boosting turnout is a top priority for many university election organizers, whether they are planning an election for the Board of Directors, or for university president. Typically, participation is a factor of election accessibility, or how easy and convenient it is for all eligible voters to cast their ballots. By increasing the accessibility of elections, more people are likely to participate.
There are a variety of ways to improve election accessibility, including increasing the amount of time available to vote, adding alternative voting methods (like online voting or vote-by-mail), and ensuring the necessary protocols are in place to accommodate the needs of voters with disabilities. Implementing an online voting solution is one of the most comprehensive ways to boost election accessibility, as it can accomplish all of these objectives, and more.
Find out how the University of Zaragoza increased participation in their university president election by 132%
Voting from Anywhere, at Any Time, on Any Device
An online voting solution can most obviously increase the convenience of the voting process by allowing voters to cast their ballots on their own personal devices, no matter where they are. Board members won’t need to travel long distances to cast their votes at Annual General Meetings, and students can submit their votes on their phones between classes or during a late-night study session in the library.
Since online voting doesn’t require volunteers at voting locations to aid in different election processes, like in the authentication of voter identities, the voting process can also be open 24/7 during election days, increasing the amount of time eligible voters have to cast their ballots and further encouraging participation.
Voting for Younger Generations
University-wide elections are particularly unique in that eligible voters, including students, faculty, and staff, vary widely in age. Generally speaking, younger generations are quite accustomed to completing many daily processes online, like shopping and banking. University students might also be familiar with turning in assignments online and meeting with classmates virtually.
Implementing an online voting solution offers younger voters a voting method that is similar to the other activities they are already completing online. It also presents the university as modern and cutting-edge, characteristics that often attract engagement from such voters.
That said, many studies have also shown that online voting increases participation from older voters, as well, offering a new level of convenience.
Equal Access for All
Lastly, many online voting solutions are designed with accessibility in mind. This means that voters with disabilities can easily access and navigate the online voting platforms with their assistive technology, allowing them to cast their ballot privately and independently, something that is not always possible when voting with paper.
Taking all of these factors into account, its plain to see that an online voting solution can help increase the overall accessibility of the voting process, making it more convenient and streamlined for all eligible voters. This additional convenience often translates to higher participation rates.