Simple steps for a streamlined event
Universities often hold regular elections for various positions, including for student government, university leadership, and faculty councils. Moreover, university groups like alumni associations, governing boards, and student bodies often hold meetings where attendees make decisions through voting.
With all of these decision-making processes, it may seem daunting to implement a new online voting channel. You might be surprised to discover, though, that it is actually quite simple. Planning an event with online voting follows the same process whether you are electing a university president or rector or holding a General Meeting for the board of directors. Furthermore, any adequate online voting system should readily integrate with systems your university already has in place, increasing efficiency.
In general, there are three main components to holding a decision-making process with online voting: the legal requirements, set-up and planning, and running the event. Let’s take a look at what each of these components entails.
Does Your University Allow Online Voting?
Schools and universities often have specific electoral codes with rules for running an election. It’s also possible that electoral codes and statutes differ between groups, such as between a student senate and the governing board.
Prior to organizing your event with online voting, you will need to ensure that the relevant electoral rules accommodate the use of online voting technology. If you do find a requirement that prohibits online voting, it is typically not a problem, you’ll just need to make the necessary amendments to the bylaws.
How Can You Update Your Election By-Laws?
The process for amending the electoral code is typically outlined in the rules themselves. The group interested in utilizing online voting may need to conduct a vote in order to make the necessary amendment, or you may need to petition leadership to make the decision. Regardless, if your university is committed to implementing online voting technology, this should be a simple process.
Set Up & Planning
Creating an Up-to-Date Voter List
In any election, the voter list needs to be accurate in order to ensure that all eligible voters receive the necessary information to vote online. Luckily, universities are often already digitally prepared to run an online election, since students, faculty, staff, and alumni are accustomed to accessing access relevant information and completing certain processes via the university intranet, typically identifying themselves with an email or ID number.
If your event only pertains to a certain university group, it is simply a matter of selecting which individuals are eligible to participate within the intranet. With this integration, eligible voters can log on and access the voting portal through a familiar interface, ensuring maximum usability.
Sending the Voting Credentials
When the list of eligible voters is complete, they will be notified of the online voting process. If necessary, credentials for accessing the online portal will be securely distributed to each voter.
This is typically done by sending voters a unique PIN once they have entered their login information. Each voter then uses their PIN to access the system. Your solution provider should help you through this step, making sure that everything is proceeding correctly.
Generating the Online Ballots or Agenda Items
Before voting begins, you will also need to create the ballots or the meeting agenda. Depending on the event, students, faculty, and staff may be voting on different candidates or questions, so you might have to create multiple ballots for different voter groups. The online voting solution’s streamlined design should ensure that this takes as few steps as possible.
Generating an online ballot or agenda is simply a process of inputting the relevant information, like candidate names, questions, or multiple-choice options. Prior to selecting an online voting solution, you should ensure that the provider offers the capabilities and flexibility for your specific event, including various ballot and question types.
Running the Election
When the voting period is open, voters can log on to the voting portal using their university identification, and/or their previously sent credentials. Voting is as easy as choosing your preferred candidate or option, confirming your choice, and casting your ballot. During an online meeting, you also have the option to open agenda items for voting one at a time, or all at once.
Calculating the Results
After the voting process, each ballot is securely decrypted by the election committee, preserving the voters’ anonymity, and is automatically counted. Results can then be verified by the election organizers and published online with visual graphics.
Verifying the Election
Every step of the voting process can be verified by third-party auditors, if necessary. After casting their ballots, voters will also receive a voting receipt, which they can use to individually verify that their ballot was correctly cast.
An online voting channel should not add increased difficulty or stress to your election or meeting. In fact, it should simplify and streamline nearly every step of the process. The best way to ensure this is by choosing an experienced and committed online voting provider with knowledge of universities’ needs and flexible solutions that cater specifically to you. With the support of a qualified provider, you can be assured that your event will not only be efficient and accessible, but also highly secure and transparent.
To learn more about Scytl’s online voting solutions for universities, take a look at our brochure; to find our more about how universities can benefit from online voting technology, you can read this article.