What your members need to know
In previous articles, we have discussed the key steps to planning an event with online voting. However, while these steps are important for election and meeting organizers, they might not be as relevant to your voting members. Preparing your members for an event with online voting is important to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and that everyone is clear about how, when, and where to participate. So, what information should your members know before your event so that they can be ready to vote online?
As with any meeting or election, the first thing your members will need to know is when and where your event takes place. When using online voting, you will need to be explicit about whether your members have the ability to participate from any location, or if their participation is contingent on their physical presence at the event, such as an AGM, for example.
You should also be clear about when voting will occur. During elections, for example, voting can last for multiple days and might begin and end at certain hours. Custom voting times can be easily configured in an online voting system, so your members will need to know when exactly they will be able to log on to the platform and cast their ballots.
Your organization may also be limiting the use of online voting to certain voters or to particular times. For instance, some organizations prefer to use an online voting system only during an early voting period, allowing members who may not be able to attend an event in person to participate. In these cases, it is important for your members to understand how and when different voting methods will be available to them.
How to Vote Online
In addition to the general logistics of your event, your members will also need to know a few things about accessing and using the online voting portal. This includes the link with which to access the platform and the credentials they will use to log on to the portal.
While most online voting providers will be able to create unique and secure credentials for each eligible voter, your organization may wish to use credentials that are already familiar to your members, such as membership ID numbers or the credentials they use to access your organization’s intranet. Make sure your members know how they will log on to the platform so they can be ready with the correct credentials at hand on event day.
Typically, your online voting provider will send instructions to your eligible voters along with the credentials they will use to access the online voting portal well before your event. These instructions should include more specifics about the online voting system, such as which devices and browsers are compatible with it. They should also walk your members through the voting process in a clear and concise manner and provide information about how your voters can ask for support during the voting process.
The final items your members should be aware of are related to what happens after they have cast a ballot. If your online voting solution makes use of voting receipts, then your members should be clear on how to use the receipt to verify that their ballot was cast correctly. This information should be detailed by your online voting provider.
You may also wish to communicate when and where results from your voting process will be available, including whether they will be published online and available through the online voting portal.
With this information, your members should feel confident casting their ballots online in your upcoming meeting or election. As always, your online voting provider should not only be offering you a product, but their experience and expertise as well. They should help you define your event logistics in regard to online voting and provide the necessary resources so that you can effectively communicate the online voting process to your members.