12 Days of Election Planning

5 minutes to read

It’s that time of year again when the sleigh bells are ringing, snow is falling and the holidays are on everyone’s mind. But don’t let the fun times and holiday cheer distract you from your organization’s election.

In the spirit of the holidays we’ve put together a list, and checked it twice, because we’re giving you an early present that highlights the twelve most important days before your election!

Day 1: Election Goals

The first step in creating a successful election is to clearly define your goals. Take a look at your current election process and identify what needs improvement. These should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (read more here).

Day 2: Election Budget

It’s important to understand and define your election budget. Your available funding will determine the degree to which you can realistically enhance your election process. Defining the cost will also aid in future budget planning when it comes time to pay for materials and services.

Day 3: Participation Methods That Fit Your Organization

Consider the best way to reach your members and build your election strategy and participation methods around their requirements and tendencies. The four most popular participation methods we see with member organizations are; online voting, mail-in paper ballots, on-site elections and hybrid voting.

Day 4: Election Timeline

Proper timing is critical to the success of your election. A plan should be made well in advance to set the opening and closing dates of the election, project milestones and the date that results will be announced.

A good approach is to break the project into four phases: (1) Initial planning and nominations, (2) announcements, (3) voting window and (4) results.

Day 5: Accurate Voter Database

Verify that each eligible voter is present and listed only once in the database. Be sure to update all member contact information and collect any missing member data so that the information in the voter database is accurate and useful for the election.

Day 6: Well-Designed Ballot

When creating the slate for your election, consider all the offices, bylaws, and amendments that will be voted on, the order in which they appear and instructions for submitting an acceptable ballot. Voting instructions should inform members about how to vote, the dates the election is open, return/submission instructions, login information and how to obtain assistance.

Day 7: Election Communication & Promotion

All members should be aware of the upcoming election and understand how to participate. Making this happen requires a comprehensive communication and promotion strategy.

Day 8: Sample Promotional Plan

To illustrate what an integrated election promotion plan might look like, this 8-week promotional plan shows a sample promotion timeline for an organization election.

Day 9: Voter Support

Support is vital for a successful election and begins by prominently displaying clear voting instructions and providing contact information for further assistance. Organizations can offer help via phone, email, web chat, instruction documents or a combination of these methods.

Day 10: Accuracy & Security

You’ll need to take steps to ensure that each member’s voting experience and personal data are protected. If something goes wrong, your members may lose trust in the entire election process.

Day 11: Preparing Staff Members

Choose reliable staff members to take charge of each of the following tasks:

  • Managing the voter database
  • Coordinating voting materials
  • Ballot delivery
  • Registration & credentials
  • Analyzing results
Day 12: Strategy for Releasing Results

Take extra time to vigilantly judge, review, process, and tabulate your election data.

A well-prepared seated candidate report is an excellent way to release and publish the final election tallies to the public. This report should be in executive summary format, sharing the highlights and a synopsis of member voting.

Spend your holidays singing Christmas carols, wrapping/unwrapping presents and ringing in the New Year with friends and family, and remember with SBS there’s no need to stress out about planning your 2019 election. Contact us today to learn how we can help you plan out your 12 days leading up to your election, we’re here to help!