Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen recently invested in an online voting technology company. Allen is not generally known for making high risk (or failed) investments, so his stake in building and growing online voting technology is a big vote of confidence.
While the United States may have a way to go before we see online voting opportunities for civilians in federal, state and local elections, that time has already arrived for member organizations like associations, cooperatives, credit unions and more.
So, why should your organization invest in online voting and prepare for modern participation methods?
The future is now
Thousands of organizations are already safely and successfully utilizing online voting. And interest in online voting technology (as evidenced by Allen’s investment) is growing rapidly. Incorporating online voting into your elections is no longer cutting edge, it’s becoming the norm. And if you’re not preparing for it, you’re already behind the curve.
Your organization wants and needs to increase voter engagement and participation. When members can securely log on from their computer or mobile device and vote in two minutes or less, your voting process is more effective. And members appreciate the convenient option.
Safe and secure
Organizations are, understandably, apprehensive about the safety and security of online voting. We can only speak to our own technology, so here’s how we protect the online elections we manage:
- Voting websites hosted in a secure server environment
- Websites only accessible to authorized members through unique voter logins and passwords
- Online ballots transmitted using SSL (aka “bank-level”) encryption technology
- Passive and active network and security monitoring services to prevent unauthorized access
- The use of an enterprise-level data center.
High-tech fraud prevention
Voter fraud is a frequently used buzzword, but online voting prevents duplicate ballots by immediately disabling unique login information after a ballot is submitted. Members receive an email message confirming their ballot has been received. The IP addresses of voters are also tracked to ensure all votes are legitimate.
If your organization is not yet ready to implement online voting, the time to prepare for that change is now. Update your policies and bylaws on voting participation methods so you’re ready when the time is right.
Has your organization incorporated online voting? In the comments below, let us know how it has benefited your organization and what your members think.