Paper, online or hybrid voting – which is best for your next election?

Member organizations have unique needs when it comes to members and elections. This means, there can be a lot to consider when choosing voting methods.

Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) has been a trusted partner through hundreds of elections for more than 25 years and we’ve used our knowledge to put together a quiz to help you decide which voting method is the best fit for your member organization.


  1. Is the majority of your membership base age 60 or older?
  2. Do your organization’s bylaws specify or require a particular voting method?
  3. Have you had an issue with ballot security in the past?
  4. Have you found it difficult to keep track of ballot chain of custody in past elections?
  5. Does your organization have adequate staffing levels to handle a busy election?
  6. Is the majority of your membership base between ages 20-50?
  7. Has your organization had trouble getting members to vote in past elections?
  8. Does your organization have a stated focus on being environmentally-friendly?
  9. Has your organization gone over budget for past election expenses?
  10. Is your membership base a mix of ages and generations?
  11. Does your website receive a lot of member traffic and/or do your social media channels stay consistently busy?
  12. Do your members request the majority of their communications via email?


If you answered mostly YES to questions 1 through 5, paper ballots may be a voting method to consider keeping.

If you answered mostly NO to questions 1 through 5 and YES to questions 6 through 12, it could be time to consider adding some online voting options if you haven’t already.

Paper ballots are secure and ensure a chain of custody resulting in an auditable process with guaranteed, certified results. Many organizations’ bylaws specifically state paper ballots must be used during elections. Additionally, paper ballots tend to be preferred by older members who don’t trust technology.

On the other hand, if online ballot systems are SOC II compliant, the data is protected to a high level of online security. It’s convenient for members to be able to vote anywhere, any time. Younger members tend to prefer the ease of voting which can lead to a higher response rate. With reduced paper and postage, your organization saves money and your elections are easier on the environment.

Hybrid voting provides the best of both worlds – your organization can reach older members with a traditional paper ballot while still engaging younger members with an online option, maximizing participation opportunities. Working with an experienced third-party elections partner means strict security protocols for both methods will be followed.

Still have questions about your organization’s current voting method(s) and if they’re the best fit for you? Contact the election experts at SBS, we’re here to help!