Protecting your election from challenged results

Few events are as catastrophic for a member organization than an election with challenged results. Members feel their trust has been violated, and the organization has been less than forthcoming and not transparent. They may even feel their place in the organization is threatened, regardless of the circumstances.

From “simple” issues such as misspelled names on ballots to potentially more significant problems like voter database issues – challenged election results are a disaster. So, how do you prevent your member organization from dealing with such a debacle?

Update and follow bylaws

An important governance principle is having organized and transparent documentation of standards and policies, including the bylaws. Member organizations are constantly evolving, so if the bylaws haven’t been discussed, updated or amended since the founding date, there’s a potential problem.

The bylaws are what direct the board in their decision making. If they’re outdated, they could be silly, at best and at worst, be running afoul of the law and inviting lawsuits. Reviewing the bylaws ensures compliance with the law and that they accurately reflect the organization in its current form.

The same goes for lack of understanding or abuse of fiduciary duties as a board member. If an elected official is acting in their own best interest instead of putting the organization first, it could be considered a serious breach of fiduciary duty. Not only does this violate member and public trust in the organization, but it is also a legal liability.

Trust in the organization is built and maintained on the transparency of governance. Transparency, accountability, and lack of corruption are all the basis of good governance. As the sayings go: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and “Democracy dies in darkness.” Every governing entity of every organization should strive for transparency and integrity.

Work with a third-party partner

Trust the experts. When you have a dependable election partner, you’ll reap the rewards of not only another set of eyes to proofread materials but also a tested, reliable, and secure process. Ensuring voters there is no bias or unfairness.

Reputable companies have processes to ensure ballot access and election transparency, plans for preservation, secrecy, tabulation, and reporting.  Most importantly, they have encountered just about every possible election scenario, so they know how to handle any issues properly.


Don’t simply assume that your members know your elections process. Use every possible opportunity to communicate with them about the nominations, ballot and elections procedures as well as the steps your organization takes to ensure security, reliability and trustworthiness of the voting and tabulation process.

Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) has administered thousands of elections for hundreds of member organizations. For decades, we have been a trusted third-party elections partner with tested and sound database management practices, effective marketing and communications plans, and a highly secure process for preventing election fraud, mistakes, and mismanagement.

SBS has it covered from planning to implementation to post-election analysis from onsite voting with paper ballots to mobile or online voting and everything in between. With an emphasis on engagement, security, and transparency.

Maintain a current and accurate member database

Ballots sent to wrong addresses, members never receiving information about an upcoming election, non-members receiving ballots meant for someone else … keeping your member database up-to-date can be time-consuming and an administrative chore, but when inaccurate information leads to election issues, it will be much worse.

Don’t let your organization’s election fall victim to challenged results – for any reason. Talk with an election expert today, we’re here to help with everything from database accuracy to physical ballot security plans.