What Should Your 2020 Election Look Like?

We all make New Year’s resolutions. Some are easy to stick to using a little willpower, some fall by the wayside quickly. But when it comes to turning over a new leaf for your organization’s elections in 2020, here’s what it should look like (it’s pretty easy to get there too).


Do your ballots consistently feature only one candidate? 2020 is the year to put a stop to that motivation-busting practice.

When your members see only one name on the ballot, they often won’t bother to vote because the winner appears pre-determined. However, voter turnout is almost 40% higher when there are multiple candidates on the ballot.

No one really wants just one candidate on the ballot, the issue for most organizations is the challenge of finding new candidates.

  • Identify several members who are stand-out champions of the organization.
  • Ask these members if they’d be interested in seeking the open position and serving if they win.
  • Promote your open nominations period on your website, in your newsletter, in emails, through social media, etc.
  • Be specific about the skills and expertise you’re seeking in candidates.
Follow a communications timeline

Too many organizations are hit-or-miss about their election communications approach – whether it sneaks up on you and you’re putting together communications at the last minute or you’ve simply been mailing the same postcard for many years.

Your goal is to reach as many members as possible to increase awareness of and participation in your upcoming election.

  • 8 weeks before voting opens, announce the election and as many details as possible in your newsletter (print and/or e-news).
  • 7 weeks before voting opens, announce the election prominently on your organization’s website.
  • 6 weeks before voting opens, make an election announcement via your organization’s social media channels and solicit feedback or further information through the post to increase member engagement and recall of the upcoming election.
  • 5 weeks before voting opens, send a mailing to members.
  • 4 weeks before voting opens, send an email to members.
  • 3 weeks before voting opens, post to your blog and/or website as a reminder and with any updated information.
  • 2 weeks before voting opens, do another social media announcement and include instructions for how to vote (especially if you have an online voting option).
  • 1 week before voting opens, send an email reminder.
Online voting

If your organization does not yet offer online voting, it’s time to make the switch. It is now 2020 and any organization not offering an online voting option is already behind and risks sinking even further.

Offering an online voting option increases voter participation by giving members convenient options to cast their ballots. Even if your organization’s bylaws don’t allow for full online elections, hybrid voting – offering traditional paper AND online ballots – is an ideal solution.

Online voting cuts down on election expenses and staff time, while producing accurate, trustworthy results quickly.


Contact SBS today to learn more about how online voting can benefit your member elections. We’re also happy to share more information on effective communications timelines and making your nominations process a success. We’re here to help!