One of the greatest features of member organizations is that they often represent many people across generations. From new members in their early 20s to established members in their golden years – it’s a unique feat to welcome and engage one and all.
It is vital that all demographics have equal access to your election. There are, however, challenges that come with serving members of all ages. Those challenges are often most visible when it comes to getting members to vote in your organization’s election.
How can you get members from different generations to vote?
Long-time members of an organization may be used to more traditional voting methods like paper ballots. While it can be tempting for an organization to change to an electronic-only voting option to save money, it’s not always the best way to increase voter response rates. If your organization currently uses paper ballots and achieves a good response, you run the risk of disenfranchising some voters by removing the option of paper ballots entirely.
A whopping 84 percent of American adults use the Internet, which includes 58 percent of people age 65 and over (Pew Research Center). While these percentages may not seem overwhelmingly high, they have been growing rapidly in just the last 15 years. The percentage of seniors over the age of 65 that are online has quadrupled in that span!
When organizations offer online voting options, members of all ages are more likely to engage simply because voting is more convenient for them. It is also a very cost-effective way to reach your membership to vote.
At least 64 percent of Americans uses a smartphone to access the Internet and 10 percent of people use a mobile device exclusively to go online. Simply optimizing your online voting website so it works properly on mobile devices allows your members so many more opportunities to vote easily.
When you ensure your members can be connected and vote anywhere, any time it’s easiest for them, you’ll see increased election participation, especially among your tech-savvy members that are seeking increased convenience.
The saying, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time,” may not quite be true. A hybrid election uses two or more methods to accept ballots from your voters. Your organization can mix and match from the participation methods that best fit your members’ needs.
Hybrid elections allow long-established members who may be most comfortable with a paper ballot to cast their vote that way. And a hybrid election also allows (often younger) members the convenience of voting online or on-the-go.
For 26 years, Survey and Ballot Systems has set the standard for innovative election technologies for member organizations. We understand and advocate evolving with the technology and we work with each organization to find the voting methods that best fit the unique needs of members.
Curious about the type(s) of voting methods that will get your members to cast their ballots – whether they’re the Greatest Generation or Millennials? Contact us now, we’re here to help!
Source: Pew Research Center, http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/06/26/americans-internet-access-2000-2015/