Campus elections, executive officers in sororities and fraternities, college and university clubs – there are many opportunities for students to run for office and show their support for democratic governance by voting in those elections.
Too often, however, despite what the processes and guidelines laid out in the organization’s bylaws, these elections can turn into an informal event with lots of discussion about candidates and voting with paper ballots.
Then the global pandemic came along and scattered students across cities, states and countries. That has left many fraternity, sorority and campus organization meetings and elections a mess.
Without in-person campaigning, how can students interested in running for president or chapter historian get support for their nominations? Is there an official way for students and members to vote safely and securely from wherever they’re at instead of being required to vote only in person? Can virtual meetings be as secure and official as in-person meetings?
The good news is, whether you’re on campus and trying to stay safe or studying from afar and want to participate, there are secure, official solutions for nominations, elections and digital meetings.
Campaigning is a lot easier when you can do it in person, right? Fortunately, students running for a position in campus government or as an officer in their sorority or fraternity are getting creative when it comes to making the case for why they should be elected.
Instead, organizations can move their nominations process online, utilizing software like DirectNominations to make the nominations process simple and contact-free.
Interested candidates just fill out the necessary forms online, they can even get started, save their progress and pick up where they left off to complete the nominations forms. Candidates can collect any required signatures online, securely obtaining support for their nominations.
Utilizing such software also makes the nominations process quicker and more convenient for organizations and clubs too. Administrators can see how many nominations have come in, what steps nominees have completed and send an instant email reminder to complete applications. Candidate biographies are consolidated so member voters can easily see who is running and their positions on the issues.
It’s a safe, standardized and impartial way to conduct the nominations process.
Student nominees are campaigning by bringing their messages to websites they have created, on social media, campus- or Greek-specific online groups and even on official candidate videos shared by the organizations they’re hoping to take a leadership role in.
Larger organizations like colleges and universities often provide an online voting option when it comes to campus elections. However, smaller organizations like clubs, fraternities and sororities, frequently feel they don’t have the resources or need for an online voting option.
However, a simple app like myDirectVote provides a highly secure environment to give students the convenient option to vote anywhere on any device, any time during the voting period. It can be customized based on your organization’s unique needs and budget.
Offering members the opportunity to vote in elections online removes many of the hurdles that might prevent them from casting their ballot and can even increase election participation rates. The results are accurate and tabulated quickly.
Nominations and elections typically only take place once per year (or on a schedule laid out in the organization’s bylaws). Official meetings take place much more frequently. And those meetings often require a quorum – a certain number of decision makers be present to officially cast their vote on issues or agenda items.
Too many organizations, particularly smaller organizations such as campus clubs, sororities and fraternities, have been using free polling software as part of their votes during virtual meetings. The only benefit of these systems is that they’re free. But using them can come at a cost:
- Anyone can click a button to vote and votes can be cast multiple times. There is no way to ensure only official voting members are present and doing the voting. There is also no way to make sure one person gets only one vote. At best, one person casting multiple votes is annoying and time consuming. At worst, it casts doubt on the outcome of the vote and creates a mess.
- Free polling apps only allow users to work with pre-set questions that cannot be changed or added to during the meeting itself.
- Want your private meeting to remain private? Using some free polling and meeting software programs creates public meeting links. Anyone with the link can just click and join in (or disrupt) your meeting and its official functions.
Your student organization may have been offering the option of virtual meetings all along or you may have had to pivot to online-only during the pandemic, but one thing is clear: Digital meetings are nearly universally accepted (in many cases preferred) and they’re not going away.
Fraternities, sororities and college and university organizations can make these meetings more secure and official by using a simple software app like DirectVoteLive (DVL). Organizations can utilize any online meeting software then rely on DVL when it comes to making the meeting run as laid out in the bylaws.
Only participants with a personalized login credential link can access the meeting and vote. Meeting hosts can conduct live roll call on the record to assure that only the appropriate members are present and ensure a quorum is reached. Critical and confidential documents can be securely and privately sent to meeting attendees.
DVL is built for real-time, live voting during meetings. This means hosts can add motions ahead of the meeting, but also quickly add new motions if they come up during the meeting. And, since these meetings and the resulting votes are important, your data is TLS encrypted, SOC2 Type 2 compliant and reliably, securely hosted.
The ins and outs of student organizations, sororities, and fraternities are unique, but two things remain the same – official meetings and elections.
Digital meetings for student-led organizations should be run as competently as any nationwide professional association. The nominations process and elections, when run adeptly, can make sure your organization maintains a professional image and can even increase recruitment.
On the backend, when it comes to administering meetings and elections, you can simplify the process while increasing and maintaining accuracy and security.
Have questions about how you can improve virtual meetings and online elections for your fraternity, sorority or college organization? We’re here to help. We’ll even guide you on how to find solutions while sticking to your budget.
Contact SBS today to discover where online nominations, elections and a meeting app specific to member organizations can transform your club, sorority or fraternity.