Congressional Country Club, founded in 1921, is nearing 100 years of serving its members in the Washington, DC area. This privately-owned club has hosted PGA Tour events like the PGA National Championship and the U.S. Open, and consists of around 3500 members, over 2300 of which are eligible to vote in membership matters.
Prior to working with Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS), Congressional Country Club ran their balloting with internal resources. This meant the staff handled the organization of ballots. Once ballots were returned, an internal audit committee was responsible for tabulating the final results, which could then be announced to the membership.
This process added hours and even days of work to the club staff. It also meant the members had to manually fill out paper ballots and return them by mail to the club.
A key driver of moving to an online voting system like SBS’ myDirectVote was the desire to bring the impartiality of a third-party provider to the election process. As a way to feel fully confident in their choice in election provider, Congressional took advantage of the option to run a test election through myDirectVote. This allowed them to see the platform in action and get comfortable with how everything works. It also enabled them to see SBS’ team in action, and according to Liz Fuentes, Executive Admin at Congressional Country Club, testing and response time from SBS were outstanding, “the project team answered any and every question promptly.”
An initial concern of the change in voting methods was whether their older members would embrace utilizing the internet to cast ballots. To alleviate this, Congressional gave every member the ability to opt-in to receive their ballot online with those who did not opt-in receiving a printed ballot in the mail.
The members took to online voting quickly – participation rates increased by 36% the first year and continued to rise in each successive voting initiative since moving to myDirectVote. Of the over 2300 voting members, two-thirds opted into electronic voting – therefore eliminating the expense of mailing many paper ballots and accompanying information.
With the new voting method came a great deal of helpful information – 84% of all electronic voters provided feedback on the election process, which has been overwhelmingly positive. According to Liz Fuentes, members of all ages appreciated that it was “much easier to simply click and vote” with the comfort of knowing the election was in expert, unbiased hands. Meanwhile, the staff appreciated the amount of time saved – between club staff and the audit committee, it’s estimated they now save over 80 hours per year on voting management.
After seeing consistent election success, Congressional Country Club can see a path toward even more election efficiency, with the goal to eventually bring 100% of votes online. With SBS, they know they have a partner with the experience and expertise to continue bringing their election to new heights.