Fraternities and sororities across the country often hold elections to fill key roles (such as fraternity/sorority president, recruitment chairperson, treasurer, house manager, and other organization-specific roles). Running for fraternity president (or sorority president) is a fine way to recreate the democratic process and help build political experience (for both those running for office and the members of the frat voting for their favorite candidates).
However, managing these elections can be challenging at the best of times. Ensuring that every frat or sorority member has a fair chance to vote, keeping the election from busting the sorority/fraternity budget, and keeping people honest are just a few of the challenges that the frat/sorority members managing the election have to face.
Using online tools for sorority and fraternity elections can be a great way to ease the process and ensure every member of your Greek organization gets a fair chance to vote. Before we get into how going online can help fraternity and sorority elections, let’s take a look at the traditional voting process.
The “Traditional” Sorority/Fraternity Election Process for House Officers
While specific Greek organizations (and even individual chapters on certain campuses) might have different voting processes, there are two key components to most elections:
- A Weekend Debate Event. The current leadership arranges a specific day for candidates to make their arguments before the whole of the brotherhood/sisterhood for why they’re the best person for the position. This is typically done on the weekends so the society’s members have the free time to listen to speeches without worrying about having to get up early for class the next day.
- A Written Ballot. After the debates/speeches are over, fraternity/sorority members are handed their ballots and asked to fill them out. In particularly close elections, these ballots may need to be recounted several times for various positions.
The trouble with the process is often the written ballot. While good scheduling and time management can ensure that the debate/speech event doesn’t inconvenience society members (such as by dragging on till 3 am), paper ballots are easily lost, damaged, or miscounted. This is a common problem even with government-run elections!
Going Online with Greek Elections
As an alternative to relying on paper ballots that can be lost or damaged, your Greek organization may want to turn to an online voting option. Going online with Greek elections can help fraternities and sororities by:
- Improving Vote Collection. With paper ballots, it’s all too easy for a vote to get lost. Using an online form ensures that every vote given is captured. Also, using a digital voting tool can help ensure that every voter fills in responses for every position (you can require a response for questions with SurveyLegend!).
- Eliminating Count Errors. One of the problems with traditional paper ballots is that manually counting the votes can lead to inconsistencies. There are numerous cases where ballots being recounted led to controversy (such as the infamous Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election). Electronic votes are easier to collect and count—eliminating errors from manual counting methods.
- Reducing Costs. Printing and distributing dozens (or even hundreds) of ballots takes time and money. Using an online voting form that you can send to every frat/sorority member’s inbox costs virtually nothing and takes a fraction of the time. There are even some free survey tools you can use to deliver ballots electronically.
- Preventing Fraud. Paper ballots can be manipulated all too easily. A lost ballot here or a quick scribble there can invalidate a vote. Electronic voting not only eliminates confusion—it makes sure that each person gets one vote for each position. So, electronic voting can help ensure fairness in Greek elections.
On top of all of these benefits, using electronic voting tools simply makes things easier for your election managers. Instead of having to sit down and manually go through every ballot, they can set up a bar chart view and see who won each position with a clear, easy-to-understand view. This saves hours that can be better-used studying (or celebrating).
Ensuring Security and Privacy (and Honesty)
Some have concerns about the security and privacy of electronic ballots. Many people worry about their votes not being anonymous or private when they use an electronic ballot that was emailed to them—and some even worry about the risk of electronic votes being manipulated.
At SurveyLegend, we work to assuage these concerns by using top-class security in our survey tools. Our surveys are encrypted with TLS v1.2 and meet the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards for data security and privacy. Data transfers within the SurveyLegend site, app, and survey form are all highly encrypted so your data is protected from prying eyes.
We protect your respondent’s data so fraternity and sorority members can rest easy instead of wondering about potential security risks.
Want to learn more about SurveyLegend? Reach out to our team today to get started!