“If I can shop and bank online, why can’t I vote online?” For many Americans, that seems to be a common sentiment. Of course, this is mostly in relation to presidential elections, in which considerations for online voting must be closely scrutinized. For many organizations, however, holding a corporate election online—whether it’s shareholder voting or board of director voting—is the most effective and efficient way to go.
Support for Online Voting Increases
In our recent blog, Online Voting for Elections During the Coronavirus, we discussed how the call for social distancing had put discussions about an online voting system into overdrive. Rather than come together in person to cast a vote and risk spreading COVID-19, many believed free online election voting using an online ballot was the way to go.
Not only would an online voting system help to contain the virus, but it would also eliminate common voter suppression tactics, which the New York Times highlighted as a major problem. “Messing with polling stations is one of the most common voter suppression tactics,” wrote Alex Tapscott, Co-Founder of the Blockchain Research Institute. “Across the country, polling stations have been closed in minority neighborhoods, had their locations changed from election to election, and have been kept understaffed, or inaccessible, or ill-equipped, so that voters must stand in line for hours.”
While these aren’t necessarily corporate voting concerns, an online voting system still offers a wealth of benefits.
Top 12 Benefits of Holding Corporate Elections Online
Here’s a quick look at the many benefits of an online corporate election process.
1. Lowering Costs
Holding postal or ballot box elections can be expensive. There’s the cost of finding an appropriate space to hold the election, informing eligible voters, preparing postal voting forms, and organizing the vote count. With an online voting system, these costs are eliminated.
2. Improving Efficiency
An online voting platform allows organizers to create ballots easily online. It also eliminates the need to configure elections from scratch each time. Organizers can create the ballots just one time, and in subsequent years, copy that election specifying only candidate names and election dates.
3. Reducing Carbon Footprint
Paper-based elections can become a burden on the environment. Online company voting saves paper and reduces CO2 emissions associated with the creation, printing, sending, and returning of election documents.
4. Minimizing Mistakes
By eliminating the need for manual vote counting, organizers can avoid result-distorting mistakes such as loss of voting ballots or a miscount. Automated tallying also make election results available within seconds of the close of the election.
5. Correcting Mistakes
Before submitting their online ballot, voters can be encouraged to go back and make sure they properly filled everything out. If they made an error, they can easily correct it.
6. Improving Voter Turnout
Online voting reduces the barriers of participation (lack of time, inability to get to the voting location, etc) because voters can cast their online ballots from their computer or mobile device at any time within the election period. This is especially important for shareholder voting, as they may be located all over the world. An online voting tool also allows corporate election organizers to send out reminders conveniently via email with a link straight to the online ballot, so voters can’t use the excuse that “they forgot.”
7. Reducing Fraud
Electronic company voting helps eliminate the opportunity for ballot tampering. Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon University, who favors electronic voting, states that “Paper voting records have shown themselves for the past 250 years to be horribly insecure and easy to manipulate.”
8. Ensuring Completion and Accuracy
Online ballot settings can be adjusted so that voters cannot skip questions or select more than one candidate for any position.
9. Improving Fairness
Candidates’ names on each ballot can be shuffled so each gets a fair chance at prime name placement on the ballot.
10. Increasing Anonymity
Casting an unpopular vote, even if it’s the right vote, in a corporate election could cost a person their job, making them hesitate to vote honestly. In-person votes risk “over-the-shoulder” snooping, whereas an online ballot can be cast via a personal computer with the IP address and email address encrypted.
11. Comprehensive Reporting
Organizers can often view voter turnout in real-time with data that goes beyond the question of “who won.”
12. Archiving Election Results
No one wants to maintain physical files these days, but there needs to be a record of any corporate election. With an online voting platform, results can be stored electronically and easily accessed in the future.
Security Challenges with Online Ballot Elections
While there are many benefits to holding online elections for board of directors positions and more, concerns remain regarding security. Today’s technologies are deeply interconnected, and foreign adversaries and others with malicious intent may look for security vulnerabilities to undermine the voting system and even change the results. Thankfully, security is constantly improving, and awareness of the potential for hacking is growing. Improved security measures combined with the knowledge that there are threats make an online voting system more viable.
Tech Crunch, one of the most highly regarded publications in the tech industry, agrees. “While [security] concerns can be valid, they should not outweigh both the necessity and potential benefits of internet-based voting,” they wrote in 2020. “Just as we cannot place blind faith in the infallibility of our technologies, we also cannot fall into a senseless, all-encompassing mistrust that would both disenfranchise millions of voters and shake trust in our elections.”
Holding a Corporate Election Online with SurveyLegend
Considering an online corporate voting system?? Then consider using SurveyLegend. Our online voting platform allows you to easily create surveys, or ballots. Here’s how it works:
- Create a survey/ballot. You can create a multiple-choice survey (or image choice survey) and set it so that only a “Single Selection” can be made. You can also make it so that voters cannot skip over any selection by activating the “Answer is Required” setting.
- Share the survey/ballot. You’ll receive a link that can be shared with anyone via email or social media. Privacy is likely a concern, so you can restrict access with a password to it. Check out our password protection feature at the bottom of this page.
- Collect votes. Our Survey Logics ensures that each voter can only submit their ballot one time, and you can keep track of who has or hasn’t responded even while keeping the voting anonymous.
- Analyze the results. Once you’ve collected votes, you can download the data into an Excel or CSV format, or simply export it directly to Google Drive. You can even share your real-time analytics page, publicly or privately.
SurveyLegend has achieved an Extended Validation Certificate, which can only be obtained after a company has been thoroughly investigated and certified by a valid EV Certificate Issuer, so you can count on us when it comes to corporate election security. All data transfers within our site, app, and surveys go through highly encrypted connections, and we are compliant with the GDPR.
Not convinced about the security of an online ballot? Or are you ready to begin using internet-based voting within your organization but getting pushback? Perhaps, these 12 reasons to conduct company voting online will have you – or the decision-makers you’re appealing – reconsidering! Of course, if you’d like to learn more about SurveyLegend, you can take a tour of our services or contact us today.
Do you have corporate voting concerns we didn’t address? Or can you think of another benefit of an online voting system that we missed? Let us know in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes; organizers can avoid result-distorting mistakes such as loss of voting ballots or a miscount. Automated tallying also makes election results available within seconds of the close of the election.
Yes; online voting reduces the biggest barriers of participation, such as lack of time and the inability to get to the office/voting location.
Security concerns are valid, however Improved security measures combined with the knowledge that there are threats make an online voting system more viable.
You can hold an online corporate election using an online voting platform such as SurveyLegend.