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Guest M Williams

electronic voting

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Guest M Williams

My golf association is revising our bylaws and the subject of electronic voting came up.  The discussion centered around utilizing some kind of technology platform designed for this process only in the annual election of officers.  Currently, our nominations committee comes up with a slate (1 candidate per position), then we can take nominations from the floor at our September meeting.  Then we have the election at the October meeting.  We currently allow absentee voting for the election of officers only. 

The idea around electronic voting is that we could announce the slate and take nominations from the floor at the September meeting, and then announce a time window for members to cast electronic ballots from wherever they may be.  Then simply announce the results at the October meeting or even by posting if we choose to do away with the October meeting altogether.

Are there any reasons this would be a good idea? a bad idea?

 

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

Do you elect by a majority? If so, what happens if no one is elected and you need to hold another round of voting?

Voting by members not in attendance at a meeting must be authorized in your bylaws.

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Agreeing with GWCtD, I'd also add that the results really need to be announced at a meeting, and the teller's report included in the minutes.

My other concern is the security of the "technology platform" you're planning on using.  Do you have one in mind?

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Guest M Williams

Thank you both for the replies.

I will respond to GWCtD first:  Yes we elect by a majority.  Currently we allow absentee voting for the election of officers.  In the case of a contested election with more than 2 candidates, our bylaws prescribe preferential voting to rank the choices.  Will that same provision work for electronic voting if the technology supports it?

Gary:  We have not yet selected a technology platform, but I agree that security is of paramount importance.  Can you give me more information on why it would be important to have the election results and teller report delivered at a meeting as opposed to website posting and email?

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On 2/25/2018 at 7:06 AM, Guest M Williams said:

Will that same provision work for electronic voting if the technology supports it?

Yes.

I would note, however, that preferential voting (depending on the specifics) does not necessarily ensure that one candidate will receive a majority, although it certainly greatly increases the chances. Additionally, ties are always possible. So it would be prudent to include provisions to cover those cases.

On 2/25/2018 at 7:06 AM, Guest M Williams said:

Gary:  We have not yet selected a technology platform, but I agree that security is of paramount importance.  Can you give me more information on why it would be important to have the election results and teller report delivered at a meeting as opposed to website posting and email?

The reason it is critical for the tellers’ report to be reported at a meeting is to allow for a Point of Order or a call for a recount. If it is desired to announce the results outside of a meeting, this must be specifically stated in your rules. It should also be understood that this will make raising a Point of Order or making a motion for a recount more difficult. 

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I haven't done much research on electronic voting systems, but I've accidentally run into some that were, for the most part, less than ideal.  Many have trouble with write-in votes and abstentions or partial abstentions, and with establishing a quorum.

A good system will be secure of course, and should be able to handle the less likely outcomes, such as tie votes, and votes where no candidate has a majority.  If you have one vote for several identical positions (e.g., Directors: Vote for three), the system should be able to handle votes for one or two, while still counting that as one ballot cast, and votes for zero of three, which should be handled as an abstention.  It should also handle the case where some but not all positions are filled on the first ballot, as well as where none are filled.  And it should provide for teller's reports for first, second, and subsequent ballots that can be shared with the membership.

I'm probably leaving out some points, but I can't say I've seen one yet that handles everything perfectly.  One lives in hope.

 

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Guest M Williams

We are also trying to simplify how things are administered.  What are your thoughts on Discretionary Proxy?  This would be a whole lot simpler to use, no problems with ties, runoffs, we could do nominations from the floor and election at the same meeting.  Are there any items we would need to consider as things that might "bite" us?

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13 hours ago, Guest M Williams said:

We are also trying to simplify how things are administered.  What are your thoughts on Discretionary Proxy?  This would be a whole lot simpler to use, no problems with ties, runoffs, we could do nominations from the floor and election at the same meeting.  Are there any items we would need to consider as things that might "bite" us?

I would dispute the notion that proxy voting is “a lot simpler to use.” My understanding is that using proxies in a ballot vote involves a lot of complexity, since it is no longer the case that every ballot is worth the same number of votes.

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1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

I would dispute the notion that proxy voting is “a lot simpler to use.” My understanding is that using proxies in a ballot vote involves a lot of complexity, since it is no longer the case that every ballot is worth the same number of votes.

It has been my experience with nonprofit organizations that members holding proxies are usually given a separate ballot for each proxy held, eliminating the problem of different numbers of votes on ballots. 

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