Online voting for election of a committee or board of an organisation:
- gives members an increased chance to participate than by voting at an annual general meeting or a postal ballot;
- more cost effective and convenient then a postal ballot for participants and the organisation;
- more accurate and verifiable for audit and scrutineering purposes than a postal ballot;
- raises your organisation’s profile amongst members.
The model rules for incorporated associations in NSW and Victoria provide for online or electronic voting. You will need to check the status in your jurisdiction. An incorporated association in other jurisdictions can still have online or electronic voting if there is an express provision in its constitution.
Many corporations have changed their constitutions to allow for direct voting. Even without a change in the constitution the online voting can operate as a form of proxy. In the case of corporations the identity of the voting member and their exercise of their vote must be able to be verified. Therefore as the law currently stands there is no provision for secret ballots (Corporations Regulations 2001 – Regulation 2G.2.01,) unless there is a specific provision for secret ballots in the company’s constitution.
Verification can be by the member including their email address in the voting form and confirmation of their vote being automatically sent to them on submission of their vote.
The example voting form below is an example of a secret ballot and using the preferential voting system.
How it Works
The system is flexible to work with the requirements of your organisation’s constitution, rules and conventions.
You can run your own voting on your website or we can act as an independent returning officer and run the voting system on our special purpose website. You can include your own branding.
A roll of eligible voters is sent to us. This includes their full name and email address. We should also receive a list positions and the candidates, their election statements if permitted under the rules, and any resolutions being voted upon. Starting and closing dates and times for voting should also be included.
Unless otherwise provided in the rules the position of each candidate on the ballot will be determined randomly using Random.org. “Abstain” should always be on the top. The abstain option is included to assist in reconciling total voters to totals of votes cast.
Candidate statements may also be published on the voting website.
A random voting code / username and password is produced for each voter using Random.org. These are unique for each election.
The returning officer sends each voter an email with a link to the voting website, their unique code and password so voters can login and to access the voting form. Also candidate statements can be included in the email. In the case of secret ballots only the first name is used in the email.
The file which can link the voting codes to voters’ identities is kept offline and only available go the returning officer.
The voter logs into the voting website using the voting code / username and password. They will then be taken automatically to the voting form.
Prior to voting the voter makes a declaration they have not voted before except with the express written authority of the returning officer in which case the first vote is cancelled and disregarded. They also confirm their voting code.
If the voting is not a secret ballot voters will be required to fill in their name and email address.
After a vote is submitted code is checked against the standing list of codes to verify the vote and also to check the voter has not voted before. Votes with codes that do not match the standing list of codes or are duplicates will be marked as informal and disregarded.
Elections with numerous positions and candidates can be broken up so the positions are grouped and votes submitted for each group. This reduces the risk of the voter’s input being lost prior to submitting their vote and having to input the data again.
An example of what you would see on a voting form is set out below.
We can run an online only election for your board or committee on our website and act as returning officer for AUD88.00 including GST.