Murphy’s Law states: “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”

Of course, this is not the most positive way to pass through life, but at least you are always prepared for anything.

Even during an election, many things may not go as planned. In this event there are two options: You can resign to fate and weather what comes, or you can set up an emergency plan in advance.

Should anything go awry, each member of the electoral committee can simply look at the situation and everybody knows what needs to be done. Planning is half the battle. This does not just apply to the election calender or expense planning.

Thought-out election preparation: Having a plan B up your sleeve

You have an association or board election coming up, the candidates are at the starting line, the planning is operating at full steam, the election regulations and bylaws (or association charter) are up to date and the voting process has been hashed out? Then now is the time to prepare an “emergency plan for unforeseeable problems”!

Worst-case scenario: What all can go wrong when organising an election?

Play through the entire election in your mind – ideally with a group, i.e. the electoral committee and board – from the planning, preparation and organisation up to execution and counting. Consider what types of problems can arise at each point.

A few examples:

  • A candidate withdraws.
  • The organiser of the election falls ill.
  • Vote reminders to voters are forgotten.
  • There are misprints or faulty communication.

Feel free to exaggerate here a little. This lightens the mood and helps think of ideas that may otherwise be overlooked.

Take notes and define escape plans

Write down all of the weak points in the organisation process on a piece of paper. Discuss what can be done in the event of one of these occurrences. For each point, write down

  • who the respective contact is,
  • what exactly has to be done
  • and whether this all will have an effect on the rest of the election.

Everybody involved in the electoral management can get involved. It is also good to define contact partners for emergencies in advance. You thus avoid any unnecessary chaos of nobody feeling responsible, and one little error triggering a chain of more issues.

Make the emergency plan accessible to everyone

If anything unexpected happens, you often have to act quickly. It is thus important to make the Plan B accessible to everyone. You can send the emergency plan to everyone in an e-mail, print it out and hang it up on the wall, and make it available online.

Cheat Murphy’s Law, such as during the next association elections. Because a law of nature is generally reliable – and this makes planning the entire election very possible once again.