Election management can be a demanding task. It is both important and time-consuming to organize a board of directors and/or a delegate election. It possible that mistakes happen which diminish confidence in your systems, damaging your reputation as well as future turnout. We have some helpful tips to support the management of your election.
1. Review the legal framework
When starting to organize your next election, you need to review your legal basics. Specific deadlines should be clearly stated in your bylaws or election rules. Candidates should, for example, have collected their signatures for their application to candidacy a number of months or weeks before the election is due to begin. Deadlines that are stated in your election rules are there to help you plan and to keep your election on track. Additionally, be aware of newly added legislation concerning associations in your country. Read carefully through all of your legal documents find out exactly what your organization needs for a legally valid election.
2. Check the electoral roll
After reviewing your legal framework, update your electoral roll. Members can have different voting rights so you need to check each voter. This is most likely to be due to different districts, where voters within a certain area can vote on local issues. Regardless of voter segmentation, be sure that you are aware of them and have planned them into your election.
Keeping an up-to-date electoral roll should be a regular task for your association. The electoral roll should contain current contact details, member status, and voting rights. Members who lose their voting rights (moving districts, or unpaid membership fees etc.) should be immediately updated. Contact details should similarly be kept current. For online elections, an Email address is often sufficient or a Securelink to your members’ platform. However, if conducting offline or combined elections, a physical address is needed.
3. Decide on your voting procedure(s)
Two types of voting procedures are especially popular with associations: live voting at an AGM and postal voting. It is recommended to re-calculate the costs and time for traditional voting procedures, as sending election documents via mail has become more expensive. We also recommend that you ask yourself, how you can optimize your election management.
Numbers of associations already take advantage of online voting because it lowers their costs and saves time in their election management. Online voting can easily be combined with live voting at an AGM or postal voting. Thereby, simplifying election management and increasing voter turnout.
4. Create a schedule for efficient election management
Depending on your voting procedures, you can create a schedule for your election with every essential step in the election planned out. Note each task, what it entails and what the deadline is. Assign it to yourself or another election organizer. Here are some tasks that you must not forget:
- Appoint/elect an election committee or officer
- Send out election information and invitations
- Mail election documents
- Decide on election period
- Count votes and announce election results
- Determine the deadline for contesting the election result
5. Have a Plan B ready
No matter how well prepared you are, something always has the potential to go wrong. A forgotten member, an old electoral roll or a misspelled candidate. You have to be able to react fast to save the situation and amend any mistakes. Think carefully where the weak spots in your elections could be. Play through possible scenarios with your election officers to work out possible solutions. Afterwards, create a list with all of the contact details of those involved with the election management. It is prudent to inform all of your employees about any possible weaknesses in your election planning so that they know what to do, or at least who to contact.
If conducting an online election, run a test election to preview what your voters will see.
Make use of our practical tips about your election administration. More information and helpful election material here. We wish you best of luck in your election planning!