Being an election manager at POLYAS is not a usual job says Senior Election Manager Alexander Akbik. It not only about taking care of the customer but also ensuring the precise conduction of the election. Alex told us about his day-to-day business, what he likes most about it and why he is convinced by online voting.
Hi Alex, tell us about a typical day of an election manager at POLYAS!
Usually, there is no typical day at POLYAS, each day has its individual projects. Due to the fact that election managers have two responsibilities at POLYAS, it results in a variety of demands. On the one hand is sales. It includes winning new customers and taking care of them, leading negotiations and considering reservations. The other side is managing elections of the clients we have.
For example we need to integrate the electoral roll into the system, check the system text and of course implement changes when they are needed suddenly. Two thirds of the time are about customer service, a third for conducting the online election and other organizational issues.
What is the most demanding task being an election manager at POLYAS?
We have to know the election better than the customer. The sales team is divided into different segments. For example, I am responsible for universities. In our respective segment, we have to be able to answer 90% of customer questions immediately and know where to find the answer for the remaining 10%. It is most important to know about the legal position and data protection requirements from our customers.
In addition, we have to compare traditional elections with online elections. An example would be how online elections can improve elections in general. Each team member has a different focus. I like to focus on accessibility in online elections. How can the election be accessible for blind people? Can the texts in the election system adjusted to be appropriate for young people? Those are my concerns.
Working independently but at the same time having a great team on your side is the best. One day you work together with the research department, the other day with the marketing team or with other election managers. It is highly demanding to find fast solutions and it carries a lot of responsibility. Moreover, I notice that the tasks vary and there is no monotony in the job.
I once had a client who had lots of questions regarding online voting. The negotiations took several months. In the end, all the questions were answered and I could convince them to vote online. Generally, it is always a challenge if elections have specific demands, which can be changed at short notice. It is very time-consuming.
What is the biggest advantage of online voting?
The efforts for organizing an election are reduced. Creating the election material, coordinating the team, looking for election volunteers – all this is gone. I think, even if you are voting online for the first time, the efforts are less than in a traditional election.
It is equally important to lead the election into the 21st century. By voting online, you can cast your vote from anywhere at any time. There are fewer barriers than holding postal or ballot box voting. And I also think that online voting is the right means to confront the general trend of voter apathy. If you make voting easier, more people would participate. Turnout has been increasing for political elections in the wake of the influx of migrants in Europe, Brexit, the US presidential elections and a series of crucial elections in Europe. Hopefully, online elections can gather more popularity and decrease voter apathy even further.
You would like to read more about the team at POLYAS?
Read our interview with POLYAS software developer Daniel Michels.