In recent months, the POLYAS team has worked intensively on developing a new product—the POLYAS Nomination Platform. Just what the platform can do, what is so special about the nomination tool, and other features that are eagerly awaited are revealed to us in an interview with product owner Elisa Utterodt.
Elisa, tell us briefly what the Nomination Platform is.
Our new Nomination Platform is a module that makes it possible to carry out nomination procedures for digital elections, and greatly reduces costs while doing so.
What makes the POLYAS Nomination Platform so special?
The Nomination Platform fully reproduces the overall nomination procedure, from writing motivational letters, uploading candidate profiles, and digitally collecting supporting signatures. The full scope of this tool brings an enormous relief for election officials.
Who is the Nomination Platform best suited for?
Many of our customers, such as universities, cooperatives, chambers and associations, have long shown great interest in the tool. But the Nomination Platform is also ideally suited for award presentations. The tool really has no limits.
What can you do with the Nomination Platform?
It gives you the option of submitting complete lists of candidates and of nominating yourself, a substitute, or another person. You can upload various files such as candidate profiles, lists with supporting signatures, and consent forms. Nominators can withdraw or create a new nomination at any time during the nomination phase. By exporting the status quo of an ongoing nomination, or of the concluding outcome, election officials can easily draw up an interim balance and evaluate the results of the nomination immediately afterwards.
What is the relationship between the Nomination Platform and online voting?
One practical thing is that the export at the end of the nomination phase can be used immediately for an election in the POLYAS Online Voting Manager. Election officers can, for example, nominate candidates for a committee and seamlessly conduct a committee election online. If you imagine an organization that follows its election regulations and organizes the entire process by hand—from candidate proposals and a range of different ballot papers to the final election results—the effort involved is enormous. Digitalizing this process allows nominators to conduct a nomination and the subsequent voting without any media discontinuity, while election officers benefit from the simple and clear organization of nominations and elections.
What was the biggest challenge in its development?
Our greatest challenge was the limited time frame available to create what had to be an extensively usable Nomination Platform. But we mastered it well, with our developers really putting their back into it. Another challenge was the possibility of list nomination: To do this we had to set up a whole new model, which provides a dynamic table that nominators can organize themselves while nominating.
What is the main advantage of the Nomination Platform?
That the electoral board no longer has to work through countless e-mails and paper documents for a nomination, but can manage all documents online in a concentrated and clearly structured manner. Both the Nomination Platform and the online election can be accessed via the POLYAS Online voting—so everything is in one place.
What are you most looking forward to as you continue to develop the Nomination Platform?
The thing I am looking forward to most is the analysis feature for nominations in the POLYAS Online Voting Manager, and also the fully digital supporting-signatures tool. This records all nominations. Nominators can then log in and unambiguously identify themselves. They can support their candidate by marking a checkbox, and there is no need to upload scanned signatures.
There will soon be the option to conduct the analysis completely digitally, so that the export of the results contains valid nominations only. The Nomination Platform allows election officers to send messages to nominators if a nomination has to be processed again.
Also, the entire voting platform is expandable. In the future, a Live Voting tool will also be integrated that is used for holding digital meetings. And there are many more ideas in the pipeline …
What do you enjoy most as a product owner?
Contributing ideas, creating concepts with the developers, coordinating the process and simply being part of the development—it’s all fun. The variety involved in developing the online voting platform is what makes it so appealing; it constantly allows me to delve into new topics.