Take Efficient Voting to the Next Level for Your Association

November 17, 2016
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Some of the national conversation and controversy regarding the 2016 presidential election has centered on the integrity of the voting process. Speculation that voting results can be influenced by hacking has been in the media. And whether high-tech interference with the voting process is a reality or an unfounded fear, it’s still worth considering. So is it a good idea to use technology for board elections at your community? Most likely, issues like hacking aren’t even on a community association manager’s radar, but making the community run better certainly is. So if you want to streamline elections at your community, use online voting for members.

You’ll have to take several factors into account if you choose to implement online voting. Community association websites are ubiquitous and incredibly useful. They’ve paved the way for boards to switch from paper to online balloting, to save money and make the process easier. Although online voting has been around for several years, it hasn’t caught on at all communities—and the demographic of some communities is directly related to its popularity. For example, aging-in-place community members might not be as tech savvy as young families or professionals in condominium buildings in urban areas. Computer availability among members is potentially the most important factor, as they—or in some cases, smartphones that have a data plan—are necessary for online voting. So take a look at the breakdown of community members according to tech savviness and availability of resources to cast online votes.

You’ll need to also revise your bylaws to accommodate online balloting while continuing to offer voting alternatives to members who don’t have online access or are intimidated by the process.

Know that, typically, an association seeking to take its election online will hire a company that specializes in online voting. The online voting company will have its own secure data collection methods, by which votes will be tabulated. An outside vendor allows for voter confidentiality and security in a neutral, third-party environment. This shields the board from possible voter fraud accusations by disgruntled members whose preferred candidates weren’t elected.

If you’re on the fence about using an online voting system and want to find out about the four immediate benefits, see “Make the Transition to Online Voting for Board Elections,” available to subscribers here