Online voting systems are rapidly becoming the innovative strategy of choice when handling elections. While the concept of voting and elections online is novel enough to create confusion and distrust among many, new developments in online network security and reliability promise to change the way we handle elections in the future.
What is an online voting system?
An online voting system is an online platform made by combining the best election practices with software designed to improve efficiency. Online voting systems allow voters to hold fast and secure elections from the comfort of their smart device of choice.
When are online voting systems useful?
Online voting systems are the best voting solution whenever a ballot needs to be cast. Not only is remote online voting very appealing and convenient to voters, but it also helps election officials hold fast and efficient elections while working at a much more relaxed pace.
What’s the purpose of an online voting system?
Online voting systems are digital platforms built to hold fast and secure elections. Modern online voting developments are designed using state-of-the-art technological advancements meant to improve the effectiveness of the voting process, including voter participation rates.
Who uses online voting systems for voting and election results?
Online voting can be extremely practical and easy to implement thanks to the versatility of novel online voting platforms. Option.vote offers election organizers a variety of tools to customize the voting experience for unions, associations, government elections, or even reality TV shows.
While most people are familiar with municipal and national state elections, there are many other instances where voting is necessary. Several organized groups of people use online voting systems to make decisions and organize their administrative affairs.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from feedback provided by boards, shareholders, and employees. By supplying a system where people can vote online, enterprises can have a direct form of communication between shareholders. An online voting software can also be repurposed to provide employees with feedback surveys.
Online voting systems can help build more powerful unions. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has used the help of option.vote’s team of experts and managerial services to run smooth elections, without the need to hire consultants or other representatives.
Partner-based firms, such as accounting and law firms, are comprised of senior members who are responsible for the management and profitability of their partnership. Online voting systems give these partnerships a fast environment to plan their strategies and make decisive business choices.
Schooling and Academia
Educational institutions engage in elections on a regular basis. Voting is widely practiced across colleges, universities, and even in the K-12 school system. Not only are the administrative bodies of student and alumni groups decided via elections, but voting is also how faculty members are chosen.
Churches and other religious congregations are also organizations that require management. The administrative affairs of a church are decided by a council or board that holds elections, and members of a congregation are often invited to partake in choosing those who will represent them. Online voting trials can help churchgoers who can’t be present on election day to have a voice in the organization of their church.
Even if at a smaller scale than other organizations, clubs still need to administer budgets and choose their leadership. Remote online voting allows members of interest-based groups to make decisions without needing to physically meet.
How do you use an online voting system?
An online voting system can be easily implemented by adjusting the software to the current needs of election officials. If any difficulties were to happen during the implementation of online voting, option.vote offers its users full support for the duration of the election process.
Are online voting systems secure?
- The security of an online voting system is reliant on the platform’s infrastructure. An online voting platform that lacks a back end with proper network security measures and data protection solutions is open to manipulation by third parties.
- Data transferred through online voting is of a very sensitive nature. Information from voters can include their full names, addresses, emails, and many other personal details that may be of interest to hackers. Proper encryption and storage solutions are required in order to ensure this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
- The security measures built into option.vote eliminate the risk of fraudulent behavior by implementing member verification solutions that protect the anonymity of all voters. Online elections are held on secure networks and all voter data is encrypted and kept in a high-performance data center to guarantee its safety.
What happens when an online voting process goes wrong?
Faulty elections create a feeling of distrust among the general population. People may lose confidence in the system, the organization they belong to, or in the appointed leadership. Online voting systems must be designed to circumvent potential voter fraud, security breaches, and other such issues.
What technical details should you evaluate when purchasing an online voting system?
Usability and security features
The principal requirements of an online voting platform are safety and reliability. Voter anonymity is incredibly important for the development of fair elections, but registration of every participant is also necessary to eliminate chances of fraud. The best online voting system is designed with both voting features in mind.
An easily auditable platform
The concept of election verifiability is very important for elections to be considered fair by all parties involved. Your online voting system of choice should be able to give you the ability to fully audit the election process. Leading online voting solutions team up with top-tier auditors to ensure their platforms are kept to the best standards of authenticity.
Ease of use
Even if all tools require a learning period from their users before they are properly understood, an online voting platform should be built to make the learning process as intuitive as possible. The ease of use for all participants should be a priority, as it will translate into a better voting experience and increased voter turnout.
Technical support and assistance
One never knows when something can go wrong. Even when all systems are properly set up, human error can lead to voting technologies derailing and stop working as intended. Whenever technical difficulties happen, it is good to know there are people experienced with the software who are ready to provide their full support and expertise.
More often than not, election officials may require particular specifications to be fulfilled by an online voting solution. This may include a user interface design that aligns with the image of an organization or alterations to the way the system works. The complexity of deploying an online voting system is highly dependent on how much customization needs to be performed to the platform.
Data visualization and insights
Data is a very valuable resource in this day and age. With the help of data analysis, we can understand the underlying patterns behind our activities and devise ways to increase their efficiency. Data implementation in online voting can lead to a better understanding of how to improve the efficiency of all processes.
Online voting systems vs. traditional methods of voting
One of the main advantages of online voting over going to the polls is the reduced costs of deploying an online voting approach. A study performed in Estonia, a country that has decided to put itself in the vanguard of voting technology, found that the cost per voter of online voting solutions is the most cost-effective when contrasted alongside other popular voting methods (source).
For a voting method to be cost-effective, it must have a large usage ratio and consume minimal resources. The study found out that early methods of voting, where participants can cast their vote before election day voting has commenced, are the most expensive. This is due to the demand for work from the administration before the elections while being used only by a niche subset of the voting population.
Automatization and Convenience
Online voting has the potential to be the most comfortable solution for all parties involved. For the virtual electorate, voting remotely means that there is no need to commute to a polling station. Remote online voting gives a voice to people who have had trouble voting in the past because of a disability or ailment that prevents them from traveling to the polls.
Election officials do not need to count virtual votes. Just as voters can cast ballots automatically through the internet, online voting systems can show the election results the exact moment voting is over. Furthermore, organizers of an election can also have access to valuable data insights and see a comprehensive analysis of the whole voting process, including the participation rate of voters.
Online voting systems vs. other electronic voting systems
Even though the terms “online elections” and “electronic elections” are interchangeable, the latter can also refer to other non-traditional methods of voting. An instance of alternate electronic voting systems is electronic voting machines (EVMs), such as those produced by Election Systems & Software.
The main difference between online voting and elections held using EVMs is that on election day, a location must be set up for the latter. Physical machines must be moved to and from voting polls and be constantly monitored by staff, while voters must commute to the location of the EVMs. Eligible voters can use an online voting system from the comfort of their homes, using the same tools they use to check their email and social media.
How do you choose the right online voting tool?
Option.vote is the platform of choice for fast and secure online voting. The technological advancements implemented into the option.vote platform guarantee the software can fulfill both the functions of election management companies and automatic voting mechanisms.
A fully customizable front and back end coupled with an automated voting process and security measures at the vanguard of innovation give option.vote the versatility to shine in a myriad of voting environments. Users of option.vote can trust the software to work without the need for consultants or representatives. Our turnkey services take care of every step of the voting process, and our technical support team is ready to provide its services during the full duration of the elections.