Saturday, December 2, 2017

OpaVote has the most Secure Elections

For important elections, you need to make sure that your online election provider has high security. With the recent news about the hacking of U.S. politicians and elections, you can't be too paranoid.

We recently decided to do a security review, and we'd like to share our results with you.  In addition, we also did a security review for a few of our competitors.

There are websites that perform automatic checks of other websites to make sure they are using recommended security practices.  Below, we created a table that shows the results from two of these websites for OpaVote and some of our competitors.

In the table below, "A" is the highest score and "F" is the lowest score. Use the links in the table to verify the results yourself.

Test OpaVote Election Runner Election Buddy Simply Voting Elections Online
Security Headers A+ F C F D
Mozilla B+ F D F C

For the Mozilla test, we are working on improving our B+ to an A, but it is a demanding test. Even Gmail gets a "B" for that one.

What is crazy is that Simply Voting and Elections Online are 10 times more expensive than OpaVote, yet have bad security practices.

If you need high security for your election, then OpaVote is clearly your best choice.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Increasing Voter Turnout in your Elections

Getting voters to vote in your online elections can be a daunting task. Here, we'll give you some tips for increasing your turnout.

At a high level, voters will vote if they care about the election and if you make it easy for them to vote. We see a lot of different types of elections at OpaVote, and the elections with the best turnout are high school elections for prom king and queen. It is easy for the students to vote (they know all the candidates), and many students care deeply about the outcome!

Send Reminder Emails

This is the easiest and best thing you can do. OpaVote has a feature to send reminder emails to all voters who have not yet voted, and we allow you to do this every three days. Here is a typical example of how reminders work in practice.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Guest Post: Free Voting Method and Bad Apple Sorts

This is a guest post from Mike Sawyer who runs a blog at Dare to Ask! and who collaborates with Prof. Brian Zurowski of Davidson College.  Mike has some great ideas to promote ranked-choice voting and also how to allow voters to express more information about their preferences.

When Brian Zurowski and I started a project on voting theory, we needed a mission statement to keep us on track and avoid duplicating the good work of so many others.  Our mission statement is:

To familiarize the public with and build trust in Ranked Choice Voting 
thus paving the way to better group decision making at every level.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

STV with Constraints

The single transferable vote (STV) is an amazing voting system because it naturally provides proportional representation. This means that the demographics or interests of the elected candidates will tend to match the demographics or interests of the voters.

Some organizations want to use STV for their online elections, but also want to require that the elected candidates meet a specified requirement. For example, an organization might want to require that half the elected candidates are women and half are men.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Customer Support at OpaVote

I'm using this blog post to expand on how you can get customer support for using OpaVote for online voting and our philosophy of customer support.

Customer support is a tricky thing. Most customers are great and a pleasure to deal with, but then there are those customers... The ones who probably spend their free time writing vitriolic comments on blog posts and news articles.

 First off, we provide top notch support. When you contact us for support, you reach me, an expert in online voting who knows the OpaVote product upside down and backwards. I can understand your question and quickly provide a clear and concise answer.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Elections with a Small Number of Voters

Elections with a small number of voters can be tricky in terms of determining a winner in a reliable way. I experienced this recently in doing a KwikVote (our new website for doing quick polls) to select a restaurant for dinner among a group of 9 friends.

By small number of voters, I mean a small number of voters relative to the number of candidates or options. If you are deciding between two things (e.g., go out to dinner or stay home and cook), then the number of voters doesn't really matter, but if you are selecting a restaurant from 10 possible restaurants, then it is hard to get a good result with only 9 voters.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Implementing Waterfall Elections with OpaVote

Some OpaVote customers want to implement waterfall elections, and in this post, I explain how you can do this with OpaVote. Full disclosure, I just made up the name "waterfall election," but it needed a name and I kinda like it.

In a waterfall election, you are electing multiple positions, say president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The key difference from regular elections is that people can run for more than one position. A person may want to be president, but if he doesn't win that election, then he might want to be vice president.

There are two main types of water fall elections, and I'll explain each below. You can use any of OpaVote's counting methods to do a waterfall election, but it works best when voters can rank all of the candidates, such as ranked-choice voting.