Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Year in Review

OpaVote in May 2016
It has been another great year at OpaVote, and we have been working hard to continue to make it work better for you and to introduce new features.

We hired a web designer to completely redesign the home page.  We love the new design and think it is much better than the old design that you can see here.

Below are list some of the more significant improvements that we introduced over the past year.  Please let us know what you would like to see in 2017!

New Features in 2016

In 2016 we had more than 250 code checkins and 14 blog posts.  Here is a summary of the highlights of our improvements to OpaVote over the last year:
  1. Tracking of voter activity in your election.  OpaVote shows you a graph with the number of email opens, the number of voting page visits, and the number of votes cast on an hourly basis.
  2. Detailed reporting of email delivery.  OpaVote tells you when emails have been delivered to individual voters.  If emails bounce, OpaVote tells you why so you can try to fix it!

Why Switch to Online Voting?

As people become increasingly less willing to go somewhere to vote, companies and organizations are looking for the right online voting tool to increase voter turnout. From cost to convenience, there are a number of reasons to switch to online voting.


If you think that an online voting tool is cost prohibitive, then you will probably be surprised that it is not only less costly both for the tool and for your staff’s time. OpaVote gives you a relatively inexpensive but secure way of getting more people to participate in the voting process.


One of the major benefits of online voting is that you can ensure that the right people receive their ballots. They receive an email with a link that provides the necessary information. Security is not a concern as voting pages are encrypted. The encryption helps to make people feel that their vote is safe from tampering.

Easy User Interface

With a user interface that is easier to use than the traditional lever, you don’t have to worry that a person will cast their ballot other than how they intended.  The system displays their choices as a confirmation before their ballot is recorded - if there's a correction needed, the voter can simply go back!


If you need to increase voter turnout, there is no better way than OpaVote as your online voting tool. Your voters will have a way to vote from anywhere, at any time!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ensuring Election Integrity

At OpaVote, we want both election managers and voters to have confidence in the integrity of the election outcome.  There are two main ways that election integrity could be compromised:

  • The election manager could manipulate the election.
  • Hackers could manipulate the election.
We'll address both of these in this blog post.

Election Manager

An election manger at OpaVote is responsible for all aspects of running the election.  The manger needs to provide the information about the election, candidates, voter lists, etc.  Although you hopefully trust your election manager, we do a few things at OpaVote to limit what a corrupt election manager could do.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Plain English Explanation of Scottish STV

Scottish STV is a great method to use for electing a group of people. To help you and your voters understand how it works, we give a "plain English" explanation of how votes are counted with Scottish STV.

If you'd like to see additional details, you are welcome to review the statute passed by Scotland.

At a high level, the vote count takes place in rounds.  For the first round, you count the first place votes.  For subsequent rounds, you will either (1) transfer surplus votes from a candidate or (2) eliminate a candidate.  We'll assume that you've read our STV overview and understand what surplus votes are.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ranked-Choice Voting Results in San Francisco

San Francisco is in the process of counting the ranked-choice voting ballots for its city elections.  To make it easier to visualize the results, we have also processed the ballots with OpaVote and are sharing our results.  You can see an example bar chart here, and click the links below for full results.

San Francisco is amazing in that they publish all of the ballot data.  You can download it yourself here.  We downloaded the ballot data, converted it into the BLT format used by OpaVote, counted the ballots, and you can see our results here:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Increase Voter Turnout With Online Elections

Whether it's a national election or one for student body president, improving voter turnout is a central concern. High voter participation makes for better representation and greater civic engagement. Establishing more voting locations is a traditional method of making voting easier, but what if you could put a ballot box in every voter's pocket?

OpaVote's online voting tool makes that possible. Online voting means no printing (and possibly misprinting) paper ballots. It means voter choices are clear, with no attempts to read half-erased selections. Online ballots are secure and private, and OpaVote offers multiple voting formats that allow voters to rank options, select single or multiple options, and you can add links to the ballot, a crucial detail in elections with ballot questions.

OpaVote offers the online voting tool of the future with prices for the present. OpaVote offers the same security and flexibility as its competitors at a fraction of the cost. You can quickly poll a committee for free, or have as many as 10,000 voters for an election cycle lasting more than a year for less than it costs to print and send paper ballots. You can do more than boost voter turnout with OpaVote. You can give your organization the tools it needs to connect with the people you value the most.

For more information, visit!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Election Transparency and Free Recounts for Voters

At OpaVote, we want voters to have confidence in the outcome of the election. Especially for hotly contested elections, there may be allegations of fraud or other bad acts to improperly influence the election.

The ability of voters to verify that the election was conducted properly can be referred to as election transparency.  The two main questions in election transparency are:
  1. Were the ballots collected correctly (e.g., were ballots modified or discarded)?
  2. Were the ballot counted correctly?