Sunday, December 9, 2018

Easier payments with OpaVote

A few months ago, we stopped PayPal support to make it easier to make payments to OpaVote for your online elections. We are happy to now announce those improvements!

We process our payments using a company called Stripe, which provides amazing services and is one of those unicorn companies that you hear about.

When you provide your credit card number at OpaVote, we never see it. It goes directly from your browser to Stripe, and then Stripe processes it for us. Processing credit card numbers is serious business so we let Stripe handle that for us.

Saving of Credit Card Info

You can now save your credit card info so that you don't need to enter it for each payment. For those of you running many elections, this will save you the trouble of having to repeatedly enter your credit card info.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Customer Spotlight: Impact 100 uses OpaVote to award grants to nonprofits.

In this blog post, we highlight the great work of Impact 100 of Northwest Florida, and describe how they used OpaVote to allow voting at their meeting both on smart phones and using election kiosks.

The mission of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida is to financially support nonprofit organizations in Northwest Florida by empowering women as philanthropists and leaders, by bridging the geographic areas of the region, and by leveraging the talents of women to be a positive force for good in our communities.

IMPACT 100 is an amazing group. The group has 514 women as members and each member contributes $1000 per year. All of the money goes to supporting nonprofits so the group was able to make awards totaling $514,000! IMPACT 100 used OpaVote to select five nonprofits as award winners from nine candidate organizations. The worthy winners this year were Sinfonia (music education for schools), Youth Village (after-school programs for children), One Hopeful Place (homeless shelters), Oasis (AIDS support), and Gulfarium (rehabilitation of rescued sea turtles).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Above the Line (ATL) Voting with OpaVote

Some single transferable vote (STV) elections use what is called above-the-line (ATL) voting or a group voting ticket. ATL voting is most common in Australia where STV elections sometimes have a large number of candidates and voters are required to rank a certain number of candidates in order to cast a valid ballot.

To reduce the burden on voters, the voters have an option to allow their favorite party to choose the rankings for them. This post explains how you can implement an ATL online election with OpaVote.

Above, is an example of a ballot that includes an ATL option. The thick black horizontal line there is the "line" of above the line. A voter can vote above the line (ATL) or below the line (BTL) but not both (I suppose some implementations may allow both but I'll skip that to simplify the discussion).

An ATL vote is to select a party of the four parties competing in the election. If a voter picks a party, then the voter's vote is determined by the party's "ticket". Before the election, each party specifies its ticket, which corresponds to a ranking of the candidates competing in the election. Each party presumably ranks it own candidates the highest and followed by candidates of ideologically similar parties.

A BTL vote allows the voter to rank the candidates any way he or she wants.

Friday, September 28, 2018

No Longer Allowing PayPal Payments

For many years, we've allowed customers to make payments to OpaVote using a credit card via Stripe or via PayPal.  Because PayPal is such a difficult company to work with, we've decided to stop accepting payments via PayPal.  Stripe supports payments in more than 135 countries so this should be a good solution for nearly all OpaVote customers.

I suspect some customers will find it a hardship to no longer be able to make payments via PayPal.  If that is the case for you, please contact us, and let us know what payment options (besides PayPal) are available to you, and we'll do our best to make it work.

Thank you for your understanding!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Non-Anonymous or Recorded Voting Now Available

For most elections, the anonymity of the vote is extremely important, and OpaVote makes sure that no one (not even us!) can figure out how a voter votes. For some elections, however, it is required that the vote not be anonymous or that the votes of voters are recorded so it is known how each voter voted.

Recorded votes are commonly used for elections of elected bodies. For example, for most countries, the votes of elected representatives (e.g., Senators and members of the House of Representatives) are recorded so that the people who voted for them know what they are doing.

Any organization that elects people to represent its members might want to use recorded voting. For example, if you live in a condominium association and elect trustees to represent the condo owners, then you likely want to use recorded voting when the trustees vote on behalf the condo owners (though you would probably use anonymous voting when the condo owners elect the trustees).

Running an election with recorded voting with OpaVote is very simple. There is a new option (only available in expert mode) that allows you to set "Anonymous voting" to "no". When you do this, we record the votes of each voter.

To see the recorded votes after the election is over, download the spreadsheet of all voter statistics from the election console. A new column is added for each contest in the election, and the new columns show the votes for each voter.

The recorded votes only available to the election manager. The manager can, of course, share the voter statistics spreadsheet with others to let them know how the voters voted.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Which elections have the largest turnout?

For an election manager, one of the hardest parts of running an election is getting the voters to actually vote! We have a previous blog post that gives some advice for increasing election turnout, but which elections are the most successful in getting voters to turn out and vote?

Without a doubt, it is high school elections!!! The graph here shows our usage for the last 4 days, and the peak there is a high school election. Many elections have turnout in the 10-25% range, but for high school elections it is usually in the 50-90% range.

Why is that? We posit a couple reasons...