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...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Elections with Sub-Groups of Voters

Some customers have subgroups of voters in their OpaVote online elections. For example, the subgroups could be based on where voters live (e.g., as in the congressional districts shown here) or the grade level of student voters.

For example, consider a high school election that elects a president for the entire school and a representative for each grade (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors). Every student can vote for president but only students of a grade vote their representative. There are thus five groups of voters (the whole school and a group for each of the four grades).

I'll present two options for doing this with OpaVote. The first is easier for the manager and the second is easier for the voters.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Trusting your Election Manager

Illustration via Max Fleishman
Because of the importance of some elections, the thought of running elections online can create apprehension. Often, the concern is hackers who might try to manipulate your election (see our recent post on our election security practices).

In this blog post, however, we are going to focus on the election manager (the person who is running the election on behalf of the organization) and the steps that OpaVote takes to limit the ability of an election manager to manipulate an election.

To some extent, you need to trust your election election manager as we'll describe in greater detail below. If you want to eliminate all possibility of an election manager improperly influencing your election, then you can hire OpaVote to run your election for you.

Updated OpaVote pricing

We've recently revised how we do pricing of elections, and we think it will be a welcome change for you.

Previously, the price of your election depended on how long it lasted. The first week was free, and it would cost $10 for each additional two weeks.

Now, all elections can last for up to 12 weeks (from when you create it) at no additional charge.  The pricing is now based solely on the number of voters and candidates.

If you need your election to last more than 12 weeks, please contact us and we can help make that happen for you.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Weighted Votes with Ranked-Choice Voting

For some online elections, it is desired to use weighted votes. In government elections, the vote of each voter counts the same so that each voter has equal influence. In this situation, you could say that each voter has a weight of one. Voters used to government elections may think that weighting some votes more than others is unfair, but there are elections where it is fair and necessary!

Probably the most common example is condominium homeowner associations or HOAs. For a building with multiple condominium units, the building will often need to make decisions, such as to charge each owner an additional fee to replace the roof. To make these decisions, the HOA will have trustees who are elected by the condo owners to make decisions. The trustees will generally be a subset of the condo owners.

Because the condos in the building have different sizes, each condo owner is assigned a weight corresponding to the size of their condo. For example, the weight of a vote may be the same as the square footage of the condo, and a person with a 2000 sq. ft. condo will have double the voting power of a person with a 1000 sq. ft. condo.