Monday, September 14, 2015

Using OpaVote for On-Site Elections

A cartoon of a person in a voting booth. Most people use OpaVote for conducting elections over email, but it is actually very easy to use OpaVote to conduct on-site elections where people vote in person at a voting booth or kiosk.  One of our customers did this, and shared the details with us so we are sharing with you in case you find it helpful for running your own on-site election.

Email Voters and Code Voters

As a first step, it is important that you understand the difference between email voters and code voters in OpaVote.

An email voter has an email address associated with it, and when the election starts, OpaVote will send an email with a secret voting link to allow that voter to cast a vote.  The voting link actually has a secret code embedded into it to make sure the voter only votes once.  When the voter clicks on the link, OpaVote knows who the voter is because of the secret code embedded in the link.  After the voter enters his or her vote, OpaVote marks that code as being used so the voter cannot vote again.

A code voter does not have an email address, it is just a secret code and nothing else.  In order to use a code voter, you must assign the code to a voter and send the code to the voter so that the voter can use it.  For example, you could send it to the voter via postal mail or print it out on a piece of paper and give it to the voter.  The voter can then go to the web page for your election, type in his or her code, and then cast a vote.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Just Say No to "None of the Above"

A graphic showing an example ballot line to vote for none of the above.
Some OpaVote users use a "None of the Above" (NOTA) option when voting to fill an office.  Others call this a "Seek Further Candidates" (SFC) option, a "Reopen Nominations" (RON) option, or an "All Candidates Suck" (ACS) option.  The reason for a NOTA/SFC/RON/ACS option (hereinafter "NOTA") is to allow the voters to decide that none of the candidates are worthy of being elected and that the organization is better off leaving the position vacant for the present time.

In my opinion, organizations are better off not using a NOTA option.  I'll explain my reasoning here. But if you insist on using a NOTA option, you need to make sure you do so correctly and I'll also explain how to do that.