Monday, July 1, 2019

Weighted code voters now available

At OpaVote online voting, we already had code voters and weighted voters, but now we have weighted code voters! This feature will be especially useful for HOA and condo elections where a voter's weight corresponds to the size of his or her share of the common condominium expenses.

I'll first review code voters and weighted voters, and I'll then explain how to put the two together.

Code Voters

OpaVote currently has two types of voters: email voters and code voters. For email voters, the election manager uploads a list of email addresses, and OpaVote sends each voter an email with a special voting link to allow that person to vote.

Code voters work differently. The election manager inputs only the number of code voters. OpaVote then provides the election manager with a list of secret voting codes. It is the job of the election manager to distribute the codes to the voters. The code voters then go to the voting page and enter their code so that they can access their ballot.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Elections with a Large Number of Candidates

Some online elections at OpaVote have a very large number of candidates. We'll sometimes see a single contest with hundreds of candidates or many contests where each contest has a large number of candidates.

An OpaVote manager recently asked me the best way to run an election with a large number of candidates. The best answer is don't run an election with a large number of candidates! In some instances, it may be unavoidable, but as an election manager, you should work hard to have a reasonable number of candidates.

In this blog post, we explain (1) why should not have a large number of candidates and (2) if you do, how to improve the process.

Don't Run Elections with a Large Number of Candidates

As an election manager, by asking your voters to vote in an election, you are asking each of your voters to do a favor for you. Your voters are busy people, and they have lots of things going on in their lives. They also get overwhelmed with emails. You are lucky if they open the voting email, never mind clicking a link in the email and then reviewing a list of candidates to cast a vote.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Why I'm against lowering the voting age to less than 18

It is quite rare for me to be against any kind of voting reform. After all, I started OpaVote for the primary purpose of promoting ranked-choice voting. But when it comes to the supposed reform of lowering the voting age from the current standard of age 18 to something lower, I am dead set against it.

Here is my reasoning in a nutshell: I don't see lowering the voting age as having any significant impact in improving voter turnout. To the extent that people or organizations advocate for lowering the voting age, they are distracting us from real reforms that could make a difference.

Voting Reforms that Could Make a Difference

I'll limit myself to voting reforms that are focused on improving voter turnout since that seems to be the objective of advocates of lowering the voting age.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Largest Election Ever with 57,000 Voters

Our largest election ever was completed yesterday with a total of 57,000 voters. Although we've carefully designed our online voting platform to scale to handle elections of any size, we must admit that we do get a little nervous when a customer has an election that goes where no election has gone before!

One amazing aspect of modern cloud computing is the ability to quickly scale the number of servers running your website behind the scenes. For typical daily usage of OpaVote, we have a relatively small number of servers, but when a large election starts, the number of servers will increase quickly to handle the sudden increase in traffic. When the traffic slows down, the number of servers will decrease so that we are not paying for computing power that we don't need.

The graph here shows the change in the number of servers when the election with 57,000 voters started. We are happy to report that the election with 57,000 voters went off flawlessly.