Take a Look Back: a 2017 ElectionBuddy Recap

December 27, 2017

Welcome to our 2017 ElectionBuddy recap! This year has been an extremely productive (and busy!) year for all of us on the team. With the goal of always trying to improve the customer experience in mind, we have made some major changes to ElectionBuddy that we hope have made running your online elections easier. 

Here is a rundown of the three top areas of improvement for ElectionBuddy during the 2017 year.

2017 ElectionBuddy Recap: Three Major Areas of Improvement that We’ve Made

1. The release of ElectionBuddy, V2

If you were an ElectionBuddy customer before March 28th of this year, you probably noticed that ElectionBuddy received a massive overhaul. In fact, we released an entirely new version!

Plurality ballot on ElectionBuddy verson 1
Out with the old…

Larissa, one of our developers, added her impeccable good taste and logic to what was (visually) a somewhat dated system. Because we know that you require a professional-looking ballot, and clean, accurate results, she upgraded these areas substantially. So, now you look like an election pro to your members and your superiors, and you don’t have to do anything extra to get that. That’s just how ElectionBuddy is, right out of the box. 

Plurality ballot on ElectionBuddy version 2
…and in with the new!

But, we did not stop at just visual improvements. The functionality and features of ElectionBuddy have expanded dramatically, and we continue to expand on these improvements constantly. Instead of heading somewhere tropical for Christmas, Larissa will be squirreled up in ElectionBuddy HQ, continuing to work on some highly-requested features. 

(And yes, Larissa had the option of taking a Christmas break! She wants the quiet time to crack down on getting some features out the door. Her commitment is inspiring!)

2. The introduction of our “Verification Code” to pass election certification requirements from the United States Department of Labour

So, we were audited by the Department of Labour as the result of an election challenge initiated by an American-based union. The audit was around our methodology for election security and integrity. 

(For those of you who are not familiar with unions, they have heavy legislative requirements, and they all answer to a governmental department). 

Although being audited is not usually viewed as a good thing, we saw this as an opportunity. If ElectionBuddy meets the DOL’s aggressive requirements, we would have the ultimate in third-party verification of our process. Even if you don’t need the rigorous discipline that the DOL imposes on unions, you still benefit from using an election software that offers it as a standard.

While we passed with flying colors…we wanted to improve our verification process and ensure that voters could more easily verify their own vote independently after the election was complete.  

Introducing: the new verification code. The verification code is a hash that allows the voter to confirm that their ballot is still submitted with the same choices that they originally made, so they know that no one has tampered with their vote. For more information about the verification code, see our help article on it!

Because of our introduction of the verification code, we further exceed the DOL’s election certification requirements around independence and observerability, without having to contact our support team to do so.

3. Tally types have received several major upgrades

Yes, you read that correctly: there were multiple upgrades to our tally types. Because the tally type is so fundamental to an election, it makes the last spot on our 2017 ElectionBuddy recap list. 

First, we’ve created two new tally types in ElectionBuddy — both of which have their own blog post. We’ve always offered plurality- (first past the post), preferential- (ranked), and referendum-type tallies. But, these three are nowhere near sufficient for the broad diversity of elections that are run. So, we’ve added cumulative and STV to the list.

Ballot tally types combined on the same election
Combining tally types on one ballot makes running an election super simple stuff.

The other major upgrade was with regards to the variety of tally types that you could use on a ballot. Previously, your ballot could only comprise of one tally type. So, if you needed to elect board members and pass a bylaw amendment, for example, you needed to run two separate elections. That meant you were able to get less value out of running an ElectionBuddy election. 

But, we recognized that, and redesigned the ballot so that way tally types are independent for each ballot question. We also decided against charging more for the ability to do so — the ability to use multiple tally types on the same ballot is a basic standard for us now. So, that means you can have a simple process (compared to running two elections simultaneously) and save money (because you only have to pay once).

Want to know a little secret? We are developing a new tally type as you read this. Expect it by May 2018!

2017 ElectionBuddy Recap: Other Improvements

We don’t have room in this 2017 ElectionBuddy Recap to review ALL of the improvements that we’ve made. There’s just too many!

So, instead, we’ll review the rest in a quick list. Some other improvements we’ve made include:

  • Better management of your voters’ email bounce-backs so you can better manage your voter turnout.
  • Allowing you to provide paper ballots for your non-technical voters.
  • Instead of making ElectionBuddy create your voters’ credentials, you can create them for your voters yourself.
  • Putting your organization’s logo on your ballot.
  • Giving you the option of using your organization’s name as the “From” name on your email notices, instead of “ElectionBuddy Elections”. 
  • Two entirely new notice types: SMS notices and Postal notices. You reach more of your voters by using a variety of communication methods.
  • Downloadable results, making presenting the results of your election quick and easy.
  • You can make voters’ voting choices visible to yourself and others (i.e. non-anonymous voting).
  • SSL security is standard on all ballots, so you can trust that your election won’t be compromised. 
  • We now offer three levels of election services, meaning you can get the help you need to make your election a success.


Want to know where ElectionBuddy is headed in the new year? Stick with us to find out!

Wishing you all a safe, happy holiday season, from myself and the ElectionBuddy team.

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