Increasing Voter Turnout in Scientific Associations

February 15, 2024

Increasing voter turnout in scientific associations is best accomplished through member education and engagement. Helping association members understand the power of their vote and moving elections online also helps increase turnout. 

Scientific association elections are becoming increasingly important at a time when critical thinking is more vital than ever. However, as the world trends towards remote work, in-person interaction is diminishing. To better understand the situation, we must look at ways to reinvigorate voter participation in scientific associations. 

Increasing Engagement Between Election Cycles

In-person events are clearly the best way to get members to interact, but with members across the world, this is rare outside of major annual conventions. Furthermore, association members may belong to many associations, are busy with their research, or simply unaware that in-person events are taking place. 

To combat this, scientific associations need to broaden their member engagement year-round. Online events are now the most convenient, and it’s key to give people reasons to attend. One possibility is hosting debates and lectures by those in the field who have made recent discoveries. For every scientist who agrees, there are sure to be a few who have differing opinions; this difference of opinion is what gets members talking. 

By cultivating dialogue between participants, association members feel more invested in the outcome. Overall, this can create a stronger sense of community and help relationships between scientists to grow organically outside of the association. 

The Power of the Vote

Apathy is usually the biggest obstacle many associations face when trying to increase voter turnout. After all, some scientific and academic association members first join to make their resumes sound more impressive and don’t understand how powerful their position can be.

Scientific research often gets its funding through either corporate research and development or academic grants. To get this funding, scientists need to prove that their research has meaning and the potential to change our understanding of important topics. But, who decides which topics are at the top of the list? Association voting has immense power when it comes to deciding which topics are the most important. 

Members often don’t realize how much power their single vote can wield on a wide variety of issues. For example, the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) only has 40,000 members. Presidential elections have been won by fewer votes. With the power that NSTA wields to change how science is taught across America, member voting is critical. 

The next step in increasing turnout is building trust through transparent scientific association voting

Secure Online Voting

Effective elections are ones in which member participation is the easiest. Because of this, many associations have moved to online voting platforms such as ElectionBuddy. When elections take place online it greatly reduces the geographical and time constraints created by in-person voting. 

Maximizing turnout consists of several steps:

  • Regularly reminding members throughout the year of when votes are taking place
  • Sending out emails and updates regarding candidates up for election and the topics to be voted on
  • Setting aside adequate time for consideration of the issues before the election, including holding debates and discussions in a public forum
  • Scheduling the vote in a convenient manner, such as leaving the polls open for several days
  • Announcing results in a transparent manner so each member can see the exact number of votes

If the above steps are followed, members will feel satisfied that their vote means something. By offering them opportunities to voice their opinions at several points throughout the process, members can feel their voices are heard. If the process is transparent, this increases trust and fosters faith in future elections. 

Fortunately, ElectionBuddy offers a comprehensive online voting platform that makes holding elections easy. We offer all of the above options and more. Our user interface is simple for voters to understand, allowing them to easily navigate information the association has provided about the candidates and issues. 

Finally, our platform offers unmatched security and transparency so all members know the process is free and fair. We also offer the option for independent auditing and verification of results for maximum trust in the elections process. 

Join 11,984+ organizations like yours that use ElectionBuddy to build more easy online elections

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