In this digital era, organizations are finding it more convenient and cost-effective to conduct important meetings virtually. Member organizations are also conducting elections online to save both time and money rather than using only a physical ballot marking system. But even with the advancing technology, some member organizations are still accepting in-person voting as a way of ensuring that all members get to participate in their elections.
So, most organizations want to know if it’s possible to experience both worlds at the same time for maximum results - that is having in-person and online voting happening for the same elections; and the answer is yes. It’s possible for your organization to have both virtual and in-person voting simultaneously, thanks to hybrid voting systems.
So, if you have been tasked with managing elections in your member organization and you don’t want to force every member to vote virtually, you can take the hybrid route.
Hybrid voting is a voting method that allows you to combine in-person voting with electronic voting. This voting system offers you a foolproof way of conducting important elections without preventing members from exercising their right to participate in the decision-making process, be it due to distance from the voting location, or unfamiliarity with digital technology.
Apart from allowing every member of your organization to participate in the election, this type of voting offers many other benefits. So, if you are planning to incorporate a hybrid voting system into your elections, here are the main benefits you’ll enjoy:
This voting system has brought rapid changes in the way member organizations bring together their stakeholders to make critical decisions. Although in-person meetings, elections, and paper ballots haven’t gone away completely, they can’t continue to be the only way to make important decisions. That’s why electronic voting machines and digital voting software have become common in member organizations.
As this voting method continues to appeal to more organizations, additional voting tools and software that support hybrid polling continue to emerge. Fortunately, most of these tools have proved to be quite effective in facilitating elections. This voting method also involves a few simple steps that even the least tech-savvy members can follow comfortably.
When you are conducting a hybrid election, you should start by setting up your voting parameters. These parameters include inserting your candidates or poll issues into the polling system, choosing your security levels, choosing the polling opening and closing periods, and uploading the email addresses of voters. Then, prepare paper ballots and email them to the voters who wish to do mail-in voting. If you are sending the ballots through the mail, make sure they have SASE to enable the members to send them back to you once they’ve voted.
Once you receive the signed ballots from the voters, open them personally or appoint a proxy manager to open them for you. If you have an appointed proxy manager, ask them to key in the votes from the ballots into the website and combine them with the online votes. Digital voting systems will automatically count the votes, making this process faster and easier for your staff. Once all the in-person, mail-in, and virtual votes have been counted, post the election results. The final tallies won’t show how the voting was done; they’ll only show the totals. So, the in-person and online votes won’t be visible.
With different hybrid voting software and tools coming up every day, it’s important to ensure that the hybrid voting system you choose works for your organization. It's also important to follow best practices when conducting a hybrid election. Here are some important tips to help you do successful hybrid polling.
Hybrid voting election security is crucial. Even as you explore better ways of conducting elections in your organization, you have to protect the integrity and sanctity of the vote as well as the ballot. Remember that your organization’s reputation also depends on the credibility of your elections and other critical decisions. So, ensure that the hybrid polling system you choose has the necessary security features to protect your votes and the personal information of each voter.
Aside from security, the other most important aspect of your voting system is its reliability. There’s no need to spend money on a system that keeps experiencing delays, technical glitches, and other hybrid voting problems. So, do a little research on your preferred system before you implement an internet voting election in your organization.
For more efficiency and convenience, you should use a hybrid polling system that allows you to integrate different processes. For instance, it should allow you to post and report the election results to all stakeholders without a problem. Ensure the system has built-in features that allow you to do the necessary audits, create annual reports, and store the outcome of the election securely for reference.
With the rising cases of cyber-attacks, it’s important to ensure that your hybrid electoral system is completely secure. Fortunately, the latest hybrid polling machines and tools are designed using highly advanced technologies to ensure they’re foolproof and can facilitate a secure election. They also use highly sophisticated systems to guarantee you universal verifiability of your polls while minimizing the risk of voter bribery, vote-buying, and tampering with the ballot.