Electronic Voting and Governance: When Is Online Voting OK?

Although convenient for board members, online voting is controversial. In some cases, online voting may not meet necessary legal requirements. In addition, if the platform used to gather responses lacks proper security, voting results may be hackable, threatening poll-result integrity.

So when should boards embrace online voting and when is in-person voting preferred? Read on for details.

Use Online Voting for Simple Polling

Online voting is best used for routine polls. Polls that don’t need explanation or background prior to completion, such as scheduling details, 990 form completion responses and consent agenda items, can be done outside of meetings to save time.

Surveys, such as those assessing leadership, self-performance, and fundraising or board events, can also be done through online voting. Feedback gathered can be used to measure board member satisfaction and performance, reform processes and engage members. In these cases, online polls are even preferred for privacy reasons, as they ensure more honest answers and accurate results.

Vote In-Person for Unconventional Polling

Polls that relate to elections, budgeting and strategic vision, require discussion and context, or are being implemented for the first time, should be done in-person.

To achieve the most accurate results, hold an open discussion beforehand that allows members to ask questions, verify details and seek others’ expertise.

Seamlessly Integrate Online Voting

Online voting offers boards convenience. Since voting can occur via smartphone, tablet or laptop, members can vote on their own time increasing participation.

Simply invite specific people to participate in your poll; you can even include those outside of the board when appropriate. For example, boards may send an invite to members of departments directly affected by the final vote or attendees of a fundraiser. Participants will receive an email invite, letting them know the poll is open. Email reminders are also in place to encourage participation.

Online voting is made secure through features such as the ability to choose who receives the poll and who can view responses. Collected data should also be housed on secure servers that are backed up regularly.

Learn more about how you can improve board management with online voting.

Image Source: Carissa Rogers