Elections are a lot of work, and we know that the work surrounding your election isn’t always fun. By setting a schedule well in advance and sticking to it, your election can be a smooth and successful process. Believe it or not, if you plan carefully the election period can actually be quite fun and result in an increase in voter turnout, as well as unexpected side-effects such as an increase in member engagement, lower costs, and a decrease in headaches and stress levels.
Here are some pointers to service as an election schedule:
1. Decide whether you want to handle your election in-house or work with a vendor.
- You should decide at least 6 months before your election if you want to manage your election in-house or hire an election partner. If you’re going to outsource your election, make sure your election partner offers full service capabilities and is an organization you can trust.
- Refer to your internal organization policies and bylaws to make sure your election is functioning in accordance with all policies.
2. Awareness Campaign Kick-Off
- Announce the election is approaching to your members. Keep your members informed of the election well in advance and remind them often. they’re more likely to vote wen they know the election is approaching and have time to research the candidates.
- Uncontested elections usually do not spike much interest for members. Raise awareness about the opening spots for candidacy and encourage your eligible members to run!
3. Nominations Management
- Sorting through applications, reviewing eligibility, and managing bios and photos can be a huge headache. Our partners have indicated that software that can easily track, collect, and review eligibility for nominations is a major help and time saver. Read more about Nominations Central™ here.
- Set a date when all nominations when all nominations must have been confirmed, then your membership of the running candidates,
- Studies show that one of the reasons why people do not vote is because they don’t know the candidates. Promote your election and the candidates so your members have a vested interest.
- Use social media to promote candidates! The more your members are kept in the loop, the better! I believe it goes without saying, your organization should be mindful to promote candidates equally and leave any bias or personal opinions to yourself.
4. Determine Where and When to Post Notices Online
- Use your organization’s social media campaigns to post reminders, updates, general election information, and candidate information to promote member engagement and participation.
- Promote the election of your website so visiting members see that the election is approaching. Any additional information about who the candidates are, how long the voting period is, etc, should be easy for your members to find and access.
5. Printing and Mailing Schedule
- Use custom ballot designs (paper or online) that are user-friendly, captivate attention, and motivate action! Custom ballot will not only increase voter turnout but increase brand recognition.
- The cost to print and mail continues to rise. You should consider alternative ways to reduce printing and postage costs, all while maintaining a professional presentation. For more information about paper and online elections, click here.
- Our partners have seen the highest turnout when ballots are delivered 30 days before the election closes.
6. Target Email Reminders
- Sending reminders to your members is a sure way to increase voter turnout.
About the Author:
Donna Emanuele is the Social Engagement Advocate for Election-America. Seasoned in in community engagement and participation, working in the field of elections seemed a natural fit for Donna. Donna can be reached directly at (866) 514-2995 x111 or DEmanuele@Election-America.com.