Accommodating Technically Challenged Voters
Elections are now becoming more electronic than ever, and electronic elections are trending to be the way of the future. However, anyone who has watched their elderly parent try to use an iPhone will know that electronic elections are not always accessible to voters who are not technically inclined. Instead of forcing you, as an election administrator, to try and teach your less tech-savvy voters the A-Z of the internet, we have made accommodating those individuals as simple as possible.
Depending on the specifics of your election, there are better ways to handle a technically challenged voting population than others, so we have multiple ways you can do this! However, please note that, at the end of the day, all roads lead back to electionbuddy.com - someone will have to get the voter's choices into Electionbuddy for result tabulation.
We have ways of allowing for a representative from the organization to cast a vote on the technically inept voter's behalf. Each of your voters has a unique access key assigned to them that the organization can surface and enter into https://electionbuddy.com/ballot. The key assigns the vote to that voter, so using the voter's key on their behalf will assign the vote to them. For instructions on surfacing an access key, please refer to our related article on Surfacing an Access Key.
Here's how you can accommodate for your technically challenged voter population.
The technically challenged group of voters is probably a small subset of your voting population, and they are usually without email addresses. The rest of your membership is likely going to receive their notice to vote via an electronic method (email or SMS). First, your election must be set up to facilitate both of these groups of voters.
- On the "Notice" stage of your election setup, choose whatever electronic notice type you want to use for your technically capable voters, and then also select "Create Notices Yourself".
- Proceed to the "Voters" stage of your election setup. When inputting your voter list, you will need to provide a ballot ID for each voter. This includes your non-electronic voters.
- Only include contact information for the voters who will be receiving an electronic notice to vote. Leave the contact information blank for the voters who will not be receiving an electronic notice to vote.
- When your election is live, you will have the ability to download access keys for voters without contact information. If you download all voters' access keys, you will not be able to modify any contact information for those voters with contact information.
- Distribute the access keys to your non-technical voters as you see fit if they have someone that can assist them with casting their vote at a computer or mobile device at home; or, hold onto the list of keys, and move onto the "Voting" section below.
Once you have your election running, there are several ways you can assist your non-technical voters in casting their vote:
- Create a paper ballot for them and mail it to them: you can create a paper ballot using your favorite word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, or by printing out the webpage of the electronic ballot. Ask the voter to fill out the ballot, and then have them mail it back to you. The ballot can be submitted by:
- Obtaining the voter's access key (if you did not take note of it before distributing it, you can surface it in the voter list; see above for instructions).
- Input the key at https://electionbuddy.com/ballot.
- Fill out the ballot identically to how the paper ballot was filled out.
- Verify that you've chosen the right candidates/options as per your voter's paper ballot, and submit.
- Work with voters to cast their vote via phone: If you have available staff, you can allow voters to call your organization. A representative reviews the ballot with them over the phone, and enters choices on behalf of the voters into electionbuddy.com using the voters' access key. This method would also work if you wanted to communicate with your voters via mail.
- The representative will need to ask for something to identify the voter in the voter list (this would be based off of how your election has been set up) in order to find them to surface their specific key; alternatively, if the voter has been left off the list and manual access keys have been included in the election, the representative can find any available manual key and surface it to assign it to that voter.
- Then, the representative takes that key and inputs it into https://electionbuddy.com/ballot.
- This opens up the ballot. The representative then walks them through the ballot, and records their choices on the ballot as the representative and voter go through it.
- Then, the representative will need to verify the ballot in the same way that the voter would if they were submitting their vote themselves by reviewing the voter's choices with them.
- Once the voter is sure of their choices, the representative can submit the ballot!
- Offer on-site options: If your voters are in a community or a residence, or live by your offices (basically, anywhere where it would be convenient for them to have a chance to vote in-person), you can set up a polling station. This polling station can be handled in two ways:
- You can provide voters with some kind of paper ballot and have the choices entered into Electionbuddy by a representative of your organization on https://electionbuddy.com/ballot
- You can set up a tablet/iPad or computer and use Electionbuddy's kiosk mode for simple electronic, in-person voting, with your staff on-hand to assist them with the electronic device as needed. For more information on Electionbuddy's kiosk mode, please see our related article: Electionbuddy's "Kiosk Mode" for Onsite Voting
Upcoming Feature Release: Paper Ballots
Soon, we will be making it easier than ever to accommodate elderly voters in Electionbuddy with the addition of a paper ballot generator. The paper ballots will have the ability to be printed and manually distributed by the organization, or to be mailed by Electionbuddy, along with a notice to vote, at an additional per-voter charge.
At the discretion of the organization, the ballots can either be mailed back to the organization, mailed to Electionbuddy's clearing facility, or physically returned to the organization. In all cases, voting online is an option for voters - they do not need to utilize the paper ballot.
The ballots will be entered online at electionbuddy.com for result tabulation. These can be entered by the organization, or by Electionbuddy staff.
Stay tuned for more!