Setting Up an Election with Paper Ballots

This article is one of four in the Electionbuddy Paper Ballot Collection. For more about paper ballots, please see:


We are offering two types of paper ballots: Printed paper ballots and Postal paper ballots. As with the notices, the difference between the two is that Electionbuddy mails out the postal paper ballots on your behalf, while you must distribute your own printed paper ballots. Both will also come with the same notice to vote that you've always had from Electionbuddy; however, the postal notice is in a letter format when paper ballots are used, as opposed to the traditional post card notice. 

The following are instructions on how you set up the ballots when building your election. For any questions regarding costs, features compatible with paper ballots, etc., please see  Paper Ballots — General Notes and FAQs.

Printed Notices with an Included Paper Ballot (AKA Printed Paper Ballots)

  1. Log into your Electionbuddy account.
  2. Create a new election by clicking "New Election" in the menu bar at the top of the page.
  3. Fill out your election details, and proceed to the "Ballot" page.
  4. Build your ballot as required (please see Paper Ballots — General Notes and FAQs for specifics about what ballot options are compatible with paper ballots), and proceed to the "Notices" stage of your setup.
  5. Choose any other notice types you need, along with "Printed Notices".
  6. When you check "Printed Notices", a series of other options will become available. Choose "Include a Paper Ballot" to include a paper ballot. 
  7. Optional: choose "Include a tear-off section for ballot submission" to have voters return a single piece of paper to you, vs. sending back the entire ballot. This is a good option if you have a limited budget for postage, or if you want to enter ballots more quickly into Electionbuddy once they arrive (for more details, please see Submitting Paper Ballots).

  8. Highly recommended, but optional: preview your paper ballot. You can do so by selecting the "Preview" link that follows the supplementary text under "Include a Paper Ballot" (see above). This ensures that there are no surprises when you start your election and go to start printing the ballots.
  9. Finish up on the "Notices" page by customizing your notice templates as required, and proceed to "Voters".
  10. Your voters who will receive printed paper ballots can be set up in the voter list by using ballot IDs (i.e. by providing a ballot ID with no contact information associated with it), or set up in the gray box that asks you how many you need (if you're only using one notice type). We always recommend that you set printed notices up in the voter list by using ballot IDs. This assists you with keeping track of your notices and ballots. If not using the tear-off portion, use ballot IDs. You will not be able to spoil a paper ballot in Electionbuddy without the tear-off portion and without ballot IDs, as there will be no way for you to identify the voter in the voter list in order to spoil their ballot.
  11. Review and start your election. Distribute your ballots to your voters, and collect them as voters complete them.
  12. For instructions on submitting the ballots once you've received them, please see Submitting Paper Ballots.

Postal Notices with an Included Paper Ballot (AKA Postal Paper Ballots)

  1. Log into your Electionbuddy account.
  2. Create a new election by clicking "New Election" in the menu bar at the top of the page.
  3. Fill out your election details, and proceed to the "Ballot" page.
  4. Build your ballot as required (please see Paper Ballots — General Notes and FAQs for specifics about what ballot options are compatible with paper ballots), and proceed to the "Notices" stage of your setup.
  5. Choose any other notice types you need, along with "Postal Notices".
  6. When you check "Postal Notices", a series of other options will become available. Choose "Include a Paper Ballot" to include a paper ballot. 
  7. Optional: choose "Include a tear-off section for ballot submission" to have voters return a single piece of paper to you, vs. sending back the entire ballot. This is a good option if you have a limited budget for postage, or if you want to enter ballots more quickly into Electionbuddy once they arrive (for more details, please see Submitting Paper Ballots).

  8. Highly recommended, but optional: preview your paper ballot. You can do so by selecting the "Preview" link that follows the supplementary text under "Include a Paper Ballot" (see above). This ensures that there are no surprises when you start your election and the ballots get sent to our printing company.
  9. As you may also see in the above image, the return address is mandatory when paper ballots are selected. Fill out the return address on the "Notice" page using the same formatting as required in the voter list; see Formatting Tips for Entering a Voter's Mailing Address in Electionbuddy for the required format if you have questions.
  10. Finish up on the "Notices" page by customizing your notice templates as required, and proceed to "Voters".
  11. Set up your voters in the voter list with their mailing addresses and other contact information, if required (if doing a multi-channel election). 
  12. Review and start your election. Electionbuddy will initiate the printing and mailing process once your election has started (unless you are delaying postal delivery to allow for electronic voting to occur first). 
  13. Estimated mail delivery dates will become visible for each voter in the voter list of the running election (on the "Results" page). 
  14. Collect the ballots as they arrive back from your voters.
  15. For instructions on submitting the ballots once you've received them, please see Submitting Paper Ballots.

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