Exporting Results and Reports
On the "Results" page of your "Ready", "Running", or "Closed" election, you will find five tabs of information:
Each of these tabs contains information that can be exported for review outside of ElectionBuddy. To export the data, look for the "Download" button in the top-right of the page for the tab you have open.
This tab is for managing your voter list. Each voter has a status in the voter list that relates to any events that have occurred relating to that voter to provide visibility on the actions that you have taken as the election administrator. A voter's default status is "Not Voted".
To protect the privacy of your voters, the information displayed on the "Voters" tab is never visible to anyone except the election administrator. Therefore, downloading the list is the only way to share this information with others without sharing your ElectionBuddy account credentials.
The list is exported in a Comma-Separated Values (.CSV) file format, meaning that it can be opened a spreadsheet software (ex. Microsoft Excel).
Exporting this list is helpful because:
- Downloading your voter status list can provide you with more insights than can be achieved by looking at the voter list in ElectionBuddy alone. The list in ElectionBuddy can't show all of the data related to a voter because it would crowd the list, so you can investigate multiple aspects about a voter if you download the list.
- The downloaded copy of the list also provides you with IP addresses for your voters that have voted, which can help you identify abnormal voting trends.
- In Excel, it can be filtered based on the voters' statuses. For example, you can filter the list to only view those voters whose contact information bounced, which allows you to reach out to those voters via an alternative method to try and get good contact information for them. Many organizations use this to update their internal membership list, as this helps them ensure that all communications from the organization are actually reaching their members!
- If you are sending reminders and communications outside of ElectionBuddy, being able to filter the list by those who haven't voted means that you can directly target those voters with your reminders, as opposed to sending them to everyone. Voters who have already voted don't want to be nagged to do something that they've already done!
The fruits of your efforts are displayed in this tab. Depending on your election's settings, you may or may not be able to view this tab while the election is live, but you will always have access to this tab when the election finishes. You can make the visibility of this tab optional to voters as well.
The results data is available in two different export formats, each with their own "Download" button. If you are looking to create a text-based report, you have the option of downloading the text (.TXT) version of the file. Alternatively, if you'd like to look at the results in a spreadsheet software (ex. Microsoft Excel), you can download it in a Comma-Separated Values (.CSV) format.
Downloading this list is of benefit if:
- You need to present your results outside of ElectionBuddy; for example, if your organization distributes the results via a newsletter, or publishes them on your organization's website.
- How ElectionBuddy decides the winner(s) is not equivalent to your organization's requirements for being a winner. ElectionBuddy decides on a winning option via a very simple algorithm — the option with the most votes wins. However, many organizations require a quorum to be achieved in order to make election results valid; if a quorum isn't reached, then nobody wins. There may also be a threshold requirement, which is likely to be more complex than a simple "what/whomever has the most votes, wins". Therefore, exporting the results and displaying them outside of ElectionBuddy with the true winner(s), based on your requirements, may be mandatory.
- A committee is required to review the results before you can make them official. Sending the committee a spreadsheet with the results is an easy way for them to analyze the data.
The results of all your hard work, but in picture format — the "Graphed Results" tab will give you a visual representation of the results. As with the "Results" tab above, this one may or may not be visible to you while the election is live, and can optionally be visible to your voters as well.
The graphs are downloaded per-question on the ballot, meaning that there is a "Download" button to the right of each question title. If your question uses a preferential or STV voting system, there is a downloadable graph per round, allowing you to provide visuals for how the votes change as candidates/options are elected or eliminated and the votes are redistributed.
Graphs are exported in the Portable Network Graphics (.PNG) format.
These graphs make a great addition to any presentation or report that you may be required to create.
Vote by Vote
The "Vote by Vote" tab contains the report that allows you to manually verify the results that ElectionBuddy presents to you on the "Results" tab. It is a randomized list of all the ballots submitted in your election, and the votes cast on each ballot. The randomization ensures that viewing the report does not compromise the election's integrity, as it means that, for example, the first ballot submitted is not necessarily the first ballot in the list on the report — thus hiding the identity of the voter that cast that vote.
Given the contents of this report, it cannot be viewed by voters if they are allowed to come to ElectionBuddy to view the election results.
Naturally, because this report would be used to investigate the tally of the results, it exports in a Comma-Separated Values (.CSV) format, allowing it to be opened in your favourite spreadsheet software (ex. Microsoft Excel).
This report is useful if:
- Voters were allowed to mail back paper ballots, and you need to combine the results of the paper ballots with the electronically-cast ballots.
- Your organization's bylaws require a manual recount of the votes, or if a member were to request it at a meeting.
- Your organization's bylaws require you to keep a record of the vote cast in an election for potential future review.
The contents of this tab were designed to allow your voters verify their votes after they've been cast. As the administrator, you are welcome to view it, but it can't really provide you with too much information. As it was made for them, it is visible to your voters if they can come to ElectionBuddy directly to view the results.
After voting, each voter receives a verification code. This code should be present in the list of codes in the "Vote Audit" report; if it isn't, that may mean that the vote was changed somehow. Although we have yet to have a code not match in the list, ElectionBuddy offers this to provide voters with transparency and confidence in the security of their vote.
Since the data is in a table, the report exports to a Comma-Separated Values (.CSV) format so it can be viewed using a spreadsheet software (ex. Microsoft Excel).
Exporting the "Vote Audit" report makes the most sense if:
- You need to present the results outside of ElectionBuddy, but still want to provide voters with the visibility around their votes cast.
- You want to allow voters to verify their verification codes, but do not want to share some of the other information in this report, such as IP addresses and notes, with your voters.