ElectionBuddy offers two types of paper ballots: postal paper ballots, and printed paper ballots. The difference between these two types is how they are distributed, which follows the same rules as the notices themselves: postal ballots are sent to your voters by ElectionBuddy, and printed ballots are sent to your voters by you.
Here are some key points to note about paper ballots in ElectionBuddy:
What is the cost of using ElectionBuddy's paper ballots?
ElectionBuddy's paper ballots are included in the Professional pricing tier.
If you are mailing the ballots yourself, there are no additional charges. However, if you are having ElectionBuddy mail them on your behalf as well, then there is a per-voter charge for postage. For more information on the price of mailing ballots, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you choose to have ElectionBuddy do the mailing on your behalf, please note that, because you can add an address for any voter while the vote is running, ElectionBuddy charges you postage for all voters (i.e. the maximum possible postage costs) when you go to pay and start your vote, even if you start the vote with only a few voters with an address for receiving a mailed ballot. This ensures that you can send more mail, if necessary, while your vote is running.
When your vote ends, any postage that was not used gets refunded back to you.
If only a few of your voters need paper ballots, please see the help article Printing Individual Ballots.
Can a voter still vote electronically, even if they've been issued a paper ballot?
Absolutely. Each paper ballot has a unique reference number. This number is associated with an equally unique access key, which is ElectionBuddy's random, secret voting credential issued to each voter. The access key can be used to vote electronically.
Can a voter cast two votes — one electronically, and one on paper?
Your voters are more than welcome to fill out both an electronic ballot and a paper ballot, but only one will be counted. The access key associated with each ballot (electronic or paper) is single-use, so once either the paper ballot or the electronic ballot for a given access key has been submitted, that key has been used and another vote cannot be submitted with that access key, regardless of whether it's cast via a paper ballot or an electronic ballot.
Will my paper ballot look like my electronic ballot?
They have similarities, but they will differ. The paper ballot loses some of the features of electronic ballots due to space constraints. However, any formatting of text that you add to the electronic ballot is preserved for paper ballots. Below is a summary of the different ballot settings and features with paper ballots:
Compatible with Paper Ballots
Not Compatible with Paper Ballots
Ask for Comments
Advanced Ballot Customization (including logos)
You can also preview what your paper ballot will look like when choosing a paper ballot on the "Notices" page of your vote setup:
What is the page limit for postal paper ballots?
The maximum number of pages that can be sent is ten pages. This page limit includes the page that is allocated for the voter's voting notice. Be careful — if your notice is too long, it can run onto another page, which will take up another page out of your ten-page limit!
Additionally, if you choose to use the tear-off portion for the ballots, you will be allocating a page for that tear-off portion.
There is also a width limit, as a piece of paper can only be so wide. We recommend having no more than fifteen to twenty candidates/choices per ballot question when using paper ballots with the tear-off portion to ensure that none of your candidate boxes run off the paper.
Can I use a paper ballot for just one voter on my voter list?
Yes! You will be able to print a voter's ballot in the event that they cannot vote electronically. Nothing needs to be done in your vote setup to enable this, and there is no additional cost at this point.
Is the tear-off portion of the ballot required?
No, It is completely your choice to use it or not. It is meant to assist with the speed of entering the ballots into ElectionBuddy, and to minimize any return postage costs, but is not required.
Does my postal paper ballot include a return envelope and postage?
The postal paper ballots will have a blank return envelope included with them to facilitate the return process, but the return envelope is blank with no paid return postage. As with the printed paper ballots, your voters will be required to cover the postage to mail ballots back to you.
When can I print my paper ballots?
The vote must be paid for and moved to a "Ready" status in order to have access to download and print the ballots. A vote can be paid for and put into "Ready" at any point before the actual start time of the vote.
When can paper ballots be submitted?
Paper ballots may be submitted before the vote starts, during the vote, and after the vote ends.
When we say that paper ballots may be submitted before the vote starts, this is when the vote has been paid for and moved to "Ready", but has not yet reached its scheduled start time.