Most units are now using our online election system. To begin, your unit appoints an election administrator who is responsible for collecting all election information and entering it via web screens into your online ballot. Once entered, this information is also used by the Special Publications Department to prepare paper ballots for those whose email bounces, or who do not have an email address in our database.
We send a custom email to each member, providing a URL to access their personal voting screen. Voters using paper ballots send them to the election administrator for manual tallying. Election results can be viewed online by the election administrator. You may request that email reminders be sent to those members who have not yet voted. Your election should remain open for at least four weeks, and you should allow six weeks for the entire process.
Unit Web Election Procedures
NOTE: All email communication involving unit web elections should be sent to email@example.com and not to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The election administrator should email Unit Elections requesting access to the administrator web site. An email with a URL and username/password will be sent
- Log on to the administrator web site and create the new ballot, along with the email message to be sent to members. Fill out all required information, and make certain to use the “Preview” tab at the top of the page to review each candidate’s statement and bio.
- The election cannot begin until the administrator requests and approves a test ballot. This request can be made during setup, using the “Manager” tab.
- You will be sent the requested test election email, with a link to the draft ballot. You may approve the ballot by using the “Manager” tab to enter a start date for the election. If you would like to begin the election within one business day, you can approve the ballot and request the start of the election by emailing Unit Elections. For start dates beyond one business day, use the “Manager” tab online.
Test ballots will be cleared and the ballot is then locked. Your election emails will be sent on the date you specified.
- The information for your paper ballot will be extracted from the data you provide in the online system. Once your online ballot is locked, you will receive a sample paper ballot from the Special Publications department.
However, if you need any special information on your paper ballot that is not included as part of the standard online ballot, you need to communicate this as soon as the ballot is locked, by emailing Special Pubs (email@example.com). For example, if your unit allows write-in voting, this can only be done on a paper ballot, and you need to communicate to Special Pubs that the paper ballot should provide an area for write-ins.
If your paper ballot is basically a hard-copy version of the online ballot, you need do nothing but set up your ballot online, and Special Pubs will send you a draft paper ballot for your approval once your online setup is complete.
We recommend you do not include the paper ballot in your newsletter, to minimize the likelihood of duplicate online and paper votes.
- On the day you designated, the election email will be sent to each member of your unit with an email address on file. Bylaws require that each member must receive either an online or paper ballot.
- You can view progress of the election by logging in to the administration web site. Until the election closes, you will only be able to see what percentage of your membership has voted. Once the election ends, this page will show the tallies of all online votes.
- After at least one week has passed since the start of your election, a “reminder” email can be sent to those members who have not yet voted. This can be initiated in one of three ways:
- Log on to the administrator site and indicate when you would like a reminder to be sent. This can be set up any time after the start of your election. You will probably want to modify the text of your original email message for the reminder. If you modify the text, please inform us of this using the comment area of the Manager tab.
- Email the text of the reminder message, as well as the “Subject” line, to Unit Elections. You may only request this option on the day you want the reminder sent, requests for future dates should be made online using the Manager tab.
- Email Unit Elections requesting that the same text as your original email be sent, with the word “Reminder” added to the Subject line. You may only request this option on the day you want the reminder sent, requests for future dates should be made online using the Manager tab.
- One to two weeks after sending the initial election email, paper ballots will be sent to those unit members whose email bounced, as well as those without an email address on file. Completed paper ballots are sent directly to the election administrator for tallying, and are not handled by APS.
After the election ends, results of the online votes can be viewed at the administrator website. To assist in reconciling paper ballots and other post-election matters, the administrator may request the following four files from APS:
- The Membership Roster allows you to identify members who voted both online and via paper ballot. This file contains the names of your members, their membership number and postal address, and an indication of whether they voted online. This file will not indicate the member’s voting selections, only a “Y” flag if they voted online.
- The Candidate Table has each candidate’s name, their assigned identification number, and the number of votes they received online.
- The Raw Results List contains the detailed votes of each ballot, but no indication of the voter’s identity.
- A Positions Table that is a key to the data contained in the Raw Results List.
These files will only be sent to those administrators who request them from Unit Elections.
You should allow about six weeks to conduct the full election cycle. It will take about a week for ballot setup and testing, and preparing paper ballot information. During the next few weeks while your online election is open, paper ballots will be printed and mailed. Remember that paper ballots will not be mailed until one to two weeks after the initial election email, and you will need to allow time for these paper ballots to be received by members and returned to you. Your election should be open for a minimum of four weeks. Once the election closes, you should allow yourself about a week to tally paper ballots and reconcile them against the online election result reports.
Any questions about the process can be sent to Unit Elections.