Electronic voting

Electronic voting

Electronic voting allows people to give their views on an issue using electronic means to cast and count votes. It can be useful during events and conferences as part of the wider participation process.

  • Time to do: Typically takes a few minutes as part of a bigger event
  • Staff: minimum of 1 required
  • Cost£ - £££ cost can vary depending on the type of electronic voting chosen
  • Equipment: Key pads and hardware or smart phones, laptop and projector, internet connection
  • one-to-one
  • small groups
  • large groups
  • face-to-face
  • at a distance

How to do it

  • Develop a set of questions to ask in advance
  • Questionnaires should be clear, concise and focused and what you need to know
  • Be clear about the purpose of the voting – whose views are needed and why
  • Select appropriate means to conduct the voting. Options can include electronic key pads and software, smart devices, apps and online voting
  • Pilot the proposed questions in advance on a sample group
  • Make sure the necessary system is provided or participants are asked to bring their own device
  • Tell the audience what to expect and how to participate
  • Ensure you save the results

Advantages

  • Intuitive and often doesn’t need explaining
  • Instant results
  • Anonymous participation
  • Possibility of voting remotely which may increase the overall participation
  • Easy to collate and publish results
  • High volume of responses can be achieved in a short time

Challenges

  • Not suitable for complex questions which require in-depth answers.
  • It cannot be used to raise new issues.
  • Using the electronic keypads requires additional hardware which may come at a cost. There is a risk of the pads going missing.
  • Some participants may not have a smart device.
  • Some applications require individuals to have an account to participate.
  • Phone signal/ network/ Wi-Fi needed – take this into consideration when choosing a venue.

More information

  • There are a lot of different applications that support electronic voting. A quick internet search may identify suitable options. Taking into consideration some of the above points (budget, challenges and so on) can help to make a decision and choose the most appropriate one.

Last Updated: 24 February 2020
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