Over the past two years, organizations across various industries worldwide have needed to alter their operations and embrace technology in new, innovative ways like never before to ensure smooth operations and business continuity amidst a global pandemic.
While these adjustments have affected nearly every aspect of operations, one area that might have seen the most drastic change has been governance meetings.
Quite simply, regardless if you're a publicly-traded company, not-for-profit association, condominium, HOA or any other organization that conducts governance meetings, such as Annual General Meetings (AGMs), the way you hold and execute these meetings has likely changed. Not only have we seen a mass migration from in-person to virtual (online-only) or hybrid (mix of in-person and online) meeting formats but, we've also seen the use of electronic voting for both advance proxy and live, real-time voting skyrocket.
While surprising for some, the adoption of electronic voting has been trending upwards for years and for good reasons. From quicker ballot tabulation to enhanced security, here's how organizations are benefiting from the use of electronic voting.
What is Electronic Voting?
Electronic voting is voting that uses electronic means to cast, collect and tabulate votes. Electronic voting can be used for many different types of voting, including advance voting, proxy voting, and real-time voting.
Electronic voting makes voting more efficient, resulting in shorter meetings.
One of the most prevalent issues meeting organizers face when holding governance meetings pertains to meeting efficiency. Far too often will attendees, speakers, and organizers allot the initially scheduled hour or two for an Annual Meeting, only for the meeting to well exceed the initially scheduled time. Frustrating for all parties involved, many meeting organizers have begun closely examining their meeting processes to pinpoint and alleviate inefficiencies to ensure their upcoming meeting runs on time and efficiently as possible.
When reviewing prior meetings, organizers oftentimes find that these inefficiencies stem from one particular area, voting. This is because the processes of manually collecting, tabulating, and scrutinizing votes are time-consuming and are susceptible to errors and delays. And when these delays or errors occur, they can significantly impact the overall efficiency and substantially increase the meeting length.
By adopting electronic voting for advance proxy and in-meeting voting, votes can be securely cast, collected, and tabulated in real-time seamlessly, significantly reducing the time it takes to collect, tabulate and scrutinize ballots. In addition, meeting organizers who opt to use a dynamic tool such as GetQuorum's Electronic Voting platform; can digitize paper proxies and have unique factors such as varying voter eligibility or ballot weight accounted for automatically during ballot tabulations. These advanced features not only ensure accurate and secure ballot tabulation but also significantly improve overall meeting efficiency.
Electronic voting is more secure than paper-based voting.
One of the most common concerns meeting organizers and attendees initially have about electronic voting is data security. While an understandable concern, the level of security seen in the vast majority of electronic voting platforms surpasses that of paper-based voting methods significantly. From token-based voter authentication and voter verification to bank-grade data encryption, tools like GetQuorum's Electronic Voting platform come well equipped with advanced security features. These advanced security features ensure that voting data is transparent, auditable and provides a level of data security that paper-based voting methods cannot match and have become a crucial tool for voter fraud and ballot tampering prevention.
Electronic voting is more convenient, often leading to increased voter turnout.
One of the most notable benefits of electronic voting is the improved convenience it offers eligible voters. Compared to paper-based voting methods, casting and tabulating electronic ballots is simply much more convenient. This improved convenience often leads to a significant increase in voter turnout, especially when it comes to proxy voting.
Completing and submitting paper proxies is often a confusing and time-consuming process; this often leads to many eligible voters opting not to submit a proxy vote altogether. By providing voters with a simple, convenient way to complete and cast their proxy votes, meeting facilitators generally see a significant increase in voter turnout, often resulting in quorum being achieved well in advance of the meeting.
Electronic voting helps reduce meeting costs.
Whether held through an in-person or virtual format, the cost associated with conducting a governance meeting can add up rather quickly. And while renting a venue or bringing in key personnel or speakers can raise the cost of holding your meeting significantly, one of the most notable costs prevalent across most governance meetings is the cost associated with the printing and mailing of meeting materials, such as paper ballots used for voting. While they may seem insignificant at first, these costs can add up rather quickly, especially for organizations with a history of low turnout, who may need to print and distribute these materials multiple times before quorum is achieved and the meeting can commence.
In contrast, most often, the only cost associated with electronic voting is the platform used to distribute, collect and tabulate electronic votes. This cost usually comes at a fraction of the printing and mailing cost traditionally associated with the distribution of paper ballots, significantly lowering the overall meeting cost as a result.
Ready to utilize electronic voting at your next meeting?
If you'd like to learn more about how electronic voting and our other solutions can help you run more successful governance meetings, click here.
If you'd like to use electronic voting at your upcoming meeting, get in touch with our team!