If your union hadn’t jumped into online voting before the pandemic, now is probably the time where it has no other choice. In-person general membership meetings are not going to start up again very soon, but the business of the union must continue.
What is the best platform to use? Answering this question depends on what are the needs of your organization. Here are some options for you to consider as you choose an online voting platform that will fill the gap until we can see one another in person again.
If you’re looking more for a survey platform, check out the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)’s comparison of more than a dozen options, including many Canadian companies: https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/technology/free-low-cost-applications/pages/online-survey-tools-free-low-cost-options.aspx
This Canadian company offers online various kinds of online voting platforms, including for elections. Their servers are located in Canada and they offer services in French and English. Their system can be accessed through a web browser (i.e. there no app that users need to download) and you can see sample services on their website to get a sense of whether or not they might work for what you need. They offer a 15-day free trial and you can contact them if you have questions that are specific to your circumstances. Pricing starts at $265 per year and is paid on a subscription basis.
For more information, check out https://simplesurvey.com/
If you’ve used an online voting system before, chances are that it was Simply Voting. This Montreal-based company is commonly used by unions to administer their local elections. You can test their service before you sign up at their website to see how their ballots look, or create a trial election to see how it is managed. Simply Voting also offers a mail-in paper ballot hybrid option, if your organization needs to ensure that members can still vote by mail. Like Simple Survey, they can coordinate votes in both English and French.
Pricing information is available by asking for a quote: https://www.simplyvoting.com/
If you’re looking for a system that can handle thousands of votes, this American company might be one to check out. They offer a system with user authenticated voting systems to ensure there is no double voting, and offer a range of options to audit the results after. They work with unions and membership associations (along with large US corporations). There is no information about their pricing on their website, but to obtain a price, you are asked to fill out a form that explains what you intend to us their platform for.
To find out more, you can contact eVoting here https://www.eballot.com/contact-us
Election Runner is another American company that American unions have used for online voting. Their system is fully encrypted and works on all platforms. Their pricing is related to the number of votes you cast: it’s free for votes of under 20 people and $29 USD for up to 300 voters. You can also experiment with designing your own ballot before you need to sign up and pay. And, they offer college and university discounts.
For more information, check out: https://electionrunner.com
If you need to run a large election, you might want to consider Scytl. They offer a range of services, and can ensure user authenticated voter profiles and secure elections. They are headquartered in Spain and can run multi-lingual elections. Their Canadian office is in North Bay, Ontario. They recently were the company that managed the part of Ontario municipal elections that were online.
To find out pricing, visit: https://www.scytl.com
Do you have any feedback about these options? Or is there one that should be added to this list? Please let Nora know at editor @calm.ca