In this article, we highlight some of the primary ways you can maximize usage of the Campus-Wide Elections tool. We've also highlighted member campuses who have successfully implemented the tool and the strategies they have used to make elections an integrated part of campus culture.
Secure election voting with Eligibility Lists
One of the major benefits of the Campus-Wide Elections tool is your ability as an administrator to ensure the right people are voting in each of your election ballots. Notice how you can create lists to represent different classifications, academic colleges, or even "ineligibility" lists containing voters who do not meet GPA or conduct standards.
Administrators at Texas A&M University - Galveston utilize Eligibility Lists to ensure 100% accuracy in voting, as well as to save time on behalf of those working to manage the elections. Before their use of Campus-Wide Elections, students working at the voting table would need to verify each voter's eligibility to vote in the various elections taking place through a paper list.
At Towson University, only undergraduate students are able to vote in SGA elections. Now, with a simple excel file containing undergraduate students' ID numbers, Towson can limit ballots to ensure only eligible students can vote. Now, all the work of checking for eligibility is done automatically and behind the scenes, allowing these administrators to coordinate their elections with greater ease and accuracy.
Shuffle answers to mitigate response bias
In the Engage Form Builder used for elections, you have the ability to select a Shuffle Answers option for your multiple choice questions. When you shuffle answers, the answer choices will appear in a different order for each individual voter.
Use form options to provide candidate information
Ensure your users know exactly who and what they are voting for by providing candidate photos, bios, and/or platform information right within the form itself. With the form builder for elections, you can use additional text options to include this type of information.
More than SGA Elections
While the tool is named "Campus-Wide Elections," don't feel limited to only running your standard yearly SGA elections! Many of our campuses utilizing this tool have maximized its presence on campus by running other community wide polls or voting initiatives. At Texas A&M University - Galveston, they have used the Campus-Wide Election Tool to allow students to vote on student fee increases, a name for their newest marine vessel, and in a survey on concealed firearm carry on campus, to name a few.
At Connecticut College, a generous donor granted SGA a sum of money to create a Sustainability Fund that must be voted on by the entire student body each year to continue existing. This campus utilizes the Campus-Wide Elections tool to seamlessly facilitate this process.
Use the tool to expand your reach on campus, allowing you to hear the voices of your students, faculty, and/or staff on any issue or topic!
Don't forget to market!
While moving your voting processes to an online platform makes them more readily accessible to your users, don't forget to be smart about getting the word out.
Enable the election banner in Engage
When you create a Campus-Wide Election, you can enable a banner to appear on both the unauthenticated and logged-in home pages of your site. Be sure to do this to maximize election exposure.
Increase your presence on campus during election season
Towson University administrators say the tool has allowed them to increase voter turnout and presence on campus. While they still have polling locations, they now mainly exist for raising awareness that voting is happening, as opposed to facilitating the voting itself. These voting stations have iPads available to walk students through the voting process. Candidates can also share voting information far and wide using their own social media accounts, simply providing a link to the voting page, and administrators utilize their daily campus-wide email to share the link as well. Administrators at Towson say the ability to access voting through a link, shared widely through multiple mediums, is much more accessible for their students and greatly increases voter turnout.