Investigating a Move to Electronic Voting

While the national elections are now over, the OCC Board is just beginning the process of recruiting members for our annual board of director election. Voting is an incredibly important right of democratic control by membership of OCC. As the recruitment process moves forward, the board is looking for ways to increase election participation and efficiency. As such, we are investigating the possibility of a move to electronic voting.

We understand that depending on personal comfort with technology, this move may seem either a terrific and easy switch or an intimidating change that could cause worry about the overall process. A change in how we vote as a membership is a big consideration and one the board is taking very seriously. No decisions have been made, and we want to be sure to involve and keep membership well informed as we move forward.
As we research and discuss possible options, here are a few points for consideration.
• Our initial research has shown the cost of electronic election management will be comparable to current election costs on a dollar for dollar    basis. When considering the savings of staff time involved, we expect it may actually reduce overall resources allocated to the election.
• The election in its current form requires the use of a great deal of paper. Use of existing technology may provide a reasonable substitute for paper ballots and be a suitable alternative.
• It is of utmost importance that voting be accessible. Any company chosen by the OCC Board for electronic voting would include the option for paper ballots. This means if your preferred method of voting is getting a paper ballot at home or at the Customer Service Desk at the Co-op, you’d still be able to do so.
• Other co-ops that have transitioned to electronic voting have seen a dramatic increase in election participation – upwards of 70% voter      participation.
• OCC staff responsible for election coordination are supportive of the potential move to electronic election management.

Do you love this idea or do you hate it? We’d love to hear your comments and questions about a switch to electronic voting. The OCC Board was
available for discussion in the Co-op Kitchen Classroom on Monday, December 5th concerning the topic of electronic voting. If you were unaware of the event or unable to attend this in-person discussion, we encourage you to attend our December meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 27th in the Co-op Kitchen Classroom. Board meetings begin at 5:30 pm with Board Learning Sessions. This portion of the meeting lasts roughly 45 minutes and is followed by a time dedicated to member/owner comments. Please feel free to join us at this, or any, board meeting. In addition, please consider contacting me, Brita Nelson – Board President, with any questions or concerns via oneotanelson@gmail.com.