Case Study: Online Election for the Church Council

The 800,000 voters of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (EKKW) were invited in 2013 to elect 820 new church board members from a total of 8,747 candidates.

The voters could decide for themselves whether they cast their vote on election day at the polling station, in advance by absentee ballot or online with POLYAS. Many voters took advantage of online voting which increased the turnout.

High Turnout Through Online Voting

Approximately 10 percent of all eligible voters took advantage of online voting for the church council election. Already after 24 hours, 3,000 votes had been cast online.

The share of young people using online voting was particularly high

This shows that online elections have great potential to motivate in particular young and first-time voters to participate. In the EKKW, young people are eligible to vote when they are 14 years old. But even the older voters did not want to miss out on the convenience of online voting. Therefore, there was also a very high turnout among voters aged 70 or older.

“The entire church is very pleased,” says Frank Liese, project manager of the online election of the Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck. “I have received a lot of positive feedback,” says Liese, “not just of young people. I know, for example, that the entire senior computer club in a community has elected online.”

Positive Feedback From the Online Voters

The online election was accompanied by a scientific survey of the voters, conducted by the University of Münster. The aim of the survey was to find out how the voters would adopt the online voting system. The survey found that the majority of respondents rated almost all aspects of the electoral system as “good” or “very good.”

The transparency of the website, as well as its functionality and operability were evaluated with over 90 points out of 100 as “very good.”
But also the security, the accessing process and the organisation of the POLYAS online voting system were classified by the majority as “good” or “very good” by the respondents.

Overall, the online voters were very pleased with the online voting system and would use this opportunity in future elections.

POLYAS Tip: Find out how you too can increase voter turnout and motivate your voters to participate. Contact us and request the white paper on voter turnout

The Church Votes in a Future-Oriented Way

With the introduction of online voting, the protestant church displays a forward-looking attitude and in that way reaches mainly young voters. Online voting with POLYAS is a sign of future-orientedness in an expanding digital world.

The project leader of the church council election, Eckhard Käßmann, draws a positive conclusion: “A remarkable number of voters used online voting, particularly young people. The voter turnout was increased and data security was guaranteed at all times.”