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Election Administration: Electoral Roll

An election is only as good as the preparation put in by the election officer, organizer or committee. The central focus of your election is doubtless the voter and their voting behavior. The success of your election therefore depends on communicating effectively with voters and, at its heart, the electoral roll. All relevant contact details of eligible voters and registered members taking part in the election, as well as information about voting rights in various board or committee elections within the institution are contained in the electoral roll.  

Content of the electoral roll

Every campaign measure taken in your election will be rendered ineffective if your electoral roll isn't up-to-date, leading to unnecessary costs. If you're using old addresses or email addresses then your voters will miss out on receiving crucial information about the election. Be sure to check your voters' or members’ database before the election. Make sure you have all contact details in order to communicate successfully with your voters. 

Last name, first name, address, email address?

The first step in preparing for your election is to verify the contact details of your voters, ensuring they are complete and up-to-date. Ask colleagues and members to re-check their details - they may well have changed since the last election. 

Are email addresses available?

Digital communication is fast and saves money - especially when combined with online voting. Online elections are particularly useful because election progress, projections and voting reminders can be sent quickly and comfortably via email. This increases voter turnout in your organization's election.

Start a test dispatch to all email addresses before the actual election. This way you can easily check which email addresses aren't valid anymore. 

Is the electoral roll usefully structured?

Before the election, you as an election organizer or head of the election committee should check the electoral roll based on the following categories: does the electoral roll include last names, first names and addresses? You should think about what kind of information might be useful for your organization as well. Look to the future and include new categories like social media accounts. 

Here are some free electoral roll templates to download

Basic: a simple electoral roll (PDF)
Advanced: a more detailed electoral roll (PDF)
Professional: a highly detailed electoral roll (PDF)

Request a quote >

New entries and former voters in the electoral roll

Including former employees or members in your database can lead to unnecessary costs. Just think about the costs involved in sending election information and ballots by mail. To avoid this scenario it's useful to clean up your electoral roll so as only to include eligible voters in your next election. 

New entries might not even be in the database or relevant distribution lists. An eye for detail is necessary or election communications won't reach new voters. Additionally, don't forget your candidates – in most cases they're eligible voters as well and are often overlooked on the electoral roll because they are standing for election. 

POLYAS-Tip: POLYAS' online voting system allows you to easily segment your voters in the digital electoral roll and check who has already cast their vote. Request a non-binding quote from our digital elections experts. 

Election administration is quality assurance

Updating the database or members directory can require a lot of time and effort by asking and phoning individuals for their details. Digital services, like a test email, can streamline your quality assurance. Use as many digital applications as possible to increase the quality of your data.

High data quality will save you in the long run – you'll save on election spending and communications with voters will reach the right people.

Free access to the election is a requirement in every democratic system – access shouldn't be compromised because of missing or misguided communication.