Election Administration: Involve Stakeholders
An election can only work if everybody can cast their vote. The election committee or election officer are confronted with the task of motivating as many voters as possible. This task requires a solid argument in favor of the importance of the election, based on the opportunity for voters to participate and to play an active role in shaping the organization into the future.
Motivate voters through election ambassadors
In US election campaigns, millions of dollars are spent to direct the attention of voters to specific candidates. Intelligent social concepts are also used to involve the voter in the preparation of the election, which don't have to cost much. Adapt social concepts and motivate your voters with the help of election ambassadors.
Key figures or influencers with a good network will help your election get the necessary attention
Identify the opinion leaders, well-respected colleagues or members who are trusted and whose opinions are valued. These people are able to motivate voters and should be included in the organization of your election. If an event or meeting is organized or announced by well-connected people, it increases the chance of a high turnout.
Talk to the people you have in mind during the election preparations. You can meet them individually, call them or have a group meeting involving other colleagues. Explain the details about the upcoming election and election administration process and ask if they would be available to act as an election ambassador.Start now >
Integrate stakeholders and take them seriously
Stakeholders are parties to a project or process and have an interest or influence on the outcome. A stakeholder can be a person or a group, for example an association or neighbors. Additionally, the board of directors is an important stakeholder in all decisions which are made within an organization.
Everyone who has an interest or influence in the upcoming election is a stakeholder in your election administration process.
In most elections, candidates, the old board of directors, honorary members, sponsors, friends or media representatives are stakeholders. They all have a legitimate interest in the election and can influence the outcome of the election. Involve these groups early on in central steps of the election administration process to get them on your side.
You don't have to organize a special stakeholder campaign, but make sure that everyone has all the necessary information on time:
- Email or postal notifications
Send out regular updates about the planning progress to all stakeholders – it is sufficient to keep it short yet informative
- Personal calls
This would be useful for bigger decisions or influential stakeholders (e.g. candidates). In important cases, it is always wise to speak personally with stakeholders.
- Be reachable
Clearly indicate in your updates how you can be contacted. Don't get tired of mentioning that this contact is always available to provide further information.
- Press releases or press information
If the media is involved, write a short and informative press release. Write down a few points of key background information which can be distributed if necessary.
This kind of communication isn't made to favor certain people. It's rather used to prevent misunderstandings and avoid a debate on electoral principles (which can stretch to the electoral code or bylaws) during the election period. Once everything has been planned and accounted for it can get expensive to add or change important points in the election administration process.
POLYAS-Tip: support election ambassadors and stakeholders easily with a digital election and send important voter information online. Learn more about it in our POLYAS online voting support center >
Use election ambassadors
Election ambassadors can support you and your stakeholders with election communications, approaching voters or other tasks in the election administration process. To clarify, an election ambassador is a well-known person who uses their popularity to motivate voters. Read more about election ambassadors.
Make a plan as to how election ambassadors can support you generally. You'll find that it won't be that much effort to prepare them for their “duties” in your election. For example, use election ambassadors as contact persons for questions about the election. They can also forward prepared emails to their contacts, post info on Facebook or distribute marketing material like buttons, stickers or flyers. Additionally, small info events about the election are also an option.
Engage election ambassadors
Particularly engaged individuals with the necessary energy are often close to the election organization team. They are mostly election volunteers or members who helped in previous elections. As for election ambassadors, these people would get clear and easy tasks to support the election committee throughout the election administration process.