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The Electoral Roll

The electoral roll is a list of all eligible voters and includes important information about the voting rights of every single voter in a given election. One of the election committee’s tasks is to make sure the electoral roll is complete and accurate. The members of the election committee review the data of all eligible voters, add newly registered members, citizens or employees and form the electoral groups.

First steps towards your electoral roll

Let’s assume you are creating your first ever election in a newly founded club. Which steps do you have to undertake to develop a legally valid electoral roll?

  • Define the requirements for voter eligibility within your electoral regulations.
  • Name an election committee.
  • Define the necessary data you need from the eligible voters to ensure effective voter-communication.
  • Decide on one data system that you want to use to manage your electoral roll. If you have a relatively small number of voters you can start with a simple spreadsheet formatted list. However, as the electorate grows, the more important it becomes to have an error-free system that can analyse multiple variables and export them in user-friendly formats like PDFs. If you are part of a large institution with an intranet for your members, simply use this system to manage your electoral roll.
  • Determine persons that are entitled to vote and form electoral groups where necessary

Example: Differentiation by gender so that only women will get the ballot paper for the election of an equal opportunities representative.

  • Determine which electoral groups will receive which ballot papers

Prepare and present the complete electoral roll for inspection – pay attention to the mandatory deadlines that have to be kept.*

*The time in which the electoral roll can be reviewed are stated in electoral regulations. This depends entirely on your company's bylaws or election guidelines. You can expect it to roughly be two to three weeks before an election is due to begin.

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Keep tabs on the election with the electoral roll

The electoral roll not only gathers important voter data, it can also have another important function. It can work as a method of voter verification. 

The roll can be used to check whether the voter is registered and therefore eligible to vote. Alternatively, the roll can check whether the voter has already cast their ballot.

Therefore an important task for election helpers is to help to manage the electoral roll on voting day and check whether every voter is indeed eligible to vote by ticking their name. This way, no voter votes twice. 

Inconsistencies in the electoral roll should be resolved before the start of the election. That is why the electoral roll is presented for inspection at an easily accessible location for a certain time period prior to the election. This way, the voters can check whether they have in fact been registered as an eligible voter and been put in the correct electoral group.

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POLYAS Tip: Start managing your electoral roll digitally. This way you can archive your voting data with minimal effort and will be able to quickly and easily access your electoral roll for future elections. Our Online Voting System authenticates voters reliably and securely using an integrated verification system which is encrypted and spread out across multiple instances.

The right way to structure an electoral roll

There are no legal regulations on how to structure your electoral roll. But if you maintain a complete and structured data system, election management will become a lot easier.

Read valuable tips for election management here!

There are two simple structural rules of thumb that anyone creating or maintaining the electoral roll should follow. First, it is imperative to differentiate the electorate into different voter groups as soon as they are added onto the list. Secondly and rather simply, you should always arrange registered voters in alphabetical order.

Download free templates for electoral rolls here!

Basic: Electoral Roll (PDF)
Advanced: Electoral Roll (PDF)
Professional: Electoral Roll (PDF)