POLYAS conducts an interview with RPNAS

Case Study: Online voting at the RPNAS

The Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Saskatchewan is a regulatory college located in Regina, Canada, that held online elections with POLYAS for the first time in 2016. The 850 voters were able to access the voting system using a secure link via their member’s portal.  With previous elections being held by mail, the shift to online voting made the process much smoother and led to a marked increase in voter turnout.

Postal Elections Prior to POLYAS

Conducting postal elections in-house is a time consuming and frustrating process for any organization. Mike Clory, Directors of Operations, describes how their relatively small college had an enormous deal of administrative work to do. Hundreds of pages of election material had to be printed and mailed to members. If a member wished to vote they would need to manually mail the completed ballot and corresponding waivers back to the college.

This was not only inconvenient, but the post is unreliable, meaning that there was no clear indication as to when the letters would come back in. The vote counted as of the date it was mailed, which meant that they would have to sometimes wait weeks to determine who the winner of the election was. All votes had to, of course, be counted by hand. 

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The Convenience of Online Voting with POLYAS

Clory describes how convenient it was to have a third party take over the process for them – the only real work for the college was to provide the appropriate election material. From there, POLYAS did all the work of generating passwords, creating the e-ballot, and delivering voter credentials. POLYAS was even able to allow members to vote using a secure link in the members’ portal. By using POLYAS, the resources that normally would have gone into planning an election could be allocated elsewhere.

Holding the election electronically also meant there could be a specific end date. Rather than waiting around endlessly for postal votes that may never arrive, there was a clear cut-off date. When it came time to tally the vote, POLYAS provided the college with the results in PDF format immediately after the election ended.

POLYAS Tip: Every regulatory college and professional association has to hold elections. Doing so offline via post is frustrating. Follow RPNAS' example and conduct your next election online with POLYAS. Get in touch with our election experts to receive a free quote today. 

Higher Voter Turnout

When elections were held via post, voter turnout was low. Only 60 out of the 850 (roughly 7%) eligible members would submit their vote. This is fairly unsurprising; having to manually fill out the ballot and mail it back is a hassle.

By shifting to online voting with POLYAS, the voter turnout more than doubled to 16%. Given that members could now vote using a link found in the members’ portal they already had access to, taking part in the election was much easier. Using their phones, votes could be cast on the bus to work or on their couch when they got home. The feedback from voters was that the system was very convenient, with the entire process being completed in just a few clicks.

POLYAS hopes that the voter turnout will be even higher in the future as members become accustomed with online voting.