The ARRL Board of Directors will look into the use of electronic balloting systems “to augment paper balloting for ARRL elections.” The Board instituted a hybrid paper and electronic balloting process in the fall of 2012, which was popular among those who took advantage of it, but overall voter participation declined significantly, and the Board’s Ethics and Elections Committee decided in 2015 to return to using solely paper ballots. The Ethics and Elections panel said continuing changes in technology, the acceptance of remote meetings, and significant advancements in voting processes since them have made electronic balloting worth a second look.
“Electronic balloting is now in common use among professional organizations,” the Board said. “Using electronic balloting would be of benefit to members who find paper ballots difficult to use. Providing electronic balloting as an alternative to paper balloting may result in a cost savings to the organization and decrease delays and potential conflicts over delays of paper ballots. It is likely, also, that the use of online balloting will be attractive to younger members who are more accustomed to online transactions.”
The Board directed its Administration & Finance Committee to investigate the state, cost, and availability of commercial electronic balloting services as a member-selected alternative to paper ballots distributed and collected via the postal service. The committee will report back to the Board within a year.