Public vs. Anonymous Voting – Which is Right for You?

Public vs. Anonymous Voting

The choice between holding a public or anonymous voting session can have a great impact on your participants’ voting experience as well as the overall outcome.

Traditionally, many organizations have opted to vote publicly by making their opinions known through hand and voice voting. In a public vote, participants and third parties can see both the final result, as well as how each individual voted.

In recent years, anonymous voting, (also known as a secret ballot) has grown in popularity. This method limits how much information is available to voters and third parties. When the final result is displayed, who voted for what is hidden from all participants, allowing for truly private voting.

There is no right or wrong way to vote, and both public and anonymous voting have their benefits and disadvantages. By finding the right voting process to fit your organization, you can ensure the best possible experience for all your participants.

Wenham Town Meeting

Many towns in Massachusetts that have an open government and meet at an annual Town Meeting where hundreds of voters have their votes anonymously counted in seconds with our TownVOTE software.

Benefits of Anonymous Voting

Here are the benefits of anonymous voting:

Voter Freedom

  • Anonymous voting allows people to vote how they want without judgement from any third party. The results of how each individual voted are kept confidential, so participants can vote without any social repercussions.

Protect Against Intimidation

  • In a public vote, participants may be subject to blackmailing, bullying, and other forms of manipulation because of how they choose to vote. Drama in the workplace can be reduced by choosing to vote anonymously.

Eliminate “Herd Mentality” 

  • Herd mentality is the tendency of individuals to think and behave in conformity with others in a group. When someone sees the majority of people voting a certain way, this can pressure them to do the same, causing results to be skewed.
Anonymous Feedback

See how towns like Memphis, TN and their city council use public voting features of TownVOTE electronic voting system to speed up and simplify their business meetings.

City of Memphis, TN

Benefits of Public Voting

These are the benefits of voting publicly:

Transparency

  • While anonymity has its benefits, some organizations prefer the transparency and openness of a public vote. This can promote further discussion about the topic without any information being obstructed. 

Analytics and Reporting

  • Running an anonymous vote can limit the amount of information that you can report on, because the information of how each individual voted is being withheld. Holding a public vote allows more opportunity for analysis, as all information about the vote is disclosed and available for further use. 

Voter Trust

  • Voters must trust the security and integrity of the technology being used. In some cases, secret ballot voting can make fraud and vote manipulation easier. Meridia’s TownVOTE and CloudVOTE software require secure registration for all participants; So you can rest assured that your anonymous vote will be carried out safely and accurately. 

Whether voting publicly or anonymously, Meridia has a solution to fit your needs. To learn more about how you can integrate electronic voting with your organization, contact us. 

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