When worrying about compromised elections, it’s a safe bet that what doesn’t enter a person’s mind is elections in the corporate world.
But corporate elections – usually involving shareholders deciding on the directions of large businesses – are just as susceptible to error as those in the public sector. In fact, without a system such as the bureaucracy in place to ensure the accuracy of national, state and municipal elections, it could be argued that elections in a corporate environment are even more in danger of inaccuracy.
According to an article in the Valparaiso University Law Review, this fact was highlighted in 2008, when, in a crucial vote to determine control of Yahoo Inc., a shareholding fund asked for a review of the heavily one-sided election results in favor of the incumbent board members. The review concluded that the votes had not been nearly as heavy in favor of the winners, although in the end the election results were unaffected.
Still, the incident shed light on concerns about the accuracy and security of the corporate voting process. The corporate world had already experienced a comparable situation in 1993, where a vote tabulation company was accused of not counting “just vote no” ballots in a campaign against Paramount Communications.
But companies and shareholders do have another option – the electronic voting process as managed through specialized software and equipment, completely forgoing the use of paper ballots at all.
Such systems remain secure and free from outside manipulation by using a closed-loop radio frequency that requires no internet connection. In shareholder voting situations, respondents can submit only a vote of yes, no, or abstain to any questions put forth. Perhaps best of all, results are instantly tabulated, with no waiting for ballots to be fed through scanners or cumbersome and time-consuming hand counting.