A member in our Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook asked about mailed ballots, aka U.S. mail ballots, aka snail mail ballots versus emailed ballots or other electronic communications for ballots.
Before I share my take… Let me say that I am not an attorney — and this is an attorney question because it has to do with nonprofit organization voting laws, and all states handle these sorts of questions differently.
That being said…if the laws of your state allow for you to switch over from paper to electronic forms for voting (for things like your annual meeting votes or for other initiatives that are legal like by-law changes and things of this nature), I would certainly suggest you move that way.
Benefits to Electronic Voting
Electronic voting will make your life much easier. First. you won’t have to print out and mail the forms. That takes a lot of man hours. Also, it will be much cheaper. A program such as Google Docs will allow you to create forms that will tally the totals for you. The switch will save you time and effort as well as simplify your life.
Having said all that, I suspect that most states don’t allow 100% electronic voting for nonprofit organizations. If your state has a hybrid policy where you can have some electronic but you also have to mail it then you could do something to where if a member doesn’t have an email address, she could get a fax and if she doesn’t have a fax, you could drop the ballot in the mail.
But again, this all comes back to your own state’s laws and I wouldn’t be surprised if some people reading this are in a state where you must still have any kind of legal, annual vote — whether it’s by-laws or board member elections — done in person or by US mail.