New Election FAQ


On July 1, the ANSG Board indicted that a new election for the Board would be held.

Who's making up the rules?

This document is my attempt at outlining how an election could be run for the ANSG Board. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the ANSG to determine how the election will be run. I hope that these ideas are a starting point for those discussions, and encourage everyone to think through the process, ask questions, and look for possible problems.

Below I often say "will" etc, but of course it's up to the ANSG to decide how they will run things.

- Hugh Chipman (juniorwoodchuckhuey)

Who can vote?

According to the by-laws, you can vote if you are a geocacher who lives in NS and you have attended at least 1 meeting of the ANSG.

Note that people cast votes, not geocaching accounts. So if several people cache under 1 geocaching account, they each could have 1 vote (if they live in NS and have attended a meeting).

How will the election work?

I suggest we use the OpaVote website to carry out an online election. This is a website designed specifically for elections. It's used by various nonprofits (e.g. Scouts Canada and the Statistical Society of Canada). An ANSG election is likely to cost $10US to run.

From the OpaVote website:

An Election proceeds as follows:

  • the manager provides the details of the election (title, candidates, etc.),

  • the manager specifies the list of voters (by email addresses or a list of codes),

  • the manager starts the election,

  • OpaVote sends an email to each voter (or the manager distributes codes to voters),

  • voters cast their votes,

  • the manager stops the election and sees the election results, and

  • the manager can optionally publish results to allow voters to see the results.

(Although the website mentions "codes", these are likely to be used only as a backup in cases where 1 email address is shared by 2 voters)

How will the election be different from previous elections?

Each voter gets a personalized link to their online ballot. Typically an OpaVote election is run over several days. This provides time to resolve any issues, such as voting invitations that are not delivered. It also gives time to send reminders to those who have not voted yet.

What controls are in place?

By constructing a voters list in advance, we will be able to ensure that each eligible voter only gets a single vote.

The election manager has a position of trust:

  • the manager uploads the list of voters.

  • the manager can add voters during the election.

  • The manager has access to the counts of votes, as well as individual ballots (but not the name of the person casting a secret ballot).

For these reason, I recommend that at least 2 people (preferably 3) be given "manager" access to the election system. Shared oversight will help ensure a fair election. This could be set up as an election committee.

Will my vote be secret?

This is an option. Although not a requirement, my opinion is that the vote should be secret.

How do I know if I'm on the voter's list?

We will either publish the names of voters or contact everyone who is currently on the voters list.

There will be meeting(s) before the election begins, where attendance is taken, so that people have an opportunity to be on the voters list.

The ANSG doesn't appear to have attendance records for all past meetings.

I share an email account with another person on the voter's list. How can the two of us both vote, if emails are used to identify a voter?

The system has several options to ensure this. You should notify the manager of the election and a solution will be worked out.

Why couldn't we just use a "pro" version of surveymonkey?

  • A pro version would fix the problem of a limit on the number of votes counted.

  • However, I don't think SurveyMonkey has controls to limit people to a single vote. For example, if you use 2 devices to visit the voting / survey link on SurveyMonkey, you can vote twice.

What results will be published? Just the names of the winners or the vote counts?

This decision is up to the ANSG, and should be agreed upon before the election begins. I could imagine that the candidates might prefer to not have their vote counts reported (popularity contest?).

Can we try it out?

Yes, we could set up a trial election if the membership would like it. This could be done before we have a complete voter's list, or under conditions as close as possible to a "real" election.