As you know from articles that have been published in The Wine Press, the Board of Directors has been investigating electronic voting. At its last meeting, the Board approved electronic voting for the 2017 Board of Director elections using a company called eBallot.com.
From a cost perspective, electronic voting and hard copy “snail mail” voting are about a push. Studies have shown electronic voting usually increases the participation in the voting process because it only takes a few minutes and requires a few clicks of the mouse. Getting more members to vote should be viewed as a positive. In addition, it is totally anonymous and the results are available within minutes after the ballot period ends.
Here is how it will work:
1. If you have a single membership and what appears on the surface to be a valid email address, you will receive an electronic ballot. If you do not have what appears to be a valid email address (i.e., your email address of record begins with “fake….”), you will receive a hard copy ballot which you must complete and return. Your ballot must be received by the Chair of the Election Committee no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29.
2. If you have a dual membership with only one email address that appears on the surface to be valid, two email ballots will be sent to that single email address, one addressed to each member. Each ballot will have its own unique log in and password.
If you have a dual membership with what appears on the surface to be a valid email
address for each member, each member will receive his or her email ballot, each with a unique log in and password.
4. If you have a dual membership with what does not appear on the surface to be a valid email address for either member, a hard copy ballot will be mailed to each member each of which will have to be received by the Chair of the Election Committee no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29.
The OCWS is not responsible for bounced email addresses any more than it is responsible for returned hard copy ballots received after the voting deadline. OCWS members manage their own profile and are responsible to insure their email address is accurate.
Here is how the email ballot will work:
You will receive an email ballot from eBallot.com identifying it as being the OCWS ballot. It will have a link to the eBallot.com OCWS portal with a log in and password. Click on the link, enter your log in and password and you will be presented with a list of candidates, their picture and candidate statement. You can then proceed to vote for up to three candidates. Vote for the candidates of your choice, then close your ballot. You will not be able to vote a second time or change your vote. This is no different than using a hard copy ballot. Once you mail or deliver your ballot, it cannot be changed.
Shortly after 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29, the Chair of the Elections Committee will receive a notification from eBallot.com indicating the number of votes cast for each candidate.
I want to emphasize that electronic voting will only be used if there are more than three members who have filed a Declaration of Candidacy within the prescribed period.
We will be submitting the database of qualified members to eBallot.com by Friday, August 25. Between now and then, I encourage you to open your online profile and confirm your email address (and that of your co-member if a dual membership) is correct.
– Jim Beard, President