Are your elections coming up? Are you planning to hire a private election service? Hiring a nonpartisan, independent election service allows organizations to conduct a transparent, impartial election. It also lets your cooperators/shareholders know you care about the integrity of their elections. The problem is, how do you find an election service and what questions do you ask?
An enlightened management team is essential to this process. The more information you have about your organizations electoral process and the electoral system in general the easier it will be to hire an outside organization.
Hiring a private, independent service is just like anything else. In order to get the most out of the service it would help to ask the right questions. Believe it or not, price is not the first question and it is not the most important. It is said `You get what you pay for' but that does not mean because you are paying more you are getting more.
To determine what you are getting you have to know the right questions to ask. These questions have to be based on your needs, your bylaws and the rules governing elections.
First and foremost you need to know what it is that you are trying to accomplish and then make this information known to the service you are interviewing.
Secondly, you need to find out if the electoral service can accomplish these tasks and how they plan on going about it.
Thirdly, you have to make sure there is a room for flexibility. All cooperatives/condominiums are not the same so the organization you hire has to have solutions to your specific problems. Some problems are taken care of just by hiring on outside organization, other problems might run a little deeper and they might only be common to your coop/condo.
Knowing what you are trying to accomplish and in what manner is essential. You have to make this clear to any organization that you hire and that organization should be able to tell you if it can be done or not (physically, legally and morally) and if they can how they plan on doing it.
A good Election service should not use cookie cutter ideas. They should be more flexible (within reason) and they should be able to provide suggestions or solutions to problems.
The rules governing elections take care of certain problems at the outset, other more specific problems will have to be dealt with by the electoral organization itself and this can be accomplished with some forward thinking.
Running a safe and secure election for your particular organization means the election service has to take the time to find out what your needs and concerns are. Even if it is price you have to make that known or they wont be able to help you. You never know until you ask.
You also have to know what your cooperators/shareholders wishes are. For the most part they want to know that their elections are being run fairly. As a bonus when they come to vote they want to be treated as human beings. There are certain rules and regulations they will have to follow that might be different from what they are used to but these are put in place for their protection.
Certain procedures are just plain illegal and although it might seem logical and it might not look like a problem, there are certain things that can't be done. A reputable election service will tell you if your idea is lawful and if it isn't they will try to find a way to get the same results without breaking the law.
A good private election firm will be flexible (within reason) and should provide you with different ways of supervising your election. This isn't a one size fits all proposition.