The Green Party – Leadership and executive election 2016
This article takes a look at the Green Party leadership and executive election in 2016, specifically highlighting successes in reducing the environmental impact of an election and facilitating excellent levels of dialogue and participation.
Electoral Reform Services administered over 3,000 election projects in 2016. We are proud to work with all types of organisations and electorates; projects ranging from small community ballots with less than a hundred voters, to Building Society AGMs with over a million voters, all requiring a tailored approach.
2016 was a remarkable year for national (and international) democracy, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States, an Italian referendum that became a confidence vote on the Prime Minister and an Austrian election that saw the Greens narrowly edge out the far right in the race for the presidency. Closer to home ERS assisted its Local Authority clients with a huge year for elections. As well as Mayoral elections which saw Sadiq Khan elected in London, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections were administered and of course the EU referendum ballot.
ERS also work with all of the main political parties, assisting with ballots including leadership elections.
Key Project Features
Democracy requires a staggering amount of paper, at the Election Centre alone, we handle tens of millions of print items every year. We know through our work with Modern.gov (part of the ERS group) that councils can print millions of items of paper each year creating agenda packs for committee meetings. The modern.gov paperless meeting solution can significantly reduce the amount of paper required and therefore the cost of meetings, one of our clients saves over £50k per annum by using the modern.gov service.
Political parties, as with most private organisations have the option of conducting their ballots electronically. This of course reduces the amount of paper and printed materials required, as well as fewer delivery vans on the road. The Green Party chose to ballot the majority of their members online, saving both money compared to the same project if conducted purely by post, as well as the environment.
Electronic ballots present new opportunities for engagement and participation, as well as challenges in reaching sections of the electorate, who may not be used to receiving election information via an email, or website, or through social media. ERS is aware of the challenges online voting can pose to some voters, and strives to ensure that every voter has the ability to cast their ballot confidently and as easily as possible. Whilst, it is certainly not true that online voting in itself will improve voter turnout, it certainly provides you with a much wider range of options for casting your vote.
The Green Party asked ERS to build an election platform (a mobile optimised election website) which hosted all the ballot information; from taking online nominations, to presenting candidate statements and videos, even offering members the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. The platform received a fantastic level of participation, with 30 member questions posted.
The use of the ERS election platform gave voters a centralized resource where they could easily locate all the necessary information surrounding the election, be that key dates, supporting documents or candidate statements.
What ERS thinks?
ERS can provide an extensive suite of digital tools, which can facilitate a rich online election experience. However, the real success of an online election is down to a combination of technology and a well planned and executed communication plan. Working in a close partnership with organisations always yields the best election results, we are proud to work with the Green Party and the election results achieved in 2016.
We were thrilled to help the Green Party achieve a record turnout for their leadership and executive elections in 2016 and look forward to building on that success in the years to come.
Luke Ashby – Digital Consultant
What The Green Party thinks?