The Southern Co-operative

Case Study

The Southern Co-operative

ERS introduced some of the innovative new ERSvotes digital services to the traditional Board member elections.

Electoral Reform Services have had a great working relationship with The Southern Co-operative for over 10 years. In 2016 ERS introduced some of the innovative new ERSvotes digital services to the traditional Board member elections with great success and a significant uplift in participation

What we did:

Introducing electronic communications to an election process requires careful planning and preparation. In addition to the traditional printed ballot pack communication, which includes information allowing members to return their vote electronically, there was a large email despatch of electronic voting instructions.

Featuring on both the paper and electronic voting processes was the opportunity for members to provide or update their email addresses allowing for electronic only communications with some members in future ballots, this will reduce the associated costs of print and postage.

Supporting the ballot administration we also introduced the new ERSvotes​ platform. This is a dedicated election website hosting all relevant election documentation. The platform also allows members to nominate themselves via an online form (although The Southern Co-operative did not use this function this time around), review videos (there was an election address from the Chairman as well as video statements from candidates), post questions to candidates and then review their responses, share to social media and of course vote.

This new platform provided Southern Co-operative members with the most informed and user friendly digital election experience yet.

What were the results?

Following the introduction of online nomination and voting options within the ERSvotes platform we received an unprecedented increase in participation levels, a few key statistics are set out below:

  • 67 member submitted questions and candidate responses
  • Increase in voter turnout by 77% compared to 2015 results

What our client thinks

The new electronic platform created in close liaison with the team of analysts at ERS prompted a huge increase in member engagement online which was one of our chief objectives this year. It was reliable, user friendly and the whole election experience from initial email to reminder emails and platform was fully branded so promoted The Southern Co-operative amongst members.

Our Q&A forum which ran throughout the election period was far more successful than we had anticipated and inspired members to get involved in their Society. We received a wide range of questions which made the candidates think hard about their views and stance on a number of subjects important to members. Overall it was a more interesting and engaging process.

Next year, we would hope to repeat the process again and encourage even more members to have their say.

Southern Co-operative