In times of COVID-19, reliable tools are needed to make meetings, conferences and events that previously took place offline feasible online as well. One particularly important question that many companies, clubs and associations are asking themselves right now is: How can we conduct anonymous votes online without sacrificing data protection or security? If this question also is one of your concerns, this article is the just right for you!
An anonymous or secret ballot means that the vote - depending on the institution, usually in the context of a general meeting or meeting - is conducted in writing, i.e. with concealed ballots. In principle, there is no statutory regulation for associations that requires votes to be conducted anonymously. However, the situation is different if the articles of association contain clear instructions on the form of the votes, according to which they must be conducted anonymously, or one or more members have requested a secret ballot, which the general meeting has approved by simple resolution.
Whatever the situation in your case: These principles should be strictly observed, as the wrong form of voting can lead to the invalidity of all resolutions passed.
Many meetings cannot be postponed indefinitely, which is becoming more and more of a problem due to the Corona pandemic - either because it contradicts the association's statutes, which require a general meeting every twelve months, for example, or because important votes and decisions are delayed as a result. Previously, virtual general meetings were only possible if this was stipulated accordingly in the articles of association. Fortunately, current legal changes now allow all companies, clubs and associations to hold virtual meetings and assemblies online with a full quorum - which means that voting may also be conducted online. However, depending on your needs and requirements, you will need a solution for this that can be customized accordingly. Questions you should ask yourself when choosing a suitable tool and planning your first online voting are:
An anonymous vote can be held at the same time as a meeting or gathering, in advance by having those eligible to vote submit their vote to the board before the meeting, or independently of this meeting. The advantage of having both take place simultaneously is that you can discuss the issues related to the vote immediately after the vote has been conducted. This way, you receive the results in real time during the meeting and can therefore incorporate them directly into the meeting. In addition, you ensure that all eligible voters cast their votes at the same time, so no one forgets or misses the deadlines for voting.
Not all participants are necessarily entitled to vote in every vote. If this is the case for you, e.g. because you have non-voting guests in a meeting, you should make sure that you choose a tool that allows you to unlock or lock certain members or participants for certain votes. Otherwise, this can lead to a great deal of chaos and, in the worst case, invalidation of the vote if non-voting guests have mistakenly cast their votes.
The advantage of a virtual general meeting is that the participants do not have to sit together in a room. Instead, they meet digitally in a video conference. We recommend Zoom, which our Virtual Event Platform also works with, and via which numerous tools can be easily integrated.
Together with our partner VOTR, we have developed a tool that is perfectly tailored to your individual needs. The voting tool can already be integrated into MATE's Virtual Events Platform in order to conduct as many anonymous or open votes as you want at any time during your meeting or event - GDPR-compliant and equipped with state-of-the-art encryption technologies so that your data and that of your participants is secure at all times.
Regardless of whether all participants are equally entitled to vote or not: you as the meeting leader select those entitled to vote via the platform with just one click. The voting can take place simultaneously to your event and the votes and results can be transmitted in real time - of course absolutely tamper-proof with a time stamp.
Thus, with the Virtual Events Platform, from now on, any type of meeting, where joint decisions have to be made by voting, are also possible - simple, without physical presence in a meeting location.
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