Sometimes all it takes to vote in an election administered by the American Arbitration Association is a cell phone or computer. Gone are the days of mailing ballots, paying for postage, printing and relying on the US postal service. While traditionally most election balloting is done by mail, today’s consumer is always looking for lower cost and greater efficiency. The Department of Labor has been ambiguous in its support for online voting for officer elections so at this time we do not encourage anything other than mail balloting or in-person voting for that type of election.
However for all other types of voting such as contract ratifications, by-law changes, co-op board elections, religious organization elections and others there are some new and innovative techniques being used very successfully by the AAA. We have developed a highly sophisticated, reliable, and secure online voting system with confidentiality as a key target. A voter enters a secure online portal, and is prompted to provide two PINs (Personal Identification Numbers)—the first PIN correlates with his/her social security number or employee ID and the second PIN is a control number set by the AAA. All incoming data is then encrypted from a voter’s browser to web browser for accurate tabulation and efficient results.
Another secure avenue is telephonic voting which is gaining popularity amongst the cost-conscious voter. Similar to online voting, the AAA has perfected an easy-to-use process implemented in over 150 elections since its inception in July 2000. A voter dials into the AAA’s secure, automated T1 digital telephone system and is prompted by an interactive voice response to enter two PINs. An Oracle database then records, confirms, and tabulates the results for each election. The AAA’s system is capable of handling thousands of calls per hour with all the security protections of voting by mail (e.g. confirmation of a voter’s personal identity, single vote per voter/voice, accuracy of tabulation, etc.).
One of the newest technologies we are using is touch-screen voting. The AAA’s touch-screen voting functions akin to a bank’s ATM and is thereby easy to use, providing immediate election results (e.g. within minutes of the polls closing) without further calculation. This is particularly beneficial when polling occurs at multiple locations, disposing of the cost and need to bring ballots to a central location for count and tabulation. We offer a voter secure, private access to a machine that removes the fear of lost votes or spoiled ballots (e.g. a ballot ruined beyond use, a ballot with an under vote where a voter leaves a selection of the ballot blank, or a ballot with an over vote where a voter casts more than the maximum number of selections) with a reliable paper trail when needed. One drawback is that touch-screen voting is often more expensive than telephonic or online voting.
All these innovations in technology bring voting to the 21st century. At the AAA, we are at the helm of such progress as we oversee a diverse portfolio of elections in telephonic, online, scanning and touch-screen voting mediums which keep pace with the digital world and simultaneously provides the client with greater efficiency and cost savings.