About Voter Registration

What is it?
Voter registration allows you to restrict polls to authorized voters, and ensure that they only vote once.

How do I use it?
Enter up to 800 email addresses in the box on the form (more can be accommodated upon request). Each email must be on a separate line, in the form name@domain.org. There can be a comma afterward. The email addresses will only be used for confirmation of each vote. For email-based authentication, you will need to announce the poll on your own, but DemoChoice will generate a form letter that you can send. Key-based authentication is more secure, and we will send out announcements for you, but you will not have as much control over the timing of the announcement.

What if my poll has multiple questions?
You should only enter your email list for the first question in a sequence. For subsequent questions, put the label of the first question in the "accept voters from" box on the setup form. This way, you have fewer voter lists to maintain, and your voters will only have to enter their email address or registration key once.

A separate necessary task is to connect the questions by indicating the label of the next poll question in the series in the box for that purpose on the form.

If you have subgroups for some questions, such as an election of district representatives and then of an executive office for which everyone votes: enter the executive poll label in the "next poll" box in each district, and enter a comma-separated list of the labels for each district in the "accept voters from" box for the executive poll.

You can include voters from a previous question while also adding voters for the new question. Put the new voters in the list box, and then put the labels of both that poll and the previous question in the "accept voters from" box.

You may want to ask before trying anything really complicated with a large voter list.

How does email authentication work?
Voters are required to enter their email addresses in order to cast a vote. If a voter is authorized and has not voted yet, the vote will be counted, and an email confirmation is sent. You should make sure that each email address corresponds to a unique, real voter.

How does this prevent fraud?
It prevents multiple votes from the same person, and detects and traces impostors so that damage can be corrected. This will be sufficient if there is sufficient trust within your group. If you have many voters who you don't know well, you may want to consider key-based authentication.

How does key-based authentication work?
Each voter gets a unique alphanumeric key, essentially eliminating the possibility that someone could vote on someone else's behalf. DemoChoice can send email announcements to your voters including these keys, but for security each poll requires review by a human before we allow large numbers of email messages to be sent by our server. Be sure to include your full name on the setup form because this will be used in the signature of your announcements. Please contact us promptly after creation of your poll if you have special instructions regarding when these announcements should be sent.

You should also separately announce the poll to your voters, asking them to look for a message containing a link to a ballot. If voters complain that they have not received a link message, but others have, ask them to check their spam folders.

What will you do with my voters' email addresses?
Voter addresses are used only to confirm votes. Your address information will be used only with regard to your poll.

What if I have a mix of paper ballots and online votes?
  • Without voter registration: By default, your poll features a delay to block votes from the same computer. If you've entered an email address with your poll, this feature can be disabled by setting the delay time to zero. After this, you can enter as many votes as you want. It's wise to reimpose the delay once you are done.
  • With voter registration: Just enter your poll's password on the ballot as the key or email address and you can cast multiple votes. In this case it's convenient to use your browser's "back" button so you don't have to retype the email address (assuming you have a cooperative browser).

What happens when my poll expires?
No new votes will be accepted as of the beginning of the day of expiration, according to the server's clock, which reads 12:42 as of the loading of this page. After that, anyone may cast a vote to see who it counts for, but the vote will not be added to the tally. The poll will be subject to deletion two weeks after the expiration date.