Walkthrough


This guide serves as a start to finish walkthrough of running an election through electrr. It starts with creating an election, and covers everything from adding roles and candidates, to generating results.

First steps

The first step in running any election is to either sign up for an account, or log in to one if you have one already. Signing up is easy, at electrr.app. Simply click log in or sign up at the top right, and enter your details. When you sign up for the first time you'll need to verify your email address, please make sure to check your spam folder if you can't find the email.

After logging in, you'll need to scroll down and find the box titled Create an election. When choosing the name for the election, consider the following:

  • It will be the subdomain people access your election through (for example my-election.electrr.app)
  • It can only contain letters, numbers, and hyphens
  • It must be unique
  • It's probably better to choose a name that describes your election, such as the name of your group or organisation
  • You can have multiple roles inside of each election, and so the name shouldn't indicate a specific role (electrr unlimited only)

Once you've created your election, you'll get a message at the top of the page to let you know if it was successful. You might get an error message here - usually because someone else has already taken that name, or because you included a character that isn't allowed.

If you were successful, you'll see a message telling you that you can log in. Click that link, and you can use the same login details as you set up earlier. Your email address will be your voting code, and your password will be your security code.

{primary.fa-info-circle} If you update your password later on, it will not update across sites. Eg if you change your password to electrr.app, your election login details will not change, and vice versa.

System Data

{primary} Access the admin dashboard at any time while logged in by clicking on your name/username in the top right and then clicking 'Admin Dashboard'

Once you've logged in to your election, you should see a page that tells you there aren't any open elections, and that's fine because we haven't set any up yet.

Before we create roles and candidates, there are some base settings to configure. Access the admin dashboard for your election by clicking on your name in the top right, and clicking Admin Dashboard. Only users with access to this area will see the link, and anyone who tries to get in without access will be redirected to the home page.

Once you're on the dashboard, you'll have the opportunity to change your login details, which you can go ahead and do if you'd like. We'll assume you're happy with those for now.

Click on Update System Data, and you can change the name presented to voters (this changes what gets displayed in the top left corner), and a few other details. More information on each setting is available in the Setup guide.

All electrr elections are required to have a privacy policy. You can either update the link at the bottom of each page to point to your own privacy policy, or enter the text to be displayed on the electrr provided privacy policy page.

There's a space at the bottom of every page where you can display a small block of text. This is useful if you need to add a disclaimer, contact details, or an imprint to your election.

For electrr unlimited users, we're going to turn on Allow nominations now, but this is entirely optional.

With that set up, we're going to go ahead and add our first role to be elected.

Add Roles

Once our election is set up, it's time for us to add a role to be elected. electrr unlimited allows you to hold elections for several roles simultaneously, and they're all set up in the same way.

Access your admin dashboard like we did before, and click on Add new election.

You'll be asked to provide some basic information about the role, such as a title and an optional description. The description field uses markdown to support rich text, and there's a toolbar at the top to help you format this.

You'll also need to provide the number of seats - that is to say, the number of candidates to be elected - and open and closing times for voting.

Voting open and close times must be in UTC, and will determine whether voters are shown elections. If a voter attempts to access the voting page for an election which isn't open, they'll be redirected away with a message telling them that voting isn't open.

If you're running multiple roles, there's no obligation to make the open and close times the same, but this might make sense from a view of encouraging turnout.

You get to choose whether voters should preference candidates, or just choose their favourite. We love STV elections, but 'one choice' voting works great for things like referendums or decisions, as well as elections.

At this point you can choose to make Reopen Nominations (RON) a candidate in the election. If you enable this, it cannot be turned off later. You can choose to enable it later if you don't now.

electrr unlimited users who chose to enable nominations in the system settings can also enter the open and close of nominations, or leave those boxes blank to disable nominations for this role.

You can edit these details at any time by going to your admin dashboard and clicking on the name of the election.

Once you've entered those details, click on Create election, and it'll ready for candidates!

Nominations

Before we talk about adding candidates directly to elections, we're going to talk about nominations. The nominations system is only available to electrr unlimited users, and allows potential candidates to submit their own details during a window defined by you, so that you don't have to collect these details separately and enter them in.

Make sure nominations is turned on in your system settings, and set up the open and close of nominations for each role. Again, there's no obligation to use the same dates for each role.

Once that's done, anyone can access your-election.electrr.app/nominations to submit a nomination. There's no obligation to log in, which means you can encourage nominations before distributing voting details.

Potential candidates are asked to provide their name, photo (optional), manifesto (optional), and an email address in case you need to contact them.

At any point, you can click on the name of a role in the admin dashboard, and view candidates who have nominated themselves under Pending Candidates (it won't show up if there aren't any).

By clicking on a candidates name, you can see the details they provided, and choose to approve them. You can also change their image or manifesto if necessary. Once approved, they're no different to any other candidate, and their email address will not be displayed.

Add Candidates

To add candidates directly, access your admin dashboard and click on the role you'd like to add a candidate to.

Scroll down and click Add candidate, and you'll be asked for the candidates name, manifesto (optional), and photo (optional).

You can edit a candidates name, manifesto, or photo after adding them by going back to the role, and clicking on their name.

If you need to withdraw a candidate after adding them, you can go back to the role, click on that candidates name, and check the box next to Check box if candidate has withdrawn. They will no longer be presented as an option to voters.

Add Voters

Now that we've got a role to be elected, and some candidates to vote for, it's time to add our voters.

All voters in electrr have a voting code and a security code. The voting code acts as a username, and the security code acts as a password. They're generated randomly when adding voters, and electrr unlimited has no limit on the number of voters you can add.

To add voters, go to your admin dashboard, and click on View and add voters. You can see a list of existing voters, or export a .csv file of these details to use in a mailmerge or similar.

If necessary, scroll down and you'll see a box labeled Number of users to create. Enter the number of voters you need and click on Create. Please don't click this more than once as you might create more voters than intended.

Adding large numbers of voters can take a while, so please be patient. If you need to add a very large number of voters (in the tens of thousands), you can email contact@electrr.app and we can add these voters for you. You're welcome to use the online form as well, it just might take a while.

electrr unlimited users can choose to add voters by email address. From the same page, you can enter a list of email addresses separated by semicolons and electrr will create login details for each email address, and email these out to voters.

Please note that we specifically allow duplicate email addresses in case of multiple voters sharing an email address, so you need to ensure your list is accurate.

Again, please be patient while voters are added, especially if you've provided a very large list of email addresses.

Use of the direct email feature is subject to additional charges; we currently charge £1 per 1000 emails sent using the feature. If your organisation already has a mailing system we recommend mail-merging voter details as a cheaper (or free) alternative.

Generating Results

We now have roles, candidates, voters, and (hopefully) some votes cast, so it's time to get our results.

electrr provides two ways to access your results - you can either download a file of all votes cast (anonymously), or calculate and view results directly in the browser,

To access results, go to your admin dashboard and click on the name of the role. To calculate and view results, select your counting method (your organisation may have a specific counting system to use, or we recommend Scottish STV and ERS97STV), and click on Generate results. electrr will count your votes, and display the result for you. Please note that where there are multiple winning candidates, they are listed in order of being added to the database, and not in order of votes.

To export your results, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Download .blt file. The file produced can be used in software such as OpenSTV to verify results, or can be manually viewed by candidates and voters.

The End

That's a walkthrough of how to conduct an election in electrr, but we didn't touch on all of electrr's features. There's more detail available in the feature guides (lsited in the menu to the left), or you can discover more by playing around. If you have any issues with using electrr, you can submit a support request through electrr.app or by emailing contact@electrr.app