Unions refine internet balloting
An internet-based ballot carried out by the CWU communications union indicates that the polling method could be particularly successful for specific groups of union members.
The union's first internet ballot - over a proposed change in terms and conditions of a group of 267 members - produced an unusually high turnout of 72%. Nearly 92% voted in favour of the proposals, which include a shift to a 36-hour week.
Assistant secretary Bill McClory told the union's magazine: "When you compare the 71.9% turnout to turnouts of around 21% for the executive elections and just under 50% for NewGRID, it's clear this experiment has proved extremely successful." He said other advantages included speed, ease of counting and cost savings associated with printing, paper and postage.
Under the e-mail voting system, organised by election.com (formerly Unity Balloting), all members entitled to vote were first sent a special pin number to their workplace e-mail addresses. Any wrong addresses were therefore quickly picked up by the e-mail "bounceback" facility, ensuring a 100% accurate voter list before electronic voting forms were sent out.
McClory said that "more e-mail ballots are certain to follow" but he stressed that at present internet polls could only be used for groups of members where the union is certain everyone has their own e-mail address at work.