How to Use RankedVote to Run Multi-Office Elections
What are Multi-Office Elections?
Multi-office elections are where the voter casts votes for multiple positions in a single voting experience. After voting for the first office, the voter is immediately taken to the ballot for the second office. Common examples of elections that use this approach are:
- Elections to fill multiple leadership positions like President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, etc.
- Election simulations that mimic the real thing. Offices could include Governor, Senator, Congressperson, Mayor, City Council, School Board.
- Group decision making on multiple topics
Why Use Multi-Office Elections?
Put simply, it's the most efficient way to get your voters to weigh in on multiple topics using RankedVote. Getting voters "to the polls" is a difficult task — even when your election is done virtually. Once there, it's best to make the most of that engagement with your voters.
Benefits of Multi-Office Elections
- Streamlines voter experience
- More realistically simulates ranked-choice elections
- Saves money compared to separate elections
Follow the walkthrough below to see these benefits in action 👇
The initial steps are no different than creating any other election in RankedVote. Once you sign in, click the purple "Add" button seen at the top of your Elections List. Give your election a name and add the candidates.
Make it "Multi-Office"
Scroll down just below Election Details to upgrade or unlock an election to multi-office. Unlock appears if you have an active subscription. Upgrade appears if you don't.
Afterwards, the page will refresh and your election will be set up for multi-office with new tools to create additional offices and change election-level and office-level settings.
Create Additional Offices
Your multi-office election now shows Office Settings near the top. But, it's not really a multi-office election until you create multiple offices!
To get going on that front, click the "Add another office" link just under the "Office Settings (1 of 1)" header. You'll create a new office and candidates just like when you created the election originally. When done, you'll be returned to the Election Details page.
Repeat the "add another office" step as many times as necessary for your election. The "Prev" and "Next" buttons let you switch between the offices in your election.
There are now two levels at which you can configure your election: Office Settings and Election Settings.
Office settings apply only to that office and include:
- Office Name
Election settings apply to ALL offices in the election and include:
- Election Name
- Ballot Type
- End Date
- Results Visibility
- Random Candidate Order
- Voter Registration
- Allowed Voters
- Deduplicate Results
For the "Leadership Positions" election, let's say there are three offices: President, Steering Committee (3-person), and Treasurer. To make that election work as intended, you'd want to adjust the Winners of the Steering Committee office to "3" and check the Office Name of each office. You could then configure the Election Settings as desired — perhaps changing the Ballot Type to "Grid."
Note: The first office will have the same name as the election's name at the moment you upgraded to multi-office ("Leadership Positions" in the screenshot above). You'll very likely need to edit that office's name to better reflect what voters are voting on.
Promote the Election
With your election configured, you should be all ready to go. You just need some voters!
Promote your election by clicking on the "Vote Link" button at the top of the page. This copies the URL for the election's ballot to your clipboard for easy pasting into other places. Feel free to share with your voters in any channel you please: email, social media, chat, messaging, etc.
The multi-office voter experience differs slightly from the standard RankedVote experience. To better orient the voter, additional information appears on the ballot.
The Office Name (1) appears at the top of the ballot to ensure the voter knows what position is being voted on. The Election Name (2) and Position Indicator (3) appear just under the ballot to let the voter know "how much is left to go" in the voting experience.
After clicking submit, the vote for that office is saved and the next office appears. Once the vote for the last office is received, the voter is shown a "Thanks" page with a link to the preliminary results (unless your election has Results Visibility set to "only election creator.")
Note: It's possible for your voters to bail before voting for all offices. Votes are saved each time "Submit" is clicked, so you may see more votes in the results for the earlier elections.
Navigate the Results
The Results page also differs slightly for multi-office elections. Like the ballot, the Office Name, Election Name, and Position Indicator are displayed prominently. To page through each office's results, use the two arrow buttons in the purple summary section.
There is a matching set of arrow buttons and a position indicator at the bottom of the Results page as well.
Double Check Your Candidates Before Promoting
Candidates can be forgotten or misspelled. Multi-office makes that more likely just due to the fact that there are that many more candidates in a given election. So, give the candidates in each office another check before you promote the election to your voters.
Combine with "Final-Five"
The multi-office feature can be used with the Final-Five ballot type to create the most advanced election you can run in RankedVote. The winners of the first round "Primary" for each office will become the candidates for the second round "General."
When it comes to combining these two features, there is a preferred order of operations. It's better to make your election Multi-Office, add the offices and candidates, and THEN set the ballot type to Final-Five. This way, RankedVote knows how many candidates are in each office and can set the Winners for the primary round appropriately.
If you go Final-Five and then Multi-Office, it's not the end of the world. You'll just need to edit the number of winners in the Primary as they'll be set to 1 by default.