Notes from May Council of Clubs Meeting

Online Voting


Thanks to everyone who contributed before, during and after our May meeting to provide valuable input for Online Voting for clubs.

Thanks to candidates and electeds:

and Doug Case on behalf of Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins:

The Council discussed four methods of Online Voting (link to the details), and a straw poll confirmed that voting with traditional email was the least preferred.

The two most preferred options were:

  • For a quick, non-critical vote - the Yes/No function in Zoom moving voting members to a pre-assigned breakout room if necessary

  • For a formal, auditable vote that supports different voting methodologies including Ranked Choice and Single Transferable Voting, and is more inclusive of the full membership -

General advice:

  • Accessibility is a tenet of the California Democratic Party and it’s important that clubs publish dial-in numbers for meetings so that members without computers or smartphones can easily join

  • Allow enough time at the start of meetings to credential members, regardless of which method is used for voting

  • Zoom Waiting room can be used while credentialing members

  • Create pre-assigned Zoom Breakout rooms before the meeting, based on emails

  • Zoom Breakout rooms can be used to ‘step outside’ and talk with a member during a meeting

  • If possible have multiple co-hosts to address issues that arise during a meeting, don’t try to do it all yourself

There were various concerns raised during the meeeting, that were addressed:

  • Breakout rooms are included in the Zoom Pro plan, but have to be enabled in settings

  • OpaVote doesn’t have a configurable option for No Endorsment. This is not an issue for when it is being using in a Zoom Meeting with code voting for multiple rounds of voting, per Robert’s Rules of Order. For Ranked Choice Voting in a meeting or by email, a No Endorsement candidate can be configured, but rather than use the OpaVote defaults (that could allow this pseudo candidate to be removed) instead the raw data could be downloaded and counted using the club’s rules for eliminating candidates, allowing No Endorsement to always be an option, or the round elimination to be halted if no candidate reaches a minimum threshold.

  • OpaVote doesn’t automatically support super majoirty e.g. 2/3 thresholds. Again the threshold limits and methods for elimination of candidates (San Francisco RCV, Oakland RCV) can be configured for each club’s endorsement rules by downloading the raw data available from OpaVote.

  • If OpaVote is used for voting by email how to insure that all members received and responded to the ballot? OpaVote provides details on emails delivered, bounced, opened and if the member(s) voted. Reminders can be sent via OpaVote every 3 days to members who have still to vote. The secretary or coordinator of the vote could also contact members by other means to remind them. This is little different than members not reading an email giving them notice of an upcoming vote. [Not mentioned at the meeting is that OpaVote uses SendGrid for email delivery, and is likely to be more reliable at delivering emails than other methods used by clubs.]

  • [Not mentioned at the meeting: OpaVote provides an API for retrieving election results, so very specific voting methodolgies can be configured, if required.]

The Council took a few quick OpaVotes, and there was one schocking result:

Many thanks to the Club Development Committee members for quickly meeting (on Mother’s Day!) to draft these online voting recommendations.

Please let anyone of us know if you have more questions, or need more help in configuring any of these options.

We finished the meeting with a brief discussion of the proposed Bylaw changes to be discussed and voted on at the Central Committee Meeting on Tuesday May 19, 6PM.

Slide presentation here. Please review and join the Zoom meeting for discussion.

If you missed the meeting you can still watch it on our YouTube channel with Closed Captioning and a searchable transcript.

Reminder: we need every club to let the Party know of changes to meeting details, newly elected officers, and bylaws - online form here. Please send us updates for the Party calendar to include your Zoom registration and dial-in phone number.

Next Steps

The Chair and the Committee will draft language for clubs, to act as a Safe Harbor rule for conducting online voting. This will not prohibit clubs from using alternate methods, but other methods will need to be discussed with the Committee before validating an Associate Member endorsement recommendation for an Area meeting.

Thanks for all you are doing at this calamitous time (see Detailed Results above).

Cheers, John Loughlin

Director of Clubs | | (619) 302-4751 |