1/2/2020

Director Election Voting Issue Explained

Posted In Community

Dear KICA Member,

The Kiawah Island Community Association launched voting for the 2020 Board of Directors Election on Friday, Dec. 27. Community members were emailed (or mailed if requested) their ballot information, which included the number of votes allocated for their property, and for some members this number may have been incorrect.

Before the vote allocation issue was discovered, 240 members voted in the election. 219 members successfully cast their ballot with the correct allocation of votes for their property. Their votes are valid and no action is needed. 21 members cast their ballot with an incorrect allocation of votes. The 21 ballots with incorrect vote allocations are invalid and have been removed. Each of these members will be contacted individually, provided with correct voting information and encouraged to recast their ballot.

The association has now verified the correct allocation of votes for all voting members. Going forward, for anyone who votes online at kica.us/vote, your correct number of allocated votes will automatically populate.

Additionally, for those who have not yet voted, a voting reminder will be sent today by email from our ballot processing partner, Vote-now.com, (or mailed if your ballot information had originally been mailed), so that you can view your correctly allocated number of votes before casting your ballot. Further, Vote-now.com sends a confirmation email after your vote is cast, and it contains a link that permits you to view your completed ballot at any time.

We deeply regret this error and apologize for any inconvenience.

A second unrelated voting issue occurred in the first hour of voting on Friday, Dec. 27. Our balloting service provider Vote-now.com shared the following explanation and apology: “At the opening of the KICA vote, the early voters (15 in total) may have encountered errors on the names listed in the ballot preview or ballot confirmation page. This issue has been resolved and we apologize for this error that may have caused some confusion for the voters. The actual ballots were not impacted and were successfully submitted.”

This election started with some difficulties, but we are confident in the integrity of your voting information and the election.

Please take some time to learn about your candidates or attend Meet the Candidates on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 at 4 p.m. at The Sandcastle, and then cast your ballot to elect board members who you believe will best represent your interests and protect your Kiawah investment. You have until Jan. 30, 2020 at 5 p.m. to cast your ballot.

Sincerely,

The Kiawah Island Community Association

 


 

Timeline and Resolution of Balloting Issue

DEC. 30, 2019

5:15 p.m.

– 240 members had cast their ballots.
– While reviewing a member question about voting, it is determined that there’s a potential problem with the allocation of votes.
– KICA Staff begins the process of verifying vote allocations on all 3,846 ballots.
– Staff also instructs its voting partner, Vote-now.com to suspend online voting until the problem is resolved.

7:28 p.m.

– Vote-now.com shuts down voting

DEC. 31, 2019

6:30 a.m.

– KICA staff resumes ballot by ballot review of vote allocations
– KICA determined that 21 ballots already cast had an incorrect number of votes assigned to them. The other 219 had the correct allocation.¹
– As a secondary control measure, staff cross checked the database information (property type) to the spreadsheet, to make sure there weren’t errors in the database relative to property type, and none were discovered.

¹The number of votes assigned to each ballot is a manual process (see detailed explanation below²) as KICA’s current database does not provide a way to store each property’s vote total and export directly to the third-party vote processor. Instead, the voters and their property type are exported to a spreadsheet, with appropriate vote totals added manually by association staff. This process is subject to human error, and while KICA deeply regrets that error occurred, we accept responsibility for it and are glad it was caught early.

10 a.m.

– Review of all ballots completed
– Staff develops action plan for resumption of voting:

– Notify Board of Directors of issue and action plan
– Instruct Vote-now.com to take a snap shot of all 240 votes cast at the time the error was discovered, in order to maintain an audit trail
– Instruct Vote-now.com to take a snap shot specifically of the 21 ballots cast with incorrect numbers of votes
– Instruct Vote-now.com to void and remove the 21 incorrect ballots
– Instruct Vote-now.com to remove registration codes for the 64 members with mailed paper ballots and reassign codes to prevent the improper counting of paper ballots
– Provide Vote-now.com with a revised and verified balloting spreadsheet
– Re-open system to voting

2:56 p.m.

– All corrected data sent to Vote-now.com

8:12 p.m.

– Vote-now.com reopens online voting

JAN. 1, 2020

– KICA and Vote-now.com offices closed

JAN. 2, 2020

– Inform candidates and community of issue and resolution
– Vote-Now.com to send voting reminder emails to all members who have not voted
– 21 voters with incorrect and voided ballots to be contacted with new voting codes
– New ballots mailed to the 64 members who had requested mailed voting information

Ballot Preparation Process

²Explanation of process for preparing ballot information to be transmitted to third party voting partner (whether Vote-now.com or other):

STEPS:

1. Receive excel file of full database from Abacus (KICA member database). Queries run to separate member types (Type A, Acreage, and Commercial) as voting allocations are different for each.

2. Save files as originals and create copies to work from.

3. The database files only identify the property types, so votes have to be manually assigned based on property type.

4. Identify all owners with multiple properties, and customize ballots for each based on their number of properties owned, property types, etc. Copy and save these unique voters to a new spreadsheet. At the same time a “final” spreadsheet is made with a copy and paste of the single owner “type A” properties (both single property and multiple property owners).

5. Similar steps for acreage and commercial properties.

6. The “final” ballot data spreadsheets are sent to Vote-Now.com.

7. Vote-Now.com assigns registration codes to each unique client ID (type A and commercial) and sends the sheet back to KICA to be used in merging the member information into the email sent to each member.

From what we can tell something happened in the merge of the Type A single property owners and the Type A multiple property owners data to cause the sort in the vote allocation column to be off. No other data across columns were out of sync. This caused a complete randomness in the data fields affected. This is a cumbersome process. KICA is in the process of converting to a new, more robust member database, which we anticipate will automate most or all of the ballot data.