Frequently Asked Questions

Most questions you may have regarding Anonyvoter can be answered here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Who should use Anonyvoter?

    Anonyvoter can be used by any organisation that wishes to conduct secret ballots remotely where voters want to be sure their votes are anonymous.

    Scroll down to see the step-by-step guide and videos to how to use Anonyvoter.

  • How does Anonyvoter Work?

    The person controlling any poll sets up an account, sets up a vote event (a meeting or a period of voting), and sets up any polls that need to take place.

    These polls are sent out by e-mail to eligble voters, who receive a link to click to take them to a simple voting screen.

    Each voter votes accordingly. The poll administrator can see the progress, and when everyone has voted, or after the allotted time, close the poll.

    The poll administrator and any nominated observers will then see the result of the poll, and can share the results.

  • How is anonymous voting ensured?

    Each person who votes is sent a random unique code to their e-mail address. As part of the voting process, the link between that code and their e-mail address is deleted, ensuring that their vote is totally anonymous.

    The poll organiser can only see results and numbers who have voted at any time. At no time during the process can they see who or what anyone has voted for until the poll is closed, at which point they can see the results and nothing else.

    While the poll is in progress the poll organiser and any observers set up can see who has and has not voted so far (but not what they have voted for)

Step-By-Step Guide

Firstly you must register if you haven't already, or log in if you have registered.

Adding a Vote Event

A vote event can be a single poll, a meeting where one or more polls takes place, or a series of polls with the same voters and timeframes.
To set up a vote event, you just need to enter basic details (voters, dates and instructions) about how the polls will operate.
You can also set up observer e-mail addresses who can monitor any poll and see the progress and results, but cannot do anything else (unless they have also been added as a voter).

Adding an e-mail group

This step is optional but recommended if there is a list of voters that you usually use. You can set up an e-mail group when you create a vote event, or if you prefer you can set one up in advance as shown below.

Creating a poll

A poll (also known as a ballot or election) can be set up easily. Ideally polls should be set up in advance, but in Anonyvoter polls can be set up or amended during Vote Sessions if necessary.
There are 3 types of polls:
  • First Past the Post (FPP) - everyone votes for one (or sometimes more) candidates, the candidates with the highest number of votes wins.
  • Alternative Voting (AV) or Instant Run-Off (IRV) - using this method, voters rank one or more of the candidates in preference order (they can give a preference to all candidates if they choose). The system will automatically run a series of rounds where the candidate(s) with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. Any votes for eliminated candidates are passed onto the next preference candidate who hasn't yet been eliminated until a winner is reached. See for more details.
  • Single Transferable Vote - losing candidates are eliminated in a similar way to the instant run-off, but also any candidates who exceed the threshold for guaranteed victory will have the proportion they exceed it by passed onto each next preference candidate for those who voted for the elected candidate. Anonyvoter's STV calculations are by default based on the ERS97 system, but options for Scottish STV, Minneapolis STV and others are available. See Vote Types for more details.

When setting up a poll, you need details of the type of poll, number of successful candidates, names of candidates / options, and whether you want to start and end the polls one at a time (e.g. if the vote must follow a presentation or debate), or all in one e-mail. Details can be changed any time before the vote is started.

First Past the Post

AV - Instant Run-Off
Single Transferable Vote

Running the Poll

Polls are started automatically at the vote event start date / time if this option has been selected. E-mails are sent out to all voters containing a unique link when the poll is started, unless you have chosen to do this beforehand.
The examples below show how you start a poll manually if this option has been chosen.
You (and anyone who you have set up as an observer) will able to see how many people have voted and are yet to vote, and if you choose, see who has and has not voted.
When voting is complete you can finish the poll. The results will be shown on screen, and can also be exported as a PDF results sheet (showing any voting rounds for the more complex types of poll), a PDF ballot papers file (one page per vote) or a CSV export of all votes. All votes exported are of course anonymous and are exported in a random order.

First Past the Post

AV - Instant Run-Off
Single Transferable Vote

E-mail Not Received

Occasionally somebody may not receive an e-mail containing the link to vote for a number of reasons. It may have been sent to their junk or spam folder (so they should check there), but also their e-mail provider may be slow or have blocked the e-mail. They may also have given an incorrect e-mail address.
If this happens, you can generate a code that can be sent by another means or read out over the phone to the voter. They can then use this code to vote instead. When this has been done, it will be shown on the progress screen.
When a separate code has been generated and the person has voted, if the e-mail subsequently comes through the system will not allow a second vote, they can still only vote once.

What each Voter has to do

Anonyvoter has been designed to be very simple for each person to vote.
Each person will receive an e-mail with a unique link to cast their vote. They can do this on any reasonably modern PC or mobile phone. They just click on the link and are presented with a screen to cast their votes.
The screen is designed to look similar to a ballot paper.
IRV / STV Voting
Voters have to rank candidates in order of preference. They can do this just by clicking the button against each candidate in their preference order (and if they make a mistake they can clear all preferences and start again). Or alternatively they can use the keyboard to type in their preference order against each candidate. The system will check that their preferences are valid, sequential and not duplicated.
IRV / STV - Option 1
IRV / STV - Option 2