Email Announcements are Changing

October 5th, 2023 by David Simms

Categorized as: Product Development

Email Announcement Changes

A change has been made to the Skypunch system that effects large, private sector clients. In this context, large is defined as any organization with 5,000 or more voters and the change is that the system will no longer send email announcements and/or election reminders to voters during the election. This does not have any impact on any of the other emails that are sent to voters such as their ballot access link (sent after each voter makes a request for it) or the ballot confirmation email. Those are considered transactional rather than promotional and there is no change with those. The following explains why this change is necessary.

In larger associations the electorate feels more distanced from the leadership than in smaller organizations. The more distanced voters feel, the less they are likely to care to receive any emails informing them about an election for that leadership and the more likely they are to mark any emails pertaining to it as spam. That’s a problem. Skypunch emails are sent using the same underlying technology as that used by Amazon whenever you make a purchase and receive confirmation of that purchase. That technology, called Simple Email Service (SES) from Amazon Web Services (AWS) is extraordinarily good at ensuring emails reach a recipient’s inbox. One of the reasons it is so good at what it does, it that AWS goes to extreme lengths to maintain a positive sender reputation across the IP address range that is used by SES. By using that same technology in the right way, Skypunch is essentially able to piggy-back off of AWS and enjoy an equally positive sender reputation.

The key words above are “in the right way” and sending emails to voters on behalf of clients that may or may not have performed any double opt-in screening of their electorate beforehand can cause the complaint rate to exceed .1% of all emails sent which puts the Skypunch account under review by AWS. Exceeding .5% means the ability for Skypunch to send emails at all will be shut down.

As stated earlier, this pattern of emails triggering complaints tends only to be problematic with organizations with 5,000 or more voters. As luck should have it, those are the same organizations with IT personnel on staff that understand how to use in-house bulk email tools and in fact, many such clients are already sending the initial email to their voters themself. This change only means that they will need to also do the same for any follow-up reminders. Knowing who and who not to email is unchanged. Simply download the voter roster from your account and apply the filter to only include voters who have not yet voted to identify those that should receive a reminder at the mid-point of an election.

Personalize email

Personalization involves more than just opening an email with the recipient’s name. It also means taking care to include the voter’s email in the link to the ballot. This impacts usability and means voters do not need to type their own email into the email field of the ballot entrance page. It also guarantees that a voter with multiple email addresses does not enter an email address that will not be recognized by the system and thus, not regard that individual as an eligible voter. Including a voter’s email in the link is as simple as including ? at the end of the link. An example might be:

<a href=””>Vote now</a>

Visit 3 Tips for Linking to the Ballot for other ways of personalizing the landing page.

Best Practices

Be sure to check out 6 Tips for Crafting Election Emails for further pointers on crafting effective email.