The ElectionsOnline voting system may be configured to send emails to voters on the start date of an election informing them that voting is open and providing a link to the ballot. For years clients have had the ability to download a report of any emails from that mailing that went undelivered. That has now been replaced with a report showing full engagement. “Full engagement” means:
- When all emails were sent.
- When all emails were delivered.
- When an email was opened.
- When a link in the email was clicked and the destination of that link.
- Any emails that went undelivered and an explanation of why they went undelivered.
In addition to the report showing full engagement, the following are also advantages of this new feature:
- The report may be retrieved from the system at any time with no need to wait 24 hours after a mailing for the report to become available.
- The report may be generated multiple times. This means you may generate it at noon on Tuesday, then again at noon on Wednesday to observe the engagement during that 24-hour window.
- Engagement with any reminder emails is also included in the report. This means if you configure the system to send an email on the start date, then again a week later to those voters that have not yet voted, all of that activity will appear in the report. Open the report (which may be downloaded as a compressed CSV file) using a spreadsheet program and filter based on date to view engagement details for only the announcement email; only the reminder email; or an aggregate of both.
- Once generated, a report is archived in your account and available for as long as the administration links for an election are visible (30 days following the close date of an election).
- Be aware that timestamps associated with an engagement event—sending an email is an example of an engagement event—are in UTC time. Therefore, should you apply a date format to the report using a spreadsheet program, the times that appear in your spreadsheet may not appear as you expect. For example, while email announcements are sent starting around 1:30am eastern time, that could appear as 5:30 in the report because 05:30 is the UTC equivalent of 1:30am eastern (assuming daylight saving time is in effect).
- Depending on the spreadsheet program you use, it may regard the timestamp as a string of text rather than as an actual date object. Therefore, to perform meaningful filtering and ordering on that column, you may need to apply a date filter to the values in order to be able to really use it as a date.
- You may find that a spreadsheet is not the best tool for the job. Remember this report captures everything. Everything could include when an email was sent, delivered, opened, links were clicked. An email could be opened multiple times so a single piece of email could have many engagement events associated with it. If your voter roster is large, and you send the maximum of three emails per election, and each email has numerous events associated with it, the engagement report could be so large by the end of the election that it is just not real responsive when viewed in a spreadsheet. If that is the case, remember that the report is simply a CSV file and may be loaded into a database instead of a spreadsheet for improved performance.
- Take advantage of this! It is hurtful to any organization’s reputation as an email sender to send email to addresses that do not exist. Use the report to identify emails in your own system that are going undelivered so you may remove them and improve your own organization’s reputation whenever you conduct a mailing, and also to help improve ElectionsOnline’s reputation—which of course helps get your election related emails delivered when you conduct an election.