ElectionsOnline provides the ability to send email announcements to voters on the opening day of an election and reminders during the course of the election to those who have not voted. If you use this feature, you can and should also take advantage of the failed email report that becomes available 24 hours after the initial mailing. This report will show you exactly which email addresses are no longer in use and should be purged from your records entirely. To access this report:
- Login to My account at ElectionsOnline.
- Click the Manage Email link associated with your election.
- Click the “Get failed emails” link.
The report contains a list of all emails that failed delivery. Sometimes these failures are just temporary as when the recipient has an out-of-office auto-response set on their email. In other cases, where the failure is permanent due to the email address not existing, you should take measures to purge those email addresses from your own master records. Master records does not mean the roster loaded into ElectionsOnline, but rather your own database where that email address is permanently stored.
Here’s why. Repeated attempts to email a non-existent email address look very “spammy” to email systems and can damage your reputation as a sender. Through ElectionsOnline’s partnership with SocketLabs, the leading email relay service, attempts to send email to non-existent email addresses are suppressed so as to preserve ElectionsOnline’s positive reputation as a sender of bulk email. But outside the scope of your election, you will do your own reputation as an email sender a favor by taking measures to purge your records of known bad email addresses.
While this is a nice feature to have, it shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on to identify bad email addresses. Data hygiene like this should be an ongoing exercise for any organization. Any tool used to manage email campaigns (e.g. Constant Contact or MailChimp just to name a couple of the more popular ones) has the ability to provide you with the same type of non-delivery report with the ability to distinguish between temporary and permanent failures. Use it to do your sender reputation a favor and increase the likelihood of those on the receiving end of the good email addresses actually receiving your communications.