Innovation: the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods. (Source: Merriam-Webster)
The simple answer to the question, what makes ElectionsOnline the leading innovator, is, well, innovation. But the claim isn’t just puffery. Beyond the claim, some hard examples support the case for ElectionsOnline being the most imitated company in the election business as demonstrated below.
- One competitor—and this competitor is one of the “Big Three,” not a second-tier provider—recently released a press release announcing the ability of their system to base an election off a previous election’s setup. This announcement came years after ElectionsOnline created saved ballot templates to help clients streamline and expedite snag-free election setup.
- Email solicitation, a value-added feature that really has nothing to do with voting, but can piggyback off your election to help an organization acquire email addresses for voters, was introduced to the market shortly after the company’s founding in 2002. At least one other competitor picked up on it and did the same about a year later.
- Integrating the ballot with social media as a way of encouraging voters to encourage other voters to vote? Another example of ElectionsOnline being in the lead.
- I had the pleasure of being a voter in an election hosted by another election service provider recently. The voting instructions on the ballot were so similar to ElectionsOnline’s sample ballot (which predated the existence of the competitor’s system in this case) as to have made me wonder if they just copied and pasted! Admittedly some problems have only a limited number of solutions. Flight for example. Whether a creature’s a bird, insect, or a mammal, they all solve flight with the same solution—wings. So it’s only natural similarities exist between the various election systems that have come on the market since ElectionsOnline’s founding. But there were some differences too, and in this case, the overall “visual digestibility” of the ballot pages made me feel like I was passing through a watered-down copy of the ElectionsOnline ballot!
- I saw another competitor announce on their website earlier this year that their system now supports ballot weighting. Again, something that has been part of ElectionsOnline’s online voting software for so many years I can’t even remember the software not supporting it!
- Self-administration was introduced to the market by ElectionsOnline in 2004. Six years would pass before another major player in the election service space would catch up.
These are just a few examples. And lest you have the impression that I feel ripped off when I see these things, let me disabuse you of that notion. It actually gives me a chuckle since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I’m not sure what’s next, but if history’s any indication, whatever it is, it will come first from ElectionsOnline, because wanting to innovate, and actually knowing how, are two different things.