Avoiding Vote Loss in Compo Systems

Rationale for reaching optimal demoparty voting percentage and quality.



Problem: Only 55-70% of visitors vote, and many prods are left blank by voters.

Goal: 100% voting, and each voter actively voting for each prod.

Plan: Prevent vote loss and voters not voting, and promote active voting for all prods.


Where can votes get lost?

1. Delayed voting encourages passive voting for only a few prods, and is prone to voters forgetting or mixing up prods.

2. Delayed all-compo voting at the end of saturday evening encourages voters going to bed instead of voting, and those who do hurry to do so because of the queue behind them or are very intoxicated when they do.

3. Systems that rely on HTTP-post submit WILL lose some submission. This is a known fact from websites with much better hosting.

4. If the system is web based, foreign visitors may hesitate to vote due to roaming charges.

5. If the system is a web on an internal network, various OS versions might not recognize the network. Also, voting via a 3G/4G only device is ruled out completely.


Voting during compos using paper forms or email forms sent to mobile phones. Both eliminates the need for setting up voting systems completely, both on the web and at the party, saving that time for the organizers.

A. Paper forms


Fixes 1 thru 5 above. Paper forms lose the fewest votes, because an x in a box on a paper is so easy and fast. And the only way they can get lost before they reach summarization/display is if the voter doesn't hand it in.

Organizers must print forms, then scan or enter the votes, but this is irrelevant to the goal of reducing vote loss.

B. Email


Fixes 1 thru 5 above. It eliminates network problems and even allows network problems on the only requirement, a 3G connection, without failing or losing a single vote. Also eliminates errors due to vote counting system failure; at any time there can be a recount in seconds. No database or database connection required. No browser based system required.


Voting during compos saves time for orgas, because they don't need to prepare screenshots, and eliminates voters forgetting or mixing up the prods, and reduces the risk of voters not voting at all between or at the end of compos.

Email vote forms can be voted on with a mobile phone almost as easily as with paper and pencil. It doesn't require printing or scanning. It saves voters' time by not having to find an available voting terminal and login, enter all the votes, etc. It saves organizers' time by not having to set up such terminals at all. The vote counting system has very modest system requirements, unlike current web-based voting systems that require the database server, web server, and party WAN access to work flawlessly throughout the counting (and voting) process.

There is nothing that prevents using either A or B in conjunction with current systems, f.ex. if the voter arrived late, missed a compo, or doesn't have an email-capable mobile phone or computer with him. Of course, any device capable of checking his email would eliminate the need for dedicated voting terminals, and he could vote any time he liked during or after the compos.


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