Arizona Update – Electronic Ballots Legal at Last

Arizona nonprofit corporations with voting members can finally use electronic ballots. HB 2592, which becomes effective on August 6, 2016 (Effective Date), amends A.R.S. §10-3708 to allow the delivery of member ballots through an electronic voting system. It is important to understand this change does not apply to director votes which do not have a written ballot option.

Requirements for Written Ballots

In Arizona, nonprofit corporations that permit members to vote by electronic ballot will still have to comply with all of the existing requirements for written ballots. Those requirements include:

  1. providing an opportunity to vote for or against each resolution;
  2. a statement regarding the number of votes required to meet quorum and vote requirements; and
  3. the time by which the ballot must be returned which must be at least 3 days after delivery.

Nonprofit corporations with large numbers of voting members, including trade associations, churches, and homeowners associations, often choose to conduct votes by written ballot but struggle with the paper ballot process. A.R.S. §10-3708(F) simplifies the member voting process by allowing member ballots to be delivered through an electronic ballot voting system as follows:

What the Online Voting System Does

After providing notice that complies with subsection G of this section to members that a vote shall be conducted by electronic means, a written ballot may be delivered through an online voting system that does all of the following:

  1. Authenticates the member’s identity.
  2. Authenticates the validity of each electronic vote to ensure that the vote is not altered in transit.
  3. Transmits a receipt to each member who casts an electronic vote.
  4. Stores electronic votes for recount, inspection and review purposes.

For the technology challenged, the amendment also added new Section (G) which requires nonprofits to offer alternate procedures to obtain and cast ballots such as by mail or fax.

Arizona nonprofit corporations with voting members can expect to save time and money by implementing electronic voting. To implement electronic voting, nonprofits will have to work with a third party electronic voting platform. Third party vendors that offer electronic voting platforms include: ezVote, Nvotes, eBallot, Election Runner, and Simply Voting. Before contracting with a voting platform, Arizona nonprofits should ensure the system meets Arizona’s electronic voting system requirements.

Ellis Carter is a nonprofit lawyer with Caritas Law Group, P.C. licensed to practice in Washington and Arizona. Ellis advises nonprofit and socially responsible businesses on corporate, tax, and fundraising regulations nationwide. Ellis also advises donors with regard to major gifts. To schedule a consultation with Ellis, call 602-456-0071 or email us through our contact form.

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