Digital Ballot for Toastmasters Contests

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The digital ballot replicates the experience of filling in a traditional paper ballot for judging a Toastmasters contest but streamlines the process for contests conducted online. As a test, you can try the digital ballot demo for a fictitious contest.

Taking advantage of the fact that computers are good at doing math, the digital ballot helps judges tally the scores for each speaker and speeds the process of tallying the votes once judges have submitted them.

As a judge, you will receive an individualized link for each contest you are judging. The link may be password protected for judges who have user accounts on the club website. Also, the order in which the contestants are presented on the form mirrors the speaking order set by the contest organizers.

Here’s a sample ballot.

The process for filling in the sample ballot goes like this:

  1. Enter the scores for each measure of speech quality. You can either type in a number or use the up/down arrows.
  2. Click Show Ranking to make the app do the math and show the best speakers, according to how you scored them.
  3. Enter your first, second, and third choices on the voting form (tie breaker should rank all contestants) and submit.

This process is illustrated below.

Note that the automated ranking is only a guideline. As with the paper form, the scoring system is designed to guide judges toward applying consistent criteria to their evaluation of each speaker. The judge must ultimately decide which contestants to rank first, second, and third, breaking any ties and making any other judgement calls.

To complete the ballot, you must type your name in the Signature blank (similar to the way many online businesses ask you to execute a paperless contract). You will get an error if you try to submit your vote without filling in the Signature field.

If everything worked properly, you will get a confirmation like this. Within a few seconds, that message should update with the message “Votes received on the ballot counting dashboard.”

Confirmation message

If for some reason your vote was not recorded correctly, the chief judge or ballot counters may ask you to click that Resubmit button. It doesn’t allow you to change your votes, but it will post them to the server a second time.

As a judge, you do not have access to the vote counting dashboard, but as each judge votes, the Chief Judge (and others he or she provides access), will see the votes come rolling in on a screen like the one shown below. Once all votes, including the tie breaking vote, have been received, this screen will show the final results.

Chief judge’s dashboard

Additional Procedures

The Chief Judge and other contest organizers may impose additional requirements, for example having the ballot counters verify the votes with each judge. This document is not meant to override their recommendations.

Author: David F. Carr

Contact me at 954-757-5827 or david@wp4toastmasters.com