Electronic voting in Universities

More than 70 percent of Italian universities use electronic and online voting through the Eligo solution, covering different types of elections, from the choice of rector to student elections. The advantages are immediate authentication, automation of identity checks, and fast counting, which save considerable time and resources.

More than 70 percent of Italian universities use electronic and online voting. Among the latest is the Politecnico di Milano for the election of the new Rector on November 10, 2022.

Back in 2017, Eligo developed a dedicated solution for universities to cover all statutory voting in presence, online or hybrid form. These range from student, Academic Senate, and CDA elections to those of course presidents and elections of department heads and chancellors. Today, electronic and online voting is a daily practice in universities that are increasingly a vehicle for innovation in digital democracy.

Claudia Troiano, Eligo’s contact person for elections at the universities, tells us about it in detail.

Let’s start at the beginning: what do universities vote for?

Elections held in this sphere take place on a great many levels. Starting from the elections of the Rector, which affect the entire University, as well as student elections for central and peripheral organs (including the phase of submission of lists and candidates), to more sectorized and internal elections within each organ, such as Department Directors, to the elections of individual presidents or coordinators of courses of study or even the votes held within the councils.

How many universities vote with Eligo?

According to MUR data, there are 97 university institutions on the Italian territory, of which 67 are state universities, 19 legally recognized non-state universities, and 11 legally recognized telematic non-state universities. More than 70 percent of the 97 Italian universities vote with Eligo.

How do Universities use Eligo?

Universities can use Eligo to carry out any type of voting and even the stages preceding them such as the list and candidate submission stage, for which we have a specific platform. The modalities are also multiple and flexible. In fact, thanks to the dedicated solution, Eligo Portal, universities can take advantage of integrations such as SSO, which is useful for enabling secure and fast authentication for telematic voting, while maintaining sectoriality and ensuring that the privacy of the various bodies is respected.

The ability to also deliver credentials via e-mail or to enable voters at polling stations allows for hybrid or entirely in-person elections, setting up physical stations for the voting phase but maintaining the security and speed of a digital vote (such as immediate polling). Some Universities choose to use Eligo fully autonomously, while others choose the Full Outsourcing mode, outsourcing all phases, from set-up to polling, to Eligo.

What features do they most appreciate and what are the advantages of online and electronic voting in universities?

Certainly an advantage of the Eligo solution dedicated to universities is the integration that allows access through university credentials, enabling immediate authentication for both faculty and student staff, even in the case of elections with significant volumes such as Student elections involving tens of thousands of voters and hundreds of bodies. In addition, the possibility of automating identity checks and compliance with regulations regarding, for example, the list-signing phase without having to intervene with manual and burdensome checks.

Finally, a big advantage is that which concerns the counting and counting phase, which in Eligo takes place completely automatically and in very fast times, starting from a few seconds for smaller votes to a few minutes for larger ones. This allows many universities to conduct live polling with the student body, even immediately after the polls close. When we talk about student elections, as anticipated, these are votes involving hundreds of bodies and even tens of thousands of students, so automating these processes ensures significant savings in terms of time and resources and minimizing errors due to human intervention.