Director, Media Relations Communications
Evoting Gets a Chance
Timothy Annin is chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Election Standing Committee. He is a trial attorney with Wardell, Craig, Annin & Baxter in Haddonfield. He spoke about the recent vote on a bylaw amendment about membership on the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
Q: This was the first time the association has tried electronic voting for a bylaw issue. How did it go?
A: Roughly half of the people who voted did so electronically and half voted on regular paper ballots.
Q: Did you vote electronically?
A: I did.
Q: Why did some people choose paper ballots?
A: There are some people who still don’t have the necessary equipment, but I suspect in this day and age their numbers are few. In this election, there was no way of telling if those people cast their vote on a paper ballot because they preferred it or something else. Maybe that would be a good question to put on a future ballot.
Q: Are electronic ballots still confidential?
A: Yes, members use their member ID numbers to access their ballot, and the only information received by the association is the final vote tally, not who voted and how.
Q: What are the benefits of electronic voting?
A: It certainly is the way to go. It’s easy. When people go through emails they can respond quickly and effortlessly. No more read the ballot, put an “x” on it, make a mistake, change the mistake and stick it in an envelope. We are trying to encourage people to use that kind of voting. It represents a tremendous savings for printing costs and mailing costs and the like. Once the word gets out and people become more familiar with electronic voting, we’ll get high participation.
Q: Is there a future for electronic voting in the association?
A: That’s kind of up to the Board of Trustees. From our standpoint we recommend it as the way to go and would like to see the concept expanded.
The New Jersey State Bar Association is the state’s premiere voluntary lawyers group. It is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public and to reforming and improving the legal system. It encourages involvement in voluntary pro bono activities and supports the fair administration of justice. Incorporated in 1899, it is the state’s largest lawyers group. Visit the Association at www.njsba.com.