PA Announces Text Voting

Pennsylvania TSA is happy to introduce SMS (text message) voting for State Officer Candidate positions.  This has been a long time coming for Pennsylvania, but we wanted to be sure we had a system that could handle our needs.  After viewing the SMS voting at the 2012 National Conference and attending the informational session, with some security improvements, we believe we have the ideal system for the membership of Pennsylvania.

Students who are voting will need to attend the delegate meeting held during the candidate speeches.  Only student delegates who attend the meeting will be permitted to vote for candidates. This is the same procedure we have been using for years.  Students will have the option of paper voting or SMS voting.

Thursday night, all voting delegates will report to the candidate speeches.

  1. All delegates must sign in and check whether they are doing SMS voting or Paper voting.  They must have phones with them if doing SMS voting.
  2. Students using SMS to vote will be given an Authorization Code as they walk in the door.
  3. At a given time during the meeting, all delegates using SMS will be required to send a text message with their Authorization Code to our system in order to register their phones.  There will be a two minute window to send the text message. 
  4. The SMS report of Authorization Codes will be compared to the sign-in sheet.
  5. They are now registered to vote.

Friday night, all voting delegates will report to the voting session.

  1. Delegates must sign in and will be separated into three sections: SMS Voters, Paper Voters and Nonvoters (these are people who did not show up Thursday night).
  2. The sign-in list will be verified with previous night’s sign in.
  3. During the voting session, delegates will vote for one officer position at a time. For each position, voting instructions will be placed up on a screen along with the list of candidates for that position. Delegates will have two minutes to vote per position.
  4. After voting is complete, a report will be run to see the results. 
  5. While reviewing the results, a vote will only be counted if it came from a phone that was registered on Thursday. Any results from unregistered voters will be discarded.

Important Notes

  • You can only vote once, and you cannot change a vote.
  • The same cell phone used Thursday must be used on Friday.
  • Only delegates who attend Thursday can vote on Friday.
  • You may not leave to get the phone.
  • You must have your phone charged and working for both sessions.
  • Cell phones cannot be shared. If your chapter has two delegates, they must use separate cell phones.
  • Once you sign up for a method (SMS or paper), you must follow through with it. No exceptions.

Security

  • Polls will open for the allotted time of voting, including Thursday night’s “authorization” session during speeches
  • Response windows will be limited on time
  • SMS codes will be randomized and not published in advance
  • Each poll will give a confirmation to the voter to show their ballot was cast (this is a courtesy and cannot be guaranteed due to cell carrier networks)

All directions will be on the video screens during the sessions.  We thank you for your patience in working with our new system.  We look forward to seeing you all at the state conference!