Elections make up the foundation of American democracy. State ballot campaigns attract millions of dollars as citizen’s ballot initiatives grow–with issues ranging from legalizing marijuana to raising the minimum wage and from solar energy to education. Getting these initiatives successfully placed on a ballot requires strict compliance with government regulations and an enormous amount of effort by many different types of organizations and a community of supporters.

Even with the pace of today’s evolving technology, many grassroots organizations still collect physical petitions and can be challenged to keep up with the management, processing, and validation of hundreds of thousands of petitions, especially when time is of the essence.

Election Management Solutions, Inc. (EMS), a firm based in Tallahassee, Florida, has spent over fifty years providing services for successful election campaigns, grassroots advocacy, and government representation at both the state and national level. One of their areas of practice and expertise lies in getting initiatives on the ballot.

The Challenge:

Digitizing, Processing, and Delivering Physical Petitions on a Tight Timeframe

EMS was seeking a partner to process, digitize, and then deliver thousands upon thousands of petitions. The deadline was quickly approaching, so the work had to be done in just eight weeks as a result of a previous provider’s inability to deliver on the contract. They also needed reporting on the petitions to analyze key demographics of supporters—specifically, visibility into the level of support for the referendum—to see where they needed additional signatures.

Their specific challenges:

  • Intake, processing, and digitization of a high volume of ballot petitions in a short time
  • Extracting and reporting relevant data from signed petitions
  • Sorting and shipping physical petitions to each county’s Supervisor of Elections

When EMS’ current vendor proved unable to perform the work, EMS focused their efforts on finding a partner that was up to the task. They wanted a partner with deep digital expertise and a proven track record for managing large paper-to-digital projects. Since the petitions are highly regulated, they also needed to ensure compliance and quality when delivering the petitions to the Supervisor of Elections county offices, all efforts necessary to getting their initiative on the ballot. To that end, they needed to team with a company they could trust to do the job quickly and accurately.

The Solution:

How EMS Furthered Their Campaign to Get Their Initiative on the Ballot

Image API’s readiness for the high volume intake, processing, imaging and data capture capabilities ultimately lead to the success of the project. Here’s how they were able to complete the task effectively, and deliver on time:

First, incoming mail was processed and scanned, with key data extracted from the petitions and then reported to EMS. This data helped EMS refine its campaign based on the key demographics of supporters, which facilitated their grassroots efforts.

Image API’s post-imaging processes were also critical. Their staff sorted and shipped thousands of petitions to the appropriate county Supervisor of Elections offices, which was critical in bringing them closer to getting the referendum on the ballot. Image API scanned and indexed the signed petition cards based on the voter registration ID barcode, then provided daily reports to EMS based on the number of valid, signed petitions.

The daily reports were crucial in allowing EMS to know where they needed to direct their efforts for additional signatures in each congressional district. Image API’s solution provided an effective solution for immediate, high volume capture, processing, and reporting on the petitions across the State of Florida.

The Results:

Over One Million Petitions Processed in 8 Weeks by Image API’s Image & Data Capture

Image API’s imaging and data capture solution enabled over one million petitions to be processed in just eight weeks. The project affirmed Image API’s readiness and ability to get the job done on budget, and on time. This specific citizen’s ballot initiative is an ongoing campaign, but Image API’s work helped narrow the gap for EMS.

Insights:

Why The Right Digital Partnership Matters

An experienced digital partner can mean the difference in your organization’s success. When the stakes are high, it’s always good to have a partner you can trust, who has the expertise and readiness to manage a challenging and often complicated digital undertaking.

Image API started out as a scanning and imaging company. Since then, our offerings have evolved to include cloud-based document management software and process optimization services. But we still remember what it’s like to make that first leap from paper to digital. With 25 years of experience under our belts helping organizations move from paper to digital, we’ve gotten used to coming up with innovative solutions for projects of any size.

Want to see more real-world examples of digital transformations? Check out our other case studies!