A conversation with Hilary Bublitz, Association Director Mill Creek Community Association
Running a community association this size comes with a plethora of challenges.
Mill Creek Community Association is a large HOA with 1595 single family homes, 622 condominiums, 269 townhomes, five apartment buildings, and over 3600 residences in all. Running a community association this size comes with a plethora of issues, not the least of which is elections for a board of directors and other key officers. For Hilary Bublitz, this traditionally meant sending out thousands of envelopes and ballots to residents throughout the calendar year. That all changed with COVID-19.
“Coronavirus was a catalyst for change,” says Hilary. “During lockdown, the Senate passed bill 5011, which allowed all community associations to conduct meetings and elections online”.
Business as usual was now impossible for this diverse community where fewer than half the population could be considered digital natives. Nonetheless, Hilary needed to find an election partner that could adapt to very trying circumstances by offering both offline and online voting options.
Working with Votegrity had multiple benefits.
For Hilary, working with Votegrity had multiple benefits. First, Votegrity freed her from labor-intensive election cycles that required eight volunteers to stuff envelopes, open ballot envelopes, and, finally, tally votes that are manually entered into a ledger. It was an enormous burden that used to take over three weeks, but what choice did she have?
What took weeks now takes minutes.
Very few positive things can be said about the Pandemic, but here’s one: Since engaging Votegrity, Hillary is no longer locked into labor-intensive and extremely tedious election-related responsibilities that monopolize her time. She’s now free to be more productive and to focus on the needs of her community while an objective third-party election partner that manages the entire end-to-end process and reliably tallies up votes behind the scenes.
Minimizing the environmental impact of online voting.
She can also feel good about minimizing the environmental impact of online voting by dramatically reducing envelope and paper consumption. In fact, since working with Votegrity, Hillary estimates she has saved 50 lbs. of paper and a significant amount of money on envelopes and postage with each election.
Online voting isn’t just a new alternative. It’s actually turning out more voters.
Residents are now more inclined to participate in the process. Engagement is way up. Hilary notes that nearly half of all Mill Creek residents vote online today: “Just a few years ago, getting 300 responses from residents was considered good. Now we have 900!”
Asked if she would ever go back to voting by paper, Hillary was unequivocal:
“Let’s see … one way is faster, cheaper and completely accurate. The other buries me in paperwork for weeks.” With a smile, she added, I think we all know the answer to that one.”