Online Voting Tools

Faculty and staff have access to CSULB-supported digital tools that can be used for online voting and polling purposes.

Security Considerations

The security of voting results cannot be guaranteed for any of the available tools as it depends solely on the skill, accuracy, and integrity of the election/poll administrators. Each tool requires specific settings to ensure that the data is appropriately managed. Although recommendations are listed on this site, there may be variables and scenarios that have not been considered here that will affect the security of elections.

Selecting a Tool for Your Election

Expand the menus below to learn about the best use, access instructions, security recommendations, and training resources for the tools available at CSULB.

Best Use
Canvas can be used for students enrolled in a course or members of a "Manual Organization" by creating a survey within the Quiz tool.

A Manual Organization is a type of Canvas course typically used by departments, faculty, staff, or student groups to create a centralized place to virtually connect as a community or to offer training to staff and students. Organization courses do not expire at the end of the semester and remain open indefinitely. 

Visit Canvas Course Types for more information and to request a Manual Organization from ATS for your group.

How to Access Canvas Surveys
Canvas surveys are created within the "Classic Quiz" tool. For instructions, visit How to Create a Survey in my Course.

Please Note: According to Instructure, the Classic Quiz tool will be removed on June 30, 2024. No details for a future implementation of surveys has been announced at this time.

Skill Level Required to Administer an Election  
For those familiar with using Canvas, surveys are relatively easy to set up.

If you are developing a Manual Organization for this purpose, a few hours may be required to set up the course navigation, add members (assigned to “student” roles), organize basic content and instructions, and test the survey. Requests for Manual Organizations must be made in advance to ATS and can take up to 48 hours to process.

Voter Restrictions & Election Security
Canvas users must authenticate through CSULB Single Sign On (SSO).

Only those users who have been assigned to the “student” role in your course or Manual Organization can vote. Persons assigned to the “Instructor” role cannot vote.  

Security Recommendations

  • Limit the number of votes a student can submit to 1 attempt:
    In Canvas, students can only submit one attempt per account unless the "Allow Multiple Attempts" item is selected by the instructor.
  • Limit the timeframe when a survey is open:

    Under the "Assign" section, set the "Available from" and "Until date" to limit the survey timeframe.

Anonymity Controls
Create an ungraded survey and check the box "Keep Submissions Anonymous" to make it completely anonymous.

Training Resources
Visit "How do I create a survey in my course" for more information.

Best Use
Poll Everywhere is a versatile application used for creating a wide variety of interactive polls such as multiple-choice, clickable images, upvoting, ranking, short-answer, and scales. Polls can be launched during presentations or classes to engage audiences. Poll Everywhere is integrated into Canvas for ease of grading and other functions, but it can also be used outside of Canvas. Participants can also respond to polls in the cloud using mobile devices or web browsers. 

Participants are not required to be present during a meeting or class to participate in a poll. Polls can be taken at a later date by using a link provided by the creator (however, the voting security may be compromised in this instance since the link can be shared. 

How to Access       
CSULB users must activate their Poll Everywhere accounts through CSULB Single-Sign-On by selecting the Poll Everywhere icon.

If using Poll Everywhere within your Canvas course, follow the instructions on the ATS Poll Everywhere support page to create activities that can be shared with students or organization members (Learn more about creating a Manual Organization course in Canvas). 

Skill Level Required to Administer an Election  
Setting up and using Poll Everywhere is relatively easy for those familiar with creating online quizzes and surveys. It is recommended to spend at least one or two weeks getting familiar with the program and testing your poll (referred to as “activities) before an election. 

If using Poll Everywhere in Canvas, allow additional time to set up your course or organization site if not already established.

Voter Restrictions & Election Security 
Users must pass through the CSULB Single-Sign-On (SSO) authentication system when using Poll Everywhere in Canvas. The person assigned to the “Instructor” role must set up and manage polls within the Canvas course or organization and those enrolled can vote (the Instructor cannot vote). 

Security Recommendations

  • Limit the number of votes to prevent multiple submissions by the same person:
    Set up the poll so that each participant can only respond up to one time in the "Response Settings" section of your activity.
  • Set a timer:
    You can set the timer or schedule a time for your activity to be locked. Do this by following this guide or setting up your activities to deactivate after a certain amount of time.
  • Reduce opportunities to share the poll/link with someone not in the group:
    While there's no way to prevent voters from sharing links, there are ways to prevent it by setting activities to be restricted to registered participants only.  This requires users to log in and you'll be able to track who has signed in. Alternatively, admins could run an attendance-type poll with a question that only someone in that group can answer (ex: What color is my shirt?). Setting a time limit on it will also make it harder to share links and respond in time.

    Users can also change their username before every poll so that the participation link is different each time.

Anonymity Controls
Anonymity in Poll Everywhere lets the audience respond to your activities without revealing who’s who to you or anyone else. Once anonymity is enabled for an activity, it cannot be undone. The change is permanent and there is no way to identify the participants.

Visit the Poll Everywhere site for more information:  Anonymous Responses

Data Reporting 

  • Real-time results can be shared with participants during or after presentations or classes. 
  • Participants can view the history of their responses within their Poll Everywhere accounts.

Training Resources

•    ATS Poll Everywhere support site

Download this fillable Qualtrics Election Checklist [PDF] to help guide you.

Best Use
Qualtrics is best used for surveys, research projects, registration forms, and online application forms.

Qualtrics can be used to conduct online elections when the proper security settings have been enabled by a trained administrator. Consider a Qualtrics project as your ballot, a Qualtrics question as your poll, your Qualtrics contacts list as your electorate, and you as the Election Official with an election committee. 
How to Access Tool  
Go to CSULB Single-Sign-On and select the Qualtrics icon. Your account is activated immediately upon this first login. 

When you reach the “All Projects” landing page of your personal account, you can begin creating new surveys (referred to as “Projects” in Qualtrics). Training is recommended before attempting to build a survey. 

Skill Level Required to Administer an Election  
To use Qualtrics as an election instrument, an administrator needs significant training and experience to ensure that questions and security controls are correctly set up. 

There is a learning curve to get started with Qualtrics due to its complexity and range of features. Qualtrics offers a wide range of training programs, including both on-demand and live sessions.  It’s recommended that new users spend at least one month training, building, and testing before launching a survey for an important election. 

Voter Restrictions & Election Security
To improve election security, the following settings are recommended when creating a survey/form/ballot:

  • Use “Contact Lists” to send an email invitation/ link to the electorate. The invitation should include a warning not to share the email, as each link is unique; if another person clicks the link and submits a vote, no one else can use the link again, including the original invitee.
  • Enable the “Anonymizer” option so that even the Qualtrics administrator cannot associate individual voters with their votes.
  • Select “Prevent Multiple Submissions,” to restrict to one ballot or vote.
  • Set a time limit/survey expiration so that voters cannot access the ballot after a certain date.
  • Ask voters to save receipts/proof of vote which can be set up to offer as a PDF file at the end of the survey.
  • Sending reminder emails: When sending reminders to those who have not voted, be sure to use the “reminder” option and NOT to use an additional invite email.  Sending additional email invites allows voters to vote more than once. 

 Anonymity Controls
Using the “Anonymizer” option, ballots can be configured so that even the Qualtrics administrator cannot associate individual voters with his/her cast votes.  See the Qualtrics Election Checklist [PDF]

Data Reporting 
Election results can be prepared using the Qualtrics Reports feature. Reports can be shared at the time the election is closed and a preliminary results report can be sent to the electorate (all in the contact list, including those who did not vote). 

Training Resources
Visit the Qualtrics Basecamp site to access on-demand and live training sessions.


Best Use
Polls are available for Zoom Meetings or Webinars. Zoom Polls can be used for informal elections when decisions will be made among meeting participants only. Polls can be set as anonymous and results can be downloaded during or after the meeting. Participants can respond to polls using the Zoom app on their mobile devices.

Webinars must be requested through your department’s Tech services. Contact if you have any questions about hosting a Zoom webinar.

How to Access 
Polls must be created in a “Scheduled Meeting,” or in your Personal Meeting ID. Before you can create polls in Zoom, first confirm it is enabled on your account:      

  1. Select Zoom on CSULB Single-Sign-On to access the Zoom web portal. 
  2. Select the “Settings” link on the left panel of your Zoom profile page (expand your browser if you do not see it).
  3. Make sure you are on the “Meeting” tab at the top of the page (highlighted in blue).
  4. Scroll about halfway down the page to the “Meeting Polls/Quizzes” option. Make sure option is enabled (the toggle switch should be blue). If a verification dialog displays, choose “Turn On” to verify the change.
  5. After Polls are enabled on your account, follow these instructions: Polling for meetings  (Note: There are separate instructions for adding a poll in the web portal vs. your desktop app -so be aware of which one you are using).

Skill Level Required to Administer an Election  
Setting up and launching Zoom Polls is a simple process that does not require extensive training for the average Zoom user if following the instructions at Polling for meetings. A few hours of practice and testing should suffice to be comfortable with the process.

Note that only the original meeting host can edit or add polls during a meeting. If the host or co-host role is transferred to another user, that user will only be able to launch polls already created.

Voter Restrictions & Election Security 
The following settings are recommended to improve election security: 

  • Anonymity:  When creating a poll, click the triple-dot button, then the “Anonymous” check box to make the results anonymous in the meeting and in the report.
  • Waiting Room:  Enable the waiting room with careful attention to its options to control and verify who is joining (Note: the waiting room feature is not available in webinars). 
  • Required Registration: Use the built-in meeting registration feature to monitor who signs up and confirm their voting eligibility.
  • Passwords: Require attendees to use a password you provide to join the meeting.
  • Video On:  Require voters to have cameras on to confirm identity during the poll or survey.
  • No Do-Overs:  Do not re-launch a poll within the same meeting (Note: If a poll is relaunched in a meeting, the poll report will only display the last poll occurrence. If you know you will need to launch the same poll twice and want both sets of data, consider creating a second poll with the same questions as the original to avoid relaunching).

Data Reporting 
Polling reports can be generated during a live meeting or after the meeting has ended (note: the host must have Zoom version 5.4.7 or higher to generate live poll reports). The polling report (if not set as anonymous) contains the following information of registered participants that answered a poll question:

  • Username and email address
  • Date and time they submitted their answer
  • he poll question and the participant's answer

For more information and instructions, visit this Zoom support page: Meeting registration and polling reports

Currently, the Zoom polling tool is accessible to people who use assistive technology, as well as those joining the meeting with an updated web browser. However, it is not available to people joining a Zoom meeting with a phone.

Include a question on your registration form to ask if participants may need accommodation and find a suitable alternate for that person to participate in the election.

Training Resources

  • Visit the ATS Zoom support page for general tutorials, tips, and best practices.
  • Check out the ongoing Zoom Live Training Webinars, hosted by Zoom, for users at all levels. Recordings of the training sessions are also available.
  • If you have any questions, contact or visit the ATS Virtual Support Zoom Room to speak to a team member.