Cover Image for OneFeather Reimagines the Digital Voting Process for Indigenous Peoples

OneFeather Reimagines the Digital Voting Process for Indigenous Peoples

Chelsea Josue

7 min read

OneFeather has reimagined the voting process to improve the engagement of Indigenous Peoples in the democratic process in Canada. Changes include enhanced voting experience, accessibility, security, privacy, and marks the introduction of Indigenous digital identity accounts.

The recent changes are an entire rebuild of the voting process - offering a wildly improved and accessible digital voting experience. Before the changes, the way a member voted was a lengthy process, and every time a user voted, they had to activate a new profile and re-verify their identity. With our enhanced identity verification as a part of the OneFeather member's app, users have a simplified voting experience, they create a OneFeather account only once, have greater control over their data, and can access even more services.

Changes include:

1. Improved voting experience

The changes introduce a more linear and easy to follow online voting process. Before the changes, there were a lot of emails back and forth. Knowing where a voter was in the process was challenging for some members. We wanted to make it easy for everyone. We've dialed in the process - simplifying it to make it more straightforward. The process is linear; voters start at one end and finish at the other end by casting a vote.

OneFeather Digital Voting Login

2. Designed for accessibility

Our goal is to make voting easy, quick, and accessible for all users - regardless of technical skills. With the simplified voting process, the changes improve access to digital voting. Changes have also been made to the visual design that incorporates some of the highest standards in digital accessibility - following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We follow WCAG AAA standards for all design and WCAG AA standards for navigation - ensuring the highest degree of compliance that delivers enhanced accessibility and improved ability to vote.

3. Visual refresh We've given OneFeather e-voting a visual refresh! We've made it more visually appealing, in-line with accessibility design trends, and our updated branding. When Indigenous Peoples are voting, we believe they deserve a clean and beautiful experience.

4. Enhanced security We're thinking of the future - enhancing our security ahead of the curve. There were no holes in our security, but we are proactively strengthening it to be a leader in this space. We've made changes that tighten specifications in a way that makes future work even more impenetrable. 5. Introduces sovereign digital Indigenous identity The modifications to the digital voting process do more than enhance the voting flow - it's the launch of our sovereign digital Indigenous Identity tool <insert link to story>, the first and only one of its kind in Canada. Through the OneFeather member's app - we are bringing data sovereignty to First Nations and Métis peoples. Once a member has created an OneFeather account, they can soon access other OneFeather services with the same login details. Voting is the first service offered with this tool. Soon members will be able to access online status card services (renewals and applications), and dedicated Indigenous banking solutions with OneFeather APP and OneFeather PAY. Learn more about Indigenous data sovereignty <insert link to webpage> 6. Increased Privacy The new sign-up flow introduces a progressive level of privacy that Indigenous Peoples deserve. We have made it clear when a member will be sharing personal information with their Nation. Since OneFeather account holders have verified their identity with OneFeather, OneFeather becomes a trusted source for verifying their identity on their behalf - without actually sharing all that information with their Nation. Members have the power to share only what is required: first and last name, date of birth, and their status or member registration number. Of course, members can share more information if desired.

We've entirely rebuilt the voting process. It's really polished. We went through it with a fine-tooth comb. Voters use to be able to start tin the middle of the voting process and for some users there was a lot of back tracking. We noticed it could be hard to figure out what point in time you were at. There was also no account beforehand (had to activate a profile). No username and password, and no way to see your history. Now when users create a OneFeather account they create it on once, vote in a more simple and accessible way, can see their history, and connect to their community with greater ease." - Matthew Lehner, CTO, OneFeather

How Improved Voting Serves Nations

We believe the changes will improve member engagement in the democratic process - both on and off-reserve, enhancing voter turn-out. This is important for strengthening Nation sovereignty. This is particularly important for ratifications, or referendums, that require a minimum voting threshold. There is a greater chance of meeting that threshold when members can engage remotely and when that digital experience is highly accessible. Plus, OneFeather account members can update their information, reducing the concern of outdated member lists and human errors as members are verifying their data directly through OneFeather and automatically updating the Nation.

If you voted with OneFeather before February 2021

Suppose you've voted with OneFeather before and have not created a new OneFeather account. In that case, you will need to open an account and go through the identity verification process. Once you've completed it, you have that account for future engagements with your Nation or to access other OneFeather services. Be prepared for a brand new experience.

Ongoing Improvements

The voting process improvements don't end with this release. We will continue to monitor and audit the interactivity to continue enhancing digital voting for our users. Enhancing Indigenous sovereignty and resilience is essential to our purpose. The more comfortable and more accessible we can make our products, the better we serve Indigenous Peoples and their Nations.