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Discussion: AGM and Voting for Board Members

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 29, 2016 6:16 PM # 
There have been some glitches with sending out the announcement about the voting procedure and candidate information using MailChimp. Some of the glitches seemed to be associated with spam filters. Some of the glitches seem to be completely hidden from the person who sends these out. If you have not gotten information through the emailing that was supposed to go to all members, you can also find the information on the OUSA website. You can use the link given below or just type in AGM in the "search" box. You will get to where you can get the information.

Please also realize that the AGM starts at 4 PM and the voting will be shortly after the start. This will allow a careful counting of votes while other issues are being discussed.
Aug 29, 2016 6:29 PM # 
You can find the direct link to the candidate statements here.
Aug 31, 2016 3:00 AM # 
Nice to see some fresh faces that are articulating some concerns that I have, and a contested election.

In going over what people stated in their bios, it looks like this election is a referendum on spending, growth, results, and accountability. Maybe a referendum on the operating deficit, coupled with a starts recession. Not a healthy combination.

So, this time, I hope everyone takes the time to think critically before voting.

PS, one candidate articulated themselves as continuity or status quo. I think, as part of this contested election debate, it would be healthy if the status quo camp would articulate how the status quo is good for the organization, and US orienteering in general, given the ongoing operating deficit and starts recession, especially given that the newer candidates have articulated their vision.

I hope there is a vigorous debate, and plenty of critical thinking.
Aug 31, 2016 8:22 PM # 
Are there any bylaws changes or proposals on the ballot? Or just the Board elections? I could not find an AGM agenda on the OUSA page.
Aug 31, 2016 10:38 PM # 
I haven't heard of any Bylaws changes or proposals, which would have been posted awhile ago. The modified (see next paragraph) AGM agenda should probably be posted somewhere but I've not been requested to do that.

AGM agenda has been circulated for comment on the Board-net (OUSA members can lurk but not comment), because of a reordering of the agenda put forth in the Bylaws. Other than moving the BOD voting to earlier in the meeting (so that vote counting can take place while other business occurs), it's as stated in the Bylaws.

Use the website search box, or find the link at the bottom of the Board/Committees page (linked from the menu at the bottom of every OUSA web page), to find the link to Bylaws.
Sep 1, 2016 3:32 PM # 
Please realize that the ballot will be made in the same way it has in the past. There will be nine names on it. If you are voting for your club or yourself, you will vote for 5 people. (It is not possible to vote for one person 5 times.)
The number of votes that a club has equals the number which is based on primary club members minus the number who are voting for themselves. If a club has 50 votes and 6 individual members want to vote on their own, then the club would have 44 votes. (50 - 6 = 44). When the club votes, they will give 44 votes each to the five people they vote for. If a club has proxies from other clubs, then the number of votes that they have will be increased by the number of proxies that they have.
Sep 1, 2016 3:52 PM # 
So a club votes as a block unless individuals attend the meeting and vote on their own? For example, a club could not cast 20 of its 44 votes for one set of 5 people and the other 24 votes for a different set of 5. (It sounds like that also applies if a club has proxies - the club's delegate is casting X votes on its behalf and Y votes on another club's behalf, but there can only be a single set of 5 people that then get all X+Y votes.) Is that right?
Sep 1, 2016 3:55 PM # 
Thanks, Peter!

Checking for understanding - you are saying that

(1) all delegates for a given club must vote for the same 5 candidates. (A club may have multiple delegates, one for each block of 25 USOF members.) I don't think the bylaws require that the different delegates from a club all vote in the same way, but perhaps this is a reasonable restriction.

(2) if a club has proxies from another club, those votes must be assigned to the same 5 candidates that the club's delegates vote for.

The bylaws state that a member club may assign its proxy to either another member club's delegation, or to a member-at-large. In the latter case, I assume by extension that if a member-at-large has proxies from clubs, then those clubs' votes would be cast for the same 5 candidates selected by the member-at-large.

Interestingly, members-at-large may submit group proxies, which suggests that OUSA members could choose to form a voting block in order to vote differently from their club delegation, even if they cannot attend the AGM. (Article VI, Section A, 9c)
Sep 1, 2016 3:56 PM # 
I believe the absent club gets is own ballot, filled out by the proxy, but I'm not positive.
Sep 1, 2016 5:04 PM # 
I don't think there is any requirement to vote proxies in the same proportion as the holding club votes. It makes sense to do so, but the club(s) giving the proxies to the holding club could request them to vote a certain way -- though it probably would not be binding.
Sep 1, 2016 5:27 PM # 
Every delegate should get their own ballot. Each delegate has a certain number of votes assigned, based on splitting the club's votes evenly among that club's delegates. So the club doesn't have to vote as a block. It's not even clear that a single delegate has to fill out their ballot as a single block. Typically, the number of votes available is written on the top of the ballot by the credentials committee when the delegate checks in. If you have 44 votes and five spots, that equals 220 votes, which you should be allowed to spread amongst the candidates, with no more than 44 for any individual candidate. Of course, it's expected that most delegates will simply select five candidates and give each their maximum allotment.

Proxies are probably just one ballot for the club. Or it might be additional votes noted at the top of the delegates single ballot. I'm not sure.

There certainly is nothing in the bylaws that requires a delegate's votes to be voted as a block. If you want to split them, the credentials committee should supply a way to do that.
Sep 1, 2016 5:54 PM # 
Curious as to why the voting is still done this way (I know it has always been like this). Shouldn't every individual OUSA member be able to vote for their personal choices? I realize you can by attending the AGM, but often there are things that make that not possible (distance, finances, timing).
Sep 1, 2016 6:22 PM # 
I was thinking the same thing -- it seems like each OUSA member should be able to cast a vote, as opposed to voting by club at the AGM.
Sep 1, 2016 6:24 PM # 
Good luck getting a quorum with that approach.

(It's a lot like the electoral college, really. )
Sep 1, 2016 6:32 PM # 
Good analogy!
Sep 1, 2016 6:47 PM # 
By the way, proxies are due two weeks ahead of the election, perhaps that's tomorrow night or something.
Sep 1, 2016 6:49 PM # 
What about individual AGM attendees? Do they need to register in advance as well?
Sep 1, 2016 6:56 PM # 
(Well, I'm not a fan of the electoral college either. ) It just doesn't seem to me like the results under the current system will necessarily represent the wishes of the membership well. First off, how many of us even know who's actually casting our vote? Especially if another club is voting for your club by proxy. Secondly, how many clubs are actually polling their individuals and voting representatively? I'm on contact/e-mailing lists for three clubs plus attending annual meetings for two of them and have never seen discussion to this effect, ever, for any AGM.

If votes must go in blocks of 25, what happens to a club where 13 people want one thing and 12 want another? What if you only have 6 members but they have radically different choices?

I've never really felt like my vote counted in OUSA/USOF, but now we suddenly have an election that could possibly have a great effect on the direction of things, and I feel even more so.

At least with the electoral college the ratio of votes is somewhat maintained.
Sep 1, 2016 7:19 PM # 
I checked with my club, and they're still figuring out how to notify members about the election, and I assume/hope collect our feedback. Hopefully there's still enough time to collect input.
Sep 1, 2016 7:38 PM # 
Proxy forms need to be to the Director of Membership and Accounting by the designated date (tomorrow?) so that she has time to prepare the paperwork/ballots for the meeting.

Clubs having no representatives in attendance need to designate proxies, or their votes will not be counted at all (the credentials committee advises at the beginning of the meeting if there are enough votes/attendees present to represent a quorum as defined in the bylaws). Only those clubs that have delegates or proxies in attendance will have their club's votes count.

I would think that the specifics re: for whom the attending delegates cast votes doesn't need to be known by them until shortly before the meeting/vote.
Sep 1, 2016 7:58 PM # 
Janet, who is on the credentials committee this year?
Sep 1, 2016 9:03 PM # 
Where can we find the proxy form?
Sep 1, 2016 9:39 PM # 
Regarding the term "member-at-large", I had always thought this was a member who has not designated a primary club. Scanning the bylaws I see the term used several times but never defined.

From the above assumed definition, a person who attends the AGM to vote his/her vote directly rather than letting it be voted by his primary club's delegate, is not(?) a member-at-large. Is this correct?

And if that is true then groups of such persons from different clubs cannot proxy together into like-minded voting blocks, but must each attend individually if they wish to direct their own vote?
Sep 1, 2016 10:03 PM # 
Oh that could be.
Sep 1, 2016 10:11 PM # 
@Boris, "credentials committee" this year is me, GlenT, and J-J (and possibly Nancy D) with guidance from the OUSA secretary. Glen, J-J and I are also signed up to be the vote counters. [Edit: Chaired by Donna, who will recuse herself from vote counting.]

@umeditor/Patrick, your club officials should have received the proxy form a month ago, to send in if no one from the club would be in attendance at the AGM. Otherwise they would return the other form they received, which indicates who the club's delegate(s) and alternate(s) are (alternates are named in case the delegate can't be in attendance).

@fossil/Mitch, you are correct that At Large members are not tied to a club. I believe that anyone who has a primary club desgnated in the Membership records is not an At Large member and can only vote for him- or herself. Like-minded folks can lobby their club's delegate, if there is one, on how to vote, or attend the AGM to cast their own ballot. At Large members are usually from areas with no local club to support.

As someone mentioned, if a club has more than 25 club members who are also OUSA members, their club gets an additional delegate for each 25 OUSA members (BAOC and DVOA, for example, come to mind, as clubs with multiple delegates).

I've only been attending OUSA AGMs for the last few years or so and have sat on the credentials committee a couple of times (usually we just check people in to the meeting and hand them voting materials, if any, beyond a card that indicates how many club members they're casting votes for), but never for a meeting with this kind of ballot vote, so it'll be new to us too.
Sep 1, 2016 10:15 PM # 
The credentials committee (which can change from year to year) sits at the entrance to the AGM and checks attendees against a list of clubs/members prepared by the Membership Director (Robin).

If clubs are large enough to have more than one delegate we ask that they wait to check in until all delegates are there. We can then also record any club members attending who want to cast their own votes, and deduct that number from that given to the delegate to vote.
Sep 1, 2016 11:30 PM # 
do the clubs delegates have to be named by tomorrow night or is that deadline just for proxies?
Sep 1, 2016 11:48 PM # 
As I mentioned before, the proxy form is used when a club will have no OUSA members attending the AGM. The club then designates a different club's delegate to cast that club's votes. One year I (delegate for EMPO) received proxy to cast votes for HVO and another NY club. I doubt there was anything much that we voted on except maybe to accept the last year's minutes or something else mundane. And maybe to accept the slate of candidates (such as 4 people for 4 positions with no write-ins...which are permitted, by the way, as long as the written-in candidate fits the Bylaws requirement of having been an OUSA member for at least a year, and is willing to serve if elected).

Otherwise, the club's leadership (whoever the forms were mailed to) will indicate on the form for delegates who will represent the club, and send the form back to Robin so she can prep the club delegate and proxy information for the credentials committee to use when checking in AGM attendees.

For example, this year EMPO (which is small enough to only have one delegate) is represented by our club president, with me as alternate if something comes up and he can't make it. He has sent out a note to our club's OUSA members to get input on who he should cast the club's votes for; that voting information won't be needed until the AGM. If no EMPO members were going to be at the AGM we would have chosen another club (proxy) to cast our votes.
Sep 1, 2016 11:53 PM # 
I find nothing in the bylaws about a deadline for naming delegates. The proxy deadline is stated as "two weeks in advance of the general meeting date" (VI.A.9.b) which would seem to be this Saturday, not tonight.

"credentials committee" this year is me [JanetT], GlenT, and J-J (and possibly Nancy D)

This is odd, as the bylaws (VI.A.3.e) state that the credentials committee is to be chaired by a Director, which I believe none of those named here is.
Sep 2, 2016 12:05 AM # 
Donna Fluegel is the Director chairing the Credentials Committee (we misstated her role in the earlier post). Donna will recuse herself for the vote counting.
Sep 2, 2016 12:10 AM # 
Thanks, Glen. That makes more sense.
Sep 2, 2016 12:23 AM # 
A new thread will be forthcoming with the exact nature of the voting. I have misstated some things and it will be all worked out in the next day or so.
The issue is that there is a tradition of voting methods that are not explicitly stated in the Bylaws. The goal of setting up the structure for voting is to provide fairness and flexibility for clubs and members. There is no intent to disenfranchise anyone.

One thing that should be noted is that this election is completely different from the last half dozen years when there have been no contested seats. This very different from elections in the recent past.
Sep 2, 2016 2:26 AM # 
Since the voting rules may affect to whom a club gives their proxy (for instance, if there are any restrictions on a club voting its own votes one way and the proxies that it's voting another way), it would be helpful to publish the voting rules before the proxy deadline.
Sep 2, 2016 1:17 PM # 
Proxies are due today? What if you just found out it hasn't been done (and the club president won't be home to do it before deadline)?
Sep 2, 2016 1:20 PM # 
Julie, send an email to Robin (USOF at comcast dot net) and explain the situation.
Sep 2, 2016 2:00 PM # 
I just found out from trading this thread that I'm on the Credentials Committee! (Now, to be fair, Donna did send an email to several people, and I volunteered, but the wording in her follow-up message was ambiguous, so I wasn't sure if I was on or if somebody else was. ) But Nancy definitely won't be, because she won't be there.

Julie, if you're not hearing from your local club about the election, I think that's an issue with your club. Bring it up with your club leadership. But by further analogy with the electoral college, bear in mind that there was no nationwide popular vote for the early Presidents of the US, either. When USOF was founded, the delegate model may have been considered the most practical way to run the election.
Sep 2, 2016 2:18 PM # 
One conclusion seems clear - if you want, under the current bylaws, to be able to control how your vote is cast regardless of whether you can make it to the annual meeting or the policies of your primary club, you should be an at large member.

Does any bylaws expert feel like opining as to whether current OUSA members can immediately sever their formal tie to their current club, arrange a proxy by tomorrow, and thereby control their vote in the immediately upcoming election? Or will a transition to At Large status only be a viable option for this purpose for annual meetings in 2017 and beyond?
Sep 2, 2016 3:12 PM # 
I'm not that expert, I'm just reading them online like everybody else. But it looks pretty clear that the intent is to have the club voting counts be as of several weeks prior to the meeting.

VI.A.3.a reads:
Each member club has a number of votes corresponding to the number of members of the club (Family membership—two members) registered with the Federation as Regular Members in good standing as of the end of the second calendar month preceding the general meeting.
Sep 2, 2016 4:00 PM # 
Yes, it's explicity clear the club voting counts are based on the number of OUSA members in good standing affiliated with them as on, this year, July 31st. It's not clear to me, based on a quick skim of the apparently relevant sections of the bylaws, that the same date is explicitly referenced in relation to the meeting attendance/voting rights of members-at-large. So in the rules lawyering spirit, I'm not even certain one couldn't take out a brand new OUSA membership today and claim that the explicit language of the bylaws says one has the right to attend the meeting and vote.

The right to attend appears to be clearly established by:

"c. All individual members, associates, supporting members, and honorary life members are entitled to attend the general meeting. "

The individual right to vote seems to be described by:

"b. The voting rights of the Regular Members of the Federation are handled by the club delegates and alternates as per Section A.3.a above, except that a Regular Member in attendance at the convention who wishes to vote directly on general meeting issues rather than through his club delegate(s) may do so if approved by the credentials committee as outlined in Section A.3.e below.
In this case the vote of the club delegate(s) shall be reduced by one. "

No explicit reference to the time at which club vote counts are established in either, although IANAL so I'm not going to opine as to how to correctly interpret those clauses in light of the ones describing the voting rights of clubs and the statement, "3. The voting rights at the Annual General Meeting are intended to provide for reasonable direct representation of member clubs."
Sep 2, 2016 7:36 PM # 
For anyone who hasn't seen a club's proxy/delegate declaration package before, here is a PDF scan of the packet SVO received this year (with personal member info blanked out).
Sep 3, 2016 2:37 AM # 
Sep 3, 2016 3:32 AM # 
Oh. If a club intends to vote by proxy but one of its members shows up at the AGM then that member votes for the club.
Sep 3, 2016 12:54 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Wait, what? Some bored passerby can accidentally assume the responsibility?

This discussion thread is closed.