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Discussion: AGM Voting

in: Orienteering; General

Sep 3, 2016 11:44 AM # 
After research into the Bylaws, history of AGM voting and looking at the proxy wording, this is the method for voting at the AGM meeting.

Information on Voting for Board of Directors at the AGM

Credentials Committee
The Credentials Committee is made up of three people, Donna Fluegel (chair), Janet Tryson and Glen Tryson.
Note: Because Donna Fluegel is up for election, she will not be part of the vote counting.

Checking In and Voting
1) All delegates for a given club (including individuals voting independently from their club) must come up to the Credentials Committee table as a group. Repeat: Anyone who wants to vote independently from his/her club, must check in with his/her primary club or the proxy club.
2) Once the delegates from a club have been checked in, no changes can be made for the distribution of ballots to that club.
3) 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, in this case, the end of July 2016.
4) When the delegates arrive at the table, any individual who wishes to vote independently (who has that club as his or her primary club) will get a ballot and the number of members that the club votes will be reduced by one (or two if the membership is a family and two family members are in attendance). The remaining votes will be divided between the club delegates present. The credentials committee will adhere to the wishes of the clubs and proxies with regard to voting.
5) As stated on the proxy form, if a club has submitted a proxy and a primary club member shows up at the AGM, the club proxy will be invalid and the club member will become the delegate.
6) If club XYZ has given a proxy to a member-at-large or club ABC, then the person with the proxy goes through the same process as outlined in steps 1, 2 and 3. If there is some individual who is a member of club XYZ who wants to vote independently, the number of members in the proxy vote would be reduced by one (or two if the membership is a family and two family members are in attendance).
7) Once you have your ballot, whether you are voting for yourself or voting for a club, you will then take your ballot into the room but do not mark it until you are told to do so. (This is because there may be nominations from the floor.)
8) Once you are told to vote, vote according to the rules:
A) Because there are 5 open seats, the total number of votes equals 5 times the number of members listed at the top of your ballot.
B) You cannot cast more votes than the number at the top of your ballot for any one candidate.
C) If for some reason you don’t want to use all your votes, that is your decision.
Check your math. If your total vote count is more than 5 x the number at the top of your ballot or you cast more votes for one candidate than the number at the top of your ballot, your ballot will be voided.
A sample of the ballot is part of this document. Page down to see it. It is on a separate page so it can be viewed as you will see it on the day of the AGM.

Club ______________________

Number of OUSA members ________

2016 Ballot for OUSA Board Positions

-- Please do not complete your ballot until asked to do so because there may be nominations from the floor.
-- Nominations from the floor require prior approval of the nominee. Write the names below.
-- There are 5 open positions. Four terms are for 3 years. One term is for 2 years.
-- The four people with the most votes get 3 year terms. The person with the fifth largest number of votes gets a 2 year term.
-- The number written at the top of the page indicates the number of OUSA members you have, excluding any individual(s) who are voting independently.
-- Because there are 5 open seats, the total number of votes equals 5 times the number of members listed at the top of your ballot.
-- You may allocate your number of votes (5 x the number at the top of the page) however you choose, but the maximum number of votes for one candidate may not exceed the number at the top of the page.
-- Double check your math to make sure your total number of votes does not exceed 5 x the number at the top of the page AND that your maximum number of votes for one candidate does not exceed the number at the top of the page. If the ballot is not filled out correctly, the ballot will be made void.

Candidate Club Number of Votes
CLARE DURAND LAOC _____________
DONNA FLUEGEL WCOC _____________
ALEX JOSPE CSU _____________
PAT MEEHAN OCIN _____________
IAN SMITH NEOC _____________
Write in candidate(s):
TOTAL: _____________
Sep 3, 2016 12:19 PM # 
Thanks, Peter. This all makes sense except for points 5 and 6 which seem to contradict each other. If a club submits a proxy to another club or A/L individual but the appearance of one of their members overrides that proxy, as stated in point 5 and supported by VI.A.9.a, then that seems to preclude that individual from voting only their individual vote and it being the only one subtracted from the proxy.
Sep 3, 2016 2:31 PM # 
And a particularly relevant question: if a club has given their proxy to someone from another club, but a member of the first club shows up for the AGM but does not wish to be a delegate, is he obligated to? (This applies to me. )
Sep 3, 2016 3:14 PM # 
Points 5 and 6 seem to disagree regarding whether the presence of a primary member of a club with a proxy form submitted invalidates that proxy or not.

ETA: did I fail to read fossil's post or did fossil edit it while I was writing? Perhaps the back buttom will tell all.
Sep 3, 2016 4:46 PM # 
Yes, and the proxy form and the bylaws seem to disagree on the answer to JJ's question.

Proxy form says: Should a USOF member in good standing designating our club as his/her primary club in attendance at the Annual General Meeting, he/she will be entitled to cast our votes and this proxy will not be in effect.

The word "entitled" might be interpreted as giving them the right, but not the duty.

Bylaws state: If a member club has no member present at an Annual General Meeting, it may assign a proxy to another member club delegation or to a member-at-large present at the general meeting.

This seems to say more directly that a proxy may only be assigned if no member from that club is present.

Hmmm - maybe JJ should sneak past the credentials committee desk.
Sep 3, 2016 5:28 PM # 
I agree with smittyo. Entitled means that you can but don't have to.
Sep 3, 2016 5:55 PM # 
I think I'll be sitting at the Credentials Committee desk, so...
Sep 3, 2016 6:14 PM # 
Maybe some editing from PGoodwin would be in order, since the word "entitled" doesn't occur in what he wrote. Point 5 certainly appears to say that the invalidation of the proxy happens if a primary member of the club shows up at the annual meeting after all, regardless of whether they wish that to happen.

It's pretty weird that they can do that whether the leadership of the club wants them to or not but that's a separate issue - anyone else think OUSA may need an electoral reform committee in case it turns out this is the beginning of an era of competitive board elections?
Sep 3, 2016 6:14 PM # 
J-J, you can help us explain everything to attendees. ;-) We should have it all figured out by then. I certainly hope we do, anyway.
Sep 3, 2016 8:24 PM # 
In such a big country, mail or online voting might be best. With so many clubs arranging proxies, it already is happening to an extent, but eliminating quandaries like JJ's and other complexities might be worth some electoral reform.
Sep 4, 2016 1:34 AM # 
And, since all these details are still being resolved, I urge the board and credentials committee to extend the deadline for submission of proxies. This could well be the most important AGM election in recent memory and could influence the direction of OUSA for years to come. I am sure that nobody wants to deny the opportunity to vote to clubs and individuals that are just beginning to get their plan together. This is summer, people are traveling, and word is really just beginning to get around through AP, club net, and elsewhere, about how unusually important this election really is. With electronic communication, there's no legitimate reason not to continue to accept proxy designations right up until the credentials check-in table opens. --please don't give me any baloney about needing time to prepare ballots; anytime since the July 31 record date, a ballot (ballots in cases where clubs are permitted multiple delegates) could be prepared for each club - the only questions are whether it will actually get used or not (either by club rep or proxy), and whether the number of votes on it will be reduced by individuals showing up amd wishing to vote in person.--
Sep 4, 2016 3:32 AM # 
If you take a look at the image files Eddie posted, you will see that the proxy form used by OUSA simply designates an attending club delegate(s) to cast votes for a club with no attendees. There's no provision for ballot casting since the slate wasn't available at the end of July when the forms were being prepared, and therefore no reason that I can see to extend the deadline.

What could be done is that clubs circulate among their OUSA members a copy of the instructions and sample ballot that are now posted on the OUSA website (News section). Then give your delegates (or proxy club) guidelines on how you want the OUSA members' votes cast at the AGM.

Please note that only official ballots, which will be distributed to delegates and individuals voting separately at the AGM, will be counted.
Sep 4, 2016 3:42 AM # 
Please show up at the credentials committee table in advance of the 4 PM meeting scheduled start. ;-) Note that any members wanting to vote separately from their club's delegation need to check in WITH their delegates so that ballots can be properly distributed.

Remember also that election of directors will take place fairly early in the meeting per the revised agenda posted a couple of days ago (separate AP thread).
Sep 4, 2016 12:35 PM # 
True, candidate names could not have been put on the ballots that early. On that I stand corrected. My point was that the club membership numbers were known by that date and don't change, other than the reduction of a club member showing up and wishing to vote in person - which has to be handled at delegate check-in anyway since there is no requirement for them to pre-register. I still don't see a good reason not to continue to allow proxy submissions, so as to maximize participation by those clubs (and individual at large members) who, for whatever reason, have not yet sent them in and don't have anyone planning to attend. In the past, frequently many clubs have not been represented at all at the AGM; let's try to maximize (rather than obstruct) participation in this important election.
Sep 4, 2016 2:05 PM # 
There's a very good reason to extend the proxy deadline for this important election - the appearance of fairness. In the past, it hasn't really mattered if clubs bothered with proxies, or individual members who couldn't attend made sure to make their views known to their delegates, as elections weren't contested, but just a matter of rubber-stamping those willing to volunteer for the board. This time it matters and even active AP members have been taken by surprise by deadlines and procedures. Whatever the result of this election, it must be done as fairly as possible, but unfortunately, statements have been put out by a candidate and even the President of the organization that reek of desperate attempts to perpetuate an "old-boys' network." While younger working people have been welcome to spend their precious leisure time and limited personal resources to do all the heavy lifting of putting on great events, starting and running training programs, and even training hard to represent this country in international competitions, somehow they can't manage and shouldn't be Board members. Additionally, one of the candidates is directing the credentials committee, and though recusing herself from the vote counting, she could appear to influence the outcome of the election by not allowing a club proxy or individual vote. I'm certainly not implying that anyone involved would do anything unethical, but appearances are everything in a contested election, and with this antiquated system, and the sad recasting by some as an us vs. them situation, there are many opportunities for this to end badly. Any obstacles to full communication and participation that can be removed at this point should be, without delay.

Full disclaimer - I am a former orienteer, former member of OUSA and DVOA and a former Board (DVOA board, not USOF or OUSA - edited for clarity) member and publicity director for DVOA, so cannot vote in this election. But as an active APer, I know some people personally and some from this forum, still follow the teams, and I still hope to see American orienteering grow and succeed, so cannot keep my mouth shut any longer.
Sep 4, 2016 2:32 PM # 
Well said, Maryann.
Sep 5, 2016 1:40 AM # 
It is true that voting hasn't mattered since the 90's because it has been hard to recruit board members. However, the deadlines are written into the Bylaws and if you don't follow the procedures outlined in the Bylaws, then people will complain.
Statements put out by anyone are opinions and, as president, I reserve the right to express an opinion. If you don't like my opinion, ignore it. I will also suggest that there are lots of older people who have spent hours working on events and matters related to running Orienteering USA. Of course, there are working people working hard, too, but there is no monopoly on hard work. We have a wonderful group of volunteers working to promote our sport.
It is true that a candidate is on the credentials committee (one board member is required by the Bylaws) but she is distancing herself from any inappropriate influence. She is also the Secretary of OUSA and organizing (but not influencing) the voting is part of the job. There are also checks on what she is doing but the checking in of delegates and counting of ballots will not be part of what she does. The "antiquated" system cannot be changed unless the bylaws are changed and that is not possible at this stage of the game.
I will also suggest that in any election that some candidates will win and some will lose, there will always be some "us vs. them". Everyone is free to speak about the election and I don't see any obstacles to that communication. I would appreciate any information related to these obstacles that you indicate. Please remember that, as you read each candidate's statements, every one has a sincere desire to help move orienteering in the United States forward. There are different backgrounds and points of view but the goal is the same. We are an organization of volunteers and, as I step down, I will miss working with all of them.
Sep 5, 2016 3:20 AM # 
Nice to hear from you Maryann, and thanks to you and everybody above for identifying yourselves, which is apparently too difficult for some strongly opinionated old boys or girls(?) on a related thread.
Sep 5, 2016 2:00 PM # 
Peter, I have read your comments here and am in receipt of your email to me. I am sorry you wasted time looking for my name on the USOF/OUSA Board member lists going back to 1973, but I've now edited my posting above to make it explicitly clear that I was a member of DVOA's board, not USOF.

From the concerns expressed in your email that the list of Board members may be incomplete or inaccurate, it is clear that the history of OUSA is very important to you, so I'm sure, as you step down as President, you would want your legacy to be a positive one. Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion and we cherish our right to free speech in the U.S., but there are times in every area of life where you must use discretion, self-edit, and even withhold your opinion, based on the position or the entity that you represent. Your membership might excuse your endorsement of a specific candidate, but it was completely inappropriate to dismiss candidates who have proven themselves capable and made thoughtful commitments to offer their time and talent. I was appalled, and I'm 64 and can retire any day now if I so choose, so I can't imagine how insulted the targeted demographic was.

I am not going to answer any of your points, I think I made my views clear and I stand by them. And I'm not interested in reading the bylaws. It seems evident from the amount of discussion, questioning, and attempts to interpret and clarify what they mean and require that they are somewhat vague and open to interpretation on important essentials regarding voting procedure, proxies and members-at-large. You apparently don't want to extend the proxy deadline because if those same vague bylaws aren't followed in that case, people will complain. In this unusual year with real choices to be made, extending the deadline will only help to ensure that everyone entitled to a vote has the opportunity to make their voice known, so why would anyone complain about that? At this point, to not ensure that opportunity reinforces the appearance of a lack of fairness, which was my original point.

There was no need to explain the facts of life, so to speak, to me. Nor is there any need to try to convince me of anything. I thought I made it clear, by identifying myself and my orienteering connection (yes, Eric, I abhor anonymous postings too!) that I hold an interested, but more detached view of this whole process. I took the time to express my views of how this whole thing looks (not good!) hoping that a less partial viewpoint might wake the people involved in this process up to try to repair some of the damage and take what measures can still be taken to ensure a fair election with as full participation of the membership as possible.
Sep 5, 2016 4:08 PM # 
I have a question about another aspect of the voting rules:

1) All delegates for a given club (including individuals voting independently from their club) must come up to the Credentials Committee table as a group. Repeat: Anyone who wants to vote independently from his/her club, must check in with his/her primary club or the proxy club.
2) Once the delegates from a club have been checked in, no changes can be made for the distribution of ballots to that club.

This makes it seem like a club wishing to exclude individual dissenting members from voting can just make sure that its delegates get to the credentialing table before the dissenting individuals (or vice versa), thus keeping them from voting. Is that a correct interpretation of the rules?
Sep 5, 2016 4:34 PM # 
To reduce the chances of a scenario such as that proposed by BorisGr playing out, I would suggest that individuals intending to vote independently from their clubs notify the credentials committee in advance of their intentions (as well as their club delegates). Please email usofweb at gmail dot com. Include individual's name, club and proxy designation if applicable.
Sep 5, 2016 5:40 PM # 
Jeez, when were your voting rules written? 1830?
Sep 5, 2016 5:41 PM # 
I'd find it fascinating if anyone were to want to game the system to the extent of trying to actively disenfranchise a club member.
Sep 5, 2016 6:33 PM # 
It can happen accidentally, too.
Sep 5, 2016 9:58 PM # 
While the stated "credentials committee" is Donna (current board member and candidate for election), GlenT and me, I've been told there are at least a couple of other OUSA members, including J-J, who will help us at the door. The only thing Donna will be involved in is making sure we understand what we're supposed to do, and I've been on credentials committee before so have some understanding how it works.

We're making every effort (see GlenT's email above) to make sure this a fair election.
Sep 6, 2016 12:05 AM # 
Janet and Glen - thanks!
Sep 6, 2016 12:22 AM # 
Yes, thank you Janet and Glen!
Sep 6, 2016 1:59 AM # 
I've been very open in my remarks on this thread and in responding to remarks on this thread, even though I found them a bit patronizing. I believe I was quite clear in indicating that I do not believe anyone involved in this election would do anything unethical, but was trying to raise awareness that the confusion around this whole process along with the tight deadlines, on a holiday weekend yet, among other things, were giving a poor appearance.

However, my email address, accessed through my log, has been used to send an insulting missive, full of false generalizations and assumptions, rather than respond here in view of the community. I have blocked the email address and will be restricting my log.

I wish all of you the best of luck with this election and with the future of orienteering, but I am done. Life is short, and orienteering has not been an important part of mine for some time.
Sep 6, 2016 2:26 AM # 
Perhaps I have an advantage of knowing Maryann, but I sure never expected her to be a controversial target.
Sep 6, 2016 2:31 AM # 
I'm really disappointed in my fellow orienteers if someone went out of their way to insult Maryann.

This one of the more intense issues in orienteering I've ever been a party to, and I've just been trying to pass along facts as I know them (and correct those if I'm wrong).

I hope that in the end all elected candidates can work together to make orienteering in the USA the best it's ever been! Thanks to all who have stepped into the fray.
Sep 6, 2016 11:22 AM # 
I am sorry this happened Maryann. I am very thankful for your comments and your point of view. Would it be beneficial to share the email you received?
Sep 6, 2016 12:15 PM # 
Ugh, please, let's not start sharing private emails, however ill-advised, publicly.
Sep 6, 2016 1:05 PM # 
If an elected OUSA official is engaging in underhanded intimidation tactics, does the public have the right to know?
Sep 6, 2016 1:12 PM # 
I don't think that it need be an "intense" matter. Let's just vote on which direction to take in OUSA, as expressed by various candidate statements. I am comfortable that the candidates that I know (both coalition and not) can work with others on a board. Some coalition members are already on the board, and have been effective volunteers working with many people, as have non coalition members.
Sep 6, 2016 1:17 PM # 
To clear this up, this was not a random or anonymous orienteer who emailed me. It was the President of OUSA, who had previously responded on this thread but chose to revert to email to take me to task and accuse me of things I never said or intended and for seemingly ulterior motives. Frankly, I think a little more attention to reading comprehension and less emotion might have prevented a needless communication.

I don't think I will share the email here as I don't want to distract any further from an important election with a choice among nine qualified and dedicated candidates. GlenT and JanetT are bending over backwards to clarify and communicate procedures and to ensure that everyone's voice is heard. I hope all who needed to get proxies in or communicate with their delegates have managed to get that done. No matter how this comes out, there will be a mix of board members with different ideas and fresh approaches and they have to work together, so sowing division is not productive.

I have, however, posted the email in my personal log, which now is restricted to a very small number of friends and role models, including you, triple-double.
Sep 6, 2016 1:47 PM # 
Yikes, seems like it's a good thing PoOUSA is already stepping down.
Sep 6, 2016 2:07 PM # 
I'm sorry to read that happened Maryann. I agree that is best to move forward and decide among the candidates and visions. And I agree, thanks to Janet and Glen for helping assure that people get to vote and understand the rules.
Sep 6, 2016 2:17 PM # 
Janet and Glen, could you qualify something for me? For a small club like WCOC, what happens if more members attend the AGM than the club has votes?

We already have two proxies attending, so the root of my question is do I turn up and get a vote myself, or do I just pass on my wishes to them?

Thank you!
Sep 6, 2016 2:26 PM # 
That shouldn't be possible since the number of votes is based on the number of OUSA members in the club.

From the bylaws:
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 6, 2016 2:27 PM # 
So the next question - is there a list somewhere of how many votes each club has?

(Sorry if this has been answered, it's easier to just ask my direct question then try to plough through all the jargon of bylaws)
Sep 6, 2016 2:38 PM # 
Robin has all this information and has shared it with anyone who asks, so now I'll share it with you here
Sep 6, 2016 2:41 PM # 
Oh wow, we have way more votes than I thought! Thanks Cristina! I guess I have been confused about delegates vs votes.
Sep 6, 2016 6:06 PM # 
I've been asked to pass along the message below. Basically, you can't assign another club to cast your club's votes at this point (proxy), but you can still have a club officer assign a delegate or delegates as applicable if your club missed the deadline.

"Although the deadline was September 2 for sending in delegate forms, not all clubs followed through on this. Since deadlines for submitting the delegate information is not part of the bylaws, the deadline will be extended to September 14 which should give clubs enough time to discuss with its members. A simple e-mail from the club officer to Glen Schorr ( no later than 9am EDT on September 14, stating the name of the club and the names of the delegates, will be sufficient. The proxy deadline will not be extended."

If any club wants to copy me on their email to Glen Schorr adding their club delegates, I'll keep track too. (Email is in my profile or earlier in the thread.)
Sep 7, 2016 1:30 AM # 
I can understand PGoodwin’s frustration with MaryAnn and the way she uses half-truths and innuendo to advance her agenda.

She wote “perpetuate an "old-boys' network. While younger working people have been welcome to spend their precious leisure time and limited personal resources to do all the heavy lifting of putting on great events … somehow they can't manage and shouldn't be Board members .” Implying that there is some sort of plantation system in place where young members are exploited without representation.

“younger workers do ALL the heavy lifting” – take a look at the next two National Meets(Pound Ridge and NAOC, as examples) and you will see most of the key players have some gray hair. This is in addition to them carrying the bulk of the OUSA administrative burden. Last prez was woman.

“can’t and shouldn’t be Board members”- This Board and previous boards have tried unsuccessfully to recruit younger members. Until now, no one was interested and seemed to prefer complaining to action. Their running is a welcome change.

“Additionally, one of the candidates is directing the credentials committee, and though recusing herself from the vote counting, she could appear to influence the outcome of the election by not allowing a club proxy or individual vote. I'm certainly not implying that anyone involved would do anything unethical” She IS implying exacyly that. If I say “don’t think of a blue unicorn”, what’s the first thing you do?

She then proceeds to the classless act of disclosing and discussing a personal email sent to her. And further compounds the situation by making unsubstantiated claims about its contents. It was a personal response and should have been kept that way.

Regarding extension of the proxy deadline she wrote “And I'm not interested in reading the bylaws.” Very troubling but it doesn’t stop her from making unsubstantiated claims regarding the bylaws.

“orienteering has not been an important part of mine (life) for some time.” While certainly anyone is entitled to an opinion (even an anonymous AP poster such as me), she really has no “skin in the game” on these issues and is clueless as to how things currently get done in the orienteering community (see all above).

” I wish all of you the best of luck with this election and with the future of orienteering, but I am done” Good riddance. Orienteering somehow managed to make it without her help over the last years and will continue to do so.
Sep 7, 2016 2:15 AM # 
Here's what I don't get:

1. Why sammy feels the need for anonymity.
2. Why sammy accuses MaryAnn of using half-truths and innuendo and then does that exact thing with his (?) own extended definition of "old-boy network" and by accusing MaryAnn of being classless and clueless. This is argument, not evidence.

It's completely reasonable to talk about a personal email and to disclose it if the other party denies what was said. I'm with MaryAnn on this one too. In the last few weeks I've emailed many people with things I asked them not to disclose. But I don't send emails expecting to be unaccountable for my actions.

The credentials committee is damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they uphold the time limit on proxies, they're disenfranchising member's clubs and votes, but if they do the traditional "late is fine" forbearance, they're ignoring the bylaws. It's completely reasonable for MaryAnn to call for the traditional forbearance because the other route is clearly a greater wrong. The historical precedent is that late proxies are upheld.

I've worked to get proxies from several clubs around Cincinnati who aren't attending the AGM. I've emailed a lot of people in the last two weeks, and from that I can tell you that people take special notice when one party attacks another. It's come up as a concern *for this election*. It is a fact that the candidates' online behavior is being considered when clubs vote.
Sep 7, 2016 2:17 AM # 
While I haven't been directly attacked (yet) by sammy, I've guess I've been smeared obliquely. Maybe just as sammy himself has been. But even if I weren't, I would certainly think twice about wanting to be associated with an organization infested by this calibre of kvetching/raving/flatuence, married with, at best, a penchant for watching the grass grow.

Godspeed to MaryAnn moving on to enjoying more adult pastimes, and truly good riddance to sammy, whose anonymous impotence will crescendo next week, replaced by irrelevance--both de facto and de jure.
Sep 7, 2016 10:54 AM # 
Ultimately, we all love the sport and enjoy being in the woods. Every volunteer adds to the whole. If you read the statements by all the candidates, you will find each and every one talks about helping Orienteering USA move forward.

This discussion thread is closed.