Section Election 2014

As we have since 2008, we held our election with the services of Vote-Now (Vote_Now.com). We again included photos of the candidates with the biographies and statements which accompanied the ballot. We used the special "election roster" available from the national ACS offices.

Voters receive, by e-mail (or postcard, for those without an e-mail address), a login and a unique password, which will only work once, to prevent multiple ballots from a given voter. Voting may be done from any computer with internet access—home, work, or even one in an internet cafe or a public library.

The Vote-Now "Silver" election service package we have ordered each year includes electronic reminders to vote, and a postcard mailing to those without e-mail addresses or whose e-mails bounce (usually because the member has failed to update his or her records with the national office). Included on the postcard were directions for obtaining a paper ballot if the member desired, so no one was disenfranchised (one of ACS's strict requirements for an e-election). In 2014, no one asked for a paper ballot.

Voter participation was very similar to what it is every year—about 10% of the electorate. The total number of ballots received this year, 268, was slightly larger than it was in 2013. The 268 ballots represented 9.5% of the electorate, and it is nearly 10 times the number received in 2007 (the last year when we ran the election ourselves and used paper ballots).

Election graphA regularly updated graphical summary of ballots received (final version shown at left) was available to me during balloting. Ballots arrived in spurts which immediately followed the initial announcement and the subsequent three reminders sent out by Vote-Now. (The graph shape is reminiscent of a titration curve for a tetrabasic weak acid!) The final vote tallies were withheld during voting, of course, but they were made available immediately at 11:59 p.m., at the end of the last day of voting, which was November 23. This allowed us to schedule balloting to end very shortly before the December 1 deadline for submission of results, and still get them in on time.

The cost of the election to us was somewhat lower than the costs we saw in the past when paper ballots were sent out and mailed back to us by the members. Electronic voting also saves our members the admittedly small cost, and, more importantly, the trouble, of mailing ballots back to us.

Vote-Now provides a space on its ballots for voter comments, and we received several favorable ones about the ease of voting. There were also thank-you messages to those of us who volunteer to serve on the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee thought the whole thing was a complete success, as it has since we first used Vote-Now. We plan to continue to use Vote-Now for the foreseeable future.

Karl Marhenke, Secretary
Santa Clara Valley Section

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