By Janice S. Gin, RTDNA Governance Committee Chair
On June 29, 2017 the RTDNA Board of Directors will meet and be asked to consider and approve an amendment to the RTDNA By-Laws. The amendment will allow for “Early Voting” of the Officers and Board of Directors.
As the current By-Laws require, Association members must be notified of the pending vote so that everyone has a chance to weigh-in on the proposed amendment. Send your comments prior to the board meeting to your Regional Director. Contact information can be found on the RTDNDA website (www.rtdna.org) or at the end of this notice.
What is Early Voting?
The RTDNA Governance Committee has unanimously endorsed the amendment that would allow members to cast electronic votes for Officers and Board of Directors (Regional and Directors-at-Large) starting 30 days before the polls open.
Right now the polls open at the start of the RTDNA International Convention and close the morning of the last day of the gathering. In the past couple of years, the 3-day conventions have been held over a weekend. When we looked back at recent history, voter turnout has been very low – last year turnout was 22% but it was even lower in previous years. The fact that the polls are open only for a short time and over a weekend may be major contributing factors in the low voter turnout.
While the Governance Committee cannot ensure that turnout will improve, this proposed amendment would ensure that members will have more of an opportunity to cast a ballot.
Is there a downside to Early Voting?
In accordance with our By-Laws, names of individuals running for Officer or Board of Director are announced 60 days before the convention giving them ample opportunity to campaign. At the opening business meeting at the convention the candidate names are formally put on the ballot. Individuals who had not announced their on candidacy earlier, can be nominated from the floor.
No one has to vote early, but under this plan you can or you can choose to wait to see if there are other candidates nominated at the convention.
However, to insure the integrity of the voting process, under the Early Voting Amendment, a vote cannot be changed once cast. That means, if you voted early and a new candidate is nominated from the floor, you would not be able to change your vote and cast it for the new candidate. Once your vote is cast, your vote is final and will stand.
Official language of the proposed Early Voting Amendment
Article XI: Election of Officers, Directors-at-Large and Regional Directors
Section 3. Voting
(c) A system for confidential early voting by electronic transmission shall be established and maintained by the Board of Directors. The early voting system shall allow ballots to be cast no earlier than 30 days prior to the first business session at the Annual International Conference. The early votes will remain uncounted until the polls close at the annual conference. The totals of the early voting shall be communicated to the Chairman/woman and added to the tabulation of the ballots cast during the annual conference. Once submitted, ballots cast during the early voting period may not be changed.
Subsequent subsections of the By-Laws would be renumbered/lettered accordingly. (Subsection "c" becomes "d"; etc.)
Amendment Approval Process
Amendments to the By-Laws will require 2/3rds affirmative vote by the Board of Directors and would take effect immediately. The proposed Early Voting Amendment was reviewed by legal counsel and approved by both the Governance Committee and the Executive Committee.
If you have comments about the proposed amendment, please share them with your Regional Director before June 29, 2017 so that they can represent your voice at the board meeting. Their names and email addresses are listed on the RTDNA website and here for your convenience:
Region 1: Erica Hill-Rodriquez firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 2: Brandon Mercer email@example.com
Region 3: Sheryl Worsley firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 4: Mark Millage email@example.com
Region 5: Scott Brady firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 6: David Wagner email@example.com
Region 7: Jam Sardar firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 8: Victoria Spechko email@example.com
Region 9: Gary Wordlaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 10: Andrew Vrees email@example.com
Region 11: Tim Scheld firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 12: Mark Kraham email@example.com
Region 13: Terrence Shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada/Int’l.: Fiona Conway email@example.com
There is no better time than now to stay engaged with RTDNA. We want to hear from you so that we can represent your interests and continue the fight for the First Amendment.
Thank you for your consideration.