Your Vote Matters - TLA, ALA, Community

by Dorcas Hand, Editor, TASLTalks

The TLA Election is in process – ballots close on March 14. The ALA Election about to start. I’m here to remind everyone to VOTE! Actually, I want to remind you to vote at every opportunity. It matters – every time.

In ALA elections, the average participation in recent years is 20%. 80% of members don’t vote. And the percentage of voter participation is even slimmer for AASL members at 14%. That is crazy!

So, if 20% of total membership is about 10,000 votes, and there are 4 candidates pretty equally popular, every vote would matter MORE. Choosing not to vote because it doesn’t matter is counter productive – and could put a candidate with whom you disagree in an important position.
When Julie Todaro (Texas’ own! and one of those 4 candidates) was elected, 28.6% of 10,367 votes won. Her next challenger had 28.4%. The difference was 22 votes. Julie is doing a great job – but the 80% of ALA eligible voters who didn’t vote lost their chance to have a say.

If AASL total membership is about 6700, 14% is 938 people. That's how many voted in the 2016 AASL election. This year there are three candidates. If only 14% vote again this year, a person could win with only 314 votes – if the vote was the tightest possible. That is 33% plus one vote of that 938 people. Does it seem right to you that 4.7% of membership should be the final answer? In the year that I ran for AASL President, only 976 voters participated. Audrey church won 540 votes while I had 401. Audrey has been a great AASL President, but I wish more members had stepped up to confirm her.

In a recent Houston ISD School Board election runoff, the winner won by 29 votes of 6543 votes cast. There were 178,717 eligible voters. That is crazy – and I am thrilled that Anne pulled it out. But I am discouraged that so few thought the local school board not worth their voting time.

The PewResearch Center ranks the United States 27th in voting rate compared to voting countries around the world. And Follow My Vote reports that only 36.3% of American registered voters came out for the 2014 midterm elections.

Sometimes, the ballot seems daunting – in all elections. But if we want our library association – or our community – to have the best possible leadership and be accountable to ALL voters, then a bigger chunk of eligible voters need to step up. 

Please be one who exercises your membership right to vote 
in TLA, ALA, and community elections. 
It matters. 
When you don’t vote, YOU ALLOW someone else’s vote to MATTER MORE 
– is that really what you mean to do??? 

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