Some folks have asked why the October Drive and the election membership deadline are not connected this year, as they’ve been in the past. The change was made as part of a broader shift in how the election process is managed. In the interest of transparency, we’ve outlined the details of this shift below.
Back in June, the Elections Committee approached the Development & Membership Committee about decoupling the election from the October Drive. The committees agreed to do so. This is the first step toward an eventual goal of having the same membership deadline every year, so members won’t have to guess the date each time. It also allows each committee to make decisions that work best for their individual teams, instead of trying to force changes on each other to the detriment of their staff or of OTW members. In this case, the current election dates have the advantage of allowing the election to be open for 4 days instead of 2. The Elections Committee hopes this will increase participation and decrease the need for proxy voters.
The membership cutoff date for being able to vote in an election is currently one month prior to the election, in order to allow our all-volunteer staff time to prepare accurate voter rolls (including members who pay by check), set up proxy voters, email voter instructions in advance, pay for the software, etc. Since a donation of $10 or more to the OTW gives the donor one year of membership, anyone who donated in the previous 2 drives (May 2015 and October 2014) is eligible to vote in this November’s election. Anyone just joining the OTW now will be eligible to vote in 2016’s election.
The membership deadline was posted on the OTW and elections websites and tweeted on both accounts. Those donors whose memberships were set to expire prior to the election deadline were each sent an email giving them the option of renewing in time to vote this year. We’re happy that so many people renewed their memberships due to interest in this election!
You can find more information about the current election here on our website by selecting either the Election News or 2015 links above. “Election News” has fewer posts, since it’s solely focused on announcements, while “2015” has every post related to the current election. If you have questions about the election process, please use our contact form to get in touch with us. You can also follow our Twitter to keep up with the latest election news.