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Why Vote In STC Elections?
2000, February (February 22, 2007)
By Liz Wing, Nominations Manager

Every year, each STC member is given the opportunity to vote twice as a member, once for the next year's Society (international-level) leaders and once for the next year's chapter (local-level) leaders.

The Society and its chapters expend much effort and expense each year to recruit candidates and develop and distribute ballots; however, only about 10% of STC's members ever return those ballots.

If such a small portion of members participate in elections, why bother holding them? The most fundamental reason is that STC's bylaws and the bylaws of each chapter require a duly elected leadership.

So why don't members vote? There are many possible reasons:
  • Maybe the Society and chapter leaders don't do a good job of explaining why we have two elections each year and why it's important that you vote. If so, I hope this article will help eliminate that reason.
  • Maybe you don't see the point of voting when the candidates are all running uncontested, as often happens in chapter elections. After all, whether you vote or not, the uncontested candidate is still likely to win. However, when you do vote, you give your explicit support to the candidates, and that makes a big difference in motivating the people who will be running the chapter as volunteers for the next year. Also, you still have the option to vote for some offices and not others, or to write in a vote for someone not on the ballot, thus sending a clear message that you're dissatisfied with the choices.
  • Maybe you know very little about the candidates when the races are contested, which is more the rule than the exception in Society-level elections. If this is your reason, it's certainly a valid concern. For Society-level elections, you receive a booklet that contains some information about each candidate. Is that information not enough upon which to make your decision? If not, then we as a Society need to do something about that. Please let me know if that's the case.
  • Maybe you forgot to pay your dues. Only members who pay their dues this year by February 29 will be eligible to vote in the Society elections. Shortly thereafter, you'll get dropped off the STC rolls, so unless the Carolina Chapter uses some old address labels, you won't receive a chapter-level ballot either.
  • Maybe you don't care who leads STC. I hope this isn't true for too many of you! Even if you're a member only to get the publications such as Intercom and Technical Communication, keep in mind that the content and the future of those publications are heavily influenced by STC's elected leaders. And in many ways, so is our profession. Perhaps even your next job.
By the time you read this, you should have already received your Society-level ballot or will receive it very shortly. We have two Carolina Chapter members on that ballot, Larry Kunz (Nominations Committee) and Chris Benz (Region 2 Director-Sponsor). Having local members in Society positions helps our chapter in numerous ways, and if we could get 100% of Carolina Chapter members to vote for our local candidates while every other chapter returned only 10% of their ballots, both Larry and Chris would most likely win.

Later this month, you'll receive your ballot for Carolina Chapter elections. This ballot will list the people who have agreed to dedicate at least one year to promoting the goals of our chapter. Please show them you appreciate their dedication by giving them your explicit support.

This year, please don't let anything get in the way of your voting! It's your right. It's your duty. Vote! End of article.

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Articles in the 2000, February issue: