Ok, so I am about two weeks late posting this. No excuses for my tardiness (those will come in another post), just right down to it:
I lost. Again.
According to the results posted by ARIN back on 5 November, I came in 12th out of 17 candidates, with 94 votes. A huge THANK YOU goes out to everyone who supported and voted for me! It means a lot!
Congratulations to all of the winners: Paul Andersen, Scott Bradner and Lee Howard in the BoT election and Chris Morrow, Bill Sandiford, Stacy Hughes, Heather Schiller, and Rob Seastrom in the AC election. I know that you will all serve ARIN and the community well!
Far more disappointing for me than my loss is the level of turnout:
2009 Voter Statistics
3507 ARIN members as of 7 October 2009
3049 Eligible voters* as of 7 October 2009
*ARIN members in good standing with properly registered Designated Member Representatives
478 unique member organizations cast a ballot in the Board of Trustees election.
468 unique member organizations cast a ballot in the Advisory Council election.
492 unique member organizations cast a ballot in either the Board of Trustees or Advisory Council election.
I am a little shocked actually. This means that while only 458 ARIN members failed to register a DMR (and perhaps less, depending on how many are not in good standing – aka owe ARIN money), over 2,500 DMRs failed to vote. That’s only about 16% who actually cast a ballot at all. That’s a bit staggering.
What’s worse is that it is even lower than last year. In 2008, 511 ballots were cast out of 2,443 Eligible voters – that’s 20%. To be fair, registration was up in 2009; almost 87% of members registered a DMR this year as opposed to just over 76% last year. But that doesn’t do any good if they don’t cast ballots!
Unfortunately I am not able to find similar stats posted for prior years. However, based on the number of individual votes in 2002 through 2007, we can easily see that the turnout was far lower than in either of the two most recent elections. If the current numbers are any indication, only about 100 to 200 ballots were cast in each election through those years. After seeing last years jump in participation and then this years high registration rate and huge number of candidates, I had hoped that the trend would hold for ballots cast as well. Of course, I had also hoped to be elected – shows what I know! =)
Joking aside, this really is a serious problem. In order for an organization or a process to be community driven, the community must drive it. Not just a small, vocal portion of that community but the whole community. Sixteen percent of registered voters is not even close to the whole community. As a point of reference; in the 2008 presidential election over 60% of eligible voters cast a ballot. If we want ARIN to continue to be a truly open, community based, grass-roots organization, we need to engage ARIN members in a way that drives turnout much closer (if not beyond) that number.
If you have ideas to engage the ARIN community, please leave a comment or drop me an email!
I couldn’t agree more… community participation requires an active xcommunity! Any thoughts that people have to improve voter turnout are more than appreciated. From checking with other industry associations, 16% is not surprising – it’s very difficult to get people interested (particularly in the IT industry where everyone has overflowing responsibilities) on something which seems as mundane as voting in an association election. We’ve done quite a bit of work at ARIN in maintain an active electorate, but again, any and all advice is welcome.
President and CEO
Thanks for responding John!
I do understand how hard it is to get people actively interested in this industry, I am constantly struggling (so far not very successfully) to find ways to engage folks here in Colorado with the Internet Society. Although I did not state it explicitly in this post, my plea is directed much more to the community and to those members who did not cast ballots than to ARIN itself. It must be heard by ARIN as well though (as your response shows it has), since that is where the buck ultimately stops.
Although the percentage of ballots cast is disappointing to me, what is more surprising is the disparity with registration levels. I assume that we can attribute this at least in part to the fact that DMR registration is permanent (as opposed to annual). Requiring an annual (or bi-annual) DMR registration may raise awareness more than a reminder to update existing DMR info. It would most likely result in less members having DMRs but it would hopefully also cause more of the ones who do register each year to actually cast ballots – a net win.
There are a couple other half formed ideas rattling around in my head – I will try and find some time to document them more concretely in the not too distant future.
On another tack, we can look at the US Presidential election and ask how they get such a high turn-out. The answer of course is not that the responsible organization performs great outreach but that the candidates do. If the major parties did not launch massive campaigns, turnout would be much lower. Perhaps candidates for seats with ARIN should shoulder more of this responsibility and work harder to make people aware of what is going on, what they want to do, and thus get more of the members to vote. In fact it is in their best interest; if you drive someone to the polls yourself, I am willing to bet that they are pretty likely to vote for you. The best part about this approach is that once one candidate starts doing it well, it pushes the others to do the same…