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USHJA Zone Elections - Help!

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  • USHJA Zone Elections - Help!

    Good morning to all,

    I started my day by reading Shelby French’s USHJA blog. It was a depressing experience because I found that only a few people had voted in the Zone elections.

    I understand that some of you have the jaded view that people who are not "connected" can’t get appointed to committees. This weekend I spoke to the head of one of the Zone Committees. He told me that some of the people on the nominating committees were people he had never even heard of. When I asked him if that was a negative comment, he replied that he and the other committee members were glad to get to know some new people and hear new input. These new people were appointed based on their submission of the Committee Interest Form.

    The new committee members on the nominating committees and the new people added to the election slate are useless if the members don’t act. I bet that most of you have voted but would you help to spread the word to others? Voting only takes a few minutes and it is one small step in making a difference.

    Discussion is great and debate does stir change but in the end the members have to vote.

    Thanks so much!

    Mary Babick

    Ten Days and Counting………

    7/21/2012 1:48:54 PM Posted by SFrench

    The elections for the new Zone Committee members, who will represent their Zones for the next four years, began in mid June and will close on August 1st. We have nearly 15,000 Senior Active and/or Life members who are eligible vote and when I checked today only 1,130 of you have cast your ballot.

    We have provided the election information in the E updates and staff members have been sending voters individual emails reminding them to vote and giving them the link to the ballots. Your votes do make a difference. Every ballot contains the names of individuals who are interested in serving their zone and are new to the governance process, as well as including individuals who have experience and have shown their dedication to zone governance work over the past four years.

    Please consider the candidates carefully and help create the right leadership mix for your Zone! The elections are the first step. I am delighted that a number of members have responded to my recent post and sent in a Committee Interest form. There is so much to do and the future for our association is exciting and we want you to get involved.

    Help shape the future of our sport and express your opinion by voting and your interest by sending me a committee interest form. That is basically what I did about 8 years ago and it led to being elected to the Board of Directors a year and a half later and ultimately to becoming the CEO. Who would ever have believed that was remotely possible?

    Getting the right balance in our leadership to provide representation for every level of our membership is vitally important but we can’t accomplish that without you. The first step is for all of our eligible members to vote. August 1st is just around the corner, so please log-in using your USHJA/USEF account information. If you do not have an account ID and password, you may create one by going to USEF.org.

    Once signed in you will be taken directly to the ballot for the zone in which you are registered. Please make your selections carefully as you will only be allowed to submit your vote once! You may choose up to the maximum number of nominees listed at the top of your ballot.

  • #2
    I would like to add my 2cents in that there is actually quite a bit at stake here, aside from the inevitable rules questions that arise on a regular basis.

    Input about programs now and in the future, allocation of grant money, and the level of interaction between the USHJA and local associations (the vaunted "grass roots") are all determined by those who are active participants in the governance process.

    As a member of the Long Island PHA I was given the opportunity last year to attend both the USHJA (discipline specific) and USEF national meetings. I was struck by how much influence the Affiliates (local associations) actually wield and the vigor with which their individual representatives spoke out on issues of importance to their constituents. Participation pays off in concrete ways!

    I think however, that there are a number of issues at play here in the lack of participation in the Zone elections, some which may have to do with the way the elections are structured.

    For instance, I have a farm in Zone 3, and spend part of my time there, but I am a Zone 2 native and am presently based more predominantly in Zone 2. I changed my 'official' Zone from Zone 3 to Zone 2 in January. But I'm not eligible to vote in EITHER Zone 3 (not my 'official' Zone) or Zone 2 (there's a rule stating I have to be a 'resident' for 360 days before being eligible). I filled out a committee interest form, but was ineligible to be placed on the ballot because of the residency issue. I apparently have to sit out a year, unless I get Presidentially appointed (which isn't necessarily bad, but it's not democratic, is it?)

    There is another problem, that probably affects many more members in that we have all had to choose H or J (and E is not one of the choices). My husband (a USEF/FEI jumper judge) has always been officially declared as a Zone 2 resident. His declared interest is obviously "Jumper." His ballot reflected this, and he was only allowed to vote for Jumper committee nominees. Had I been given a ballot, mine would have too, as I am also declared as "Jumper" oriented.

    However, the reality is that within USHJA, even though the H and J disciplines have appeared to be moving apart, my hunch is that there a majority of potentially active members who have overlapping interests in both H and J that would, given the availability of the choice, select both without hesitation. (BTW, within the term 'potentially active' members, I don't include those who are 'captive' members, paying their dues solely because they 'must' join in order to participate in USEF sanctioned horse shows- I assume "potentially active members" to include keenly aware professionals and amateurs).

    It is true that at elite levels, there is not so much crossover between H-J-E, but at the foundational level, all three concentrations spring from the same techniques, and there is quite a bit of 'mixing' going on. Making the membership chose one over the other doesn't therefore actually provide a true indication of the level of participation in either, and using this same paradigm for purposes of balloting means that members are only being asked to provide a 'fractional' opinion that in a large number of cases isn't reflective of their genuine day to day activity in our (singluar) sport.

    It would seem that to get a true picture of who participates in what, an overlapping selection of interest should be offered. Some would select one or the other...many would select both. If ballots are available in both concentrations to those who select both, and one or the other to those who declare only one of the two, the results of the elections would be more reflective of the balance that exists in practice, make more sense to the membership, and yield a more representative slate of committee members.
    Last edited by M. O'Connor; Jul. 23, 2012, 11:51 AM.
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    • #3
      I admittedly did not vote as of this morning.

      I went directly to the website after reading this post to cast my vote. I had some trouble finding where to cast my vote when going directly to the site. In case anyone else's brain is stuck in fuzzy Monday morning mode and you do not have the original email notification(s), here are the steps I took to cast my vote:

      Go to www.ushja.org
      Click Zones on the left hand menu
      Click the Zone Elections - Vote Now! tab towards the upper right hand corner
      Log In with your credentials
      Select your option(s) and click submit at the bottom

      There may be other methods (links in email updates, etc) but thought this might help someone out!

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      • #4
        M O'Connor:

        Thank you for your post because I wanted to write something similar but had to step away. So I will try and not be redundant.

        It would be helpful for the USHJA to have a page dedicated to ALL nominees by zone for people to stroll through. Not just their zone. Many of us participate in other Zones and while we may not be able to vote we still might be affected by some decisions. In addition, many people ask the advice of others and if we don't know who is on the ballot, how can we offer our 2 cents. Once you enter into the site to vote you can't get back in so it precludes people from "phoning a friend" to ask who they should or might want to vote for. Do you think half the moms and dads have a clue who to vote for? Doubt it.

        In Zone 4 where I am located there is some fairly fresh blood and then some that are listed for Zone 4 committee that are on 5 or more committees already (plus more USEF committees). Really? How about sharing space? So I took a different tact in my voting. I voted for the fresh blood, more amatuers wanting to participate because they will be my amateur voice, and I stayed away from those that already sit on multiple committees. One in my zone sits on 10 committees and runs horse shows. I want people who can move show management a bit not a zone top heavy with show managers. In my zone we had 10 nominees to choose from but really only six that met my criteria so I had to play russian roulette on the other.

        Mary, thank you for your posting. I hope to see a post shortly that says ALL Zone nominees are listed where we can go see what the National choices are by Zone. Now that might prompt some additional votes.

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        • #5
          I also want to add that this makes me very wary from French's post:

          "We have provided the election information in the E updates and staff members have been sending voters individual emails reminding them to vote and giving them the link to the ballots."

          So in essence we see who hasn't voted and we are selectively sending emails to people we know telling them to vote......my perception! Unless you send an email to EVERY member you should not be sending "personal" ones. We call that avoiding the appearance of impropriety.
          Last edited by Beenthere; Jul. 23, 2012, 12:13 PM. Reason: spelling

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by beenthere View Post
            I also want to add that this makes me very wary from French's post:

            "We have provided the election information in the E updates and staff members have been sending voters individual emails reminding them to vote and giving them the link to the ballots."

            So in essence we see who hasn't voted and we are selectively sending emails to people we know telling them to vote......my perception! Unless you send an email to EVERY member you should not be sending "personal" ones. We call that avoiding the appearance of impropriety.
            Hi Been There,

            I e mailed Shelby and asked her your question. Her response was that the e mails are being sent to all eligible voters who have not yet voted.

            In reference to your other suggestions about all nominees, I will send it along and see what comes of it. In case you would like to send it directly, Shelby's e mail is sfrench@ushja.org.

            Thank you for your input.

            Mary

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            • #7
              Originally posted by beenthere View Post
              I also want to add that this makes me very wary from French's post:

              "We have provided the election information in the E updates and staff members have been sending voters individual emails reminding them to vote and giving them the link to the ballots."

              So in essence we see who hasn't voted and we are selectively sending emails to people we know telling them to vote......my perception! Unless you send an email to EVERY member you should not be sending "personal" ones. We call that avoiding the appearance of impropriety.
              I guess I read this differently- I read it as "we checked the database to see who had voted and who hadn't, and sent a targeted e-mail blast to those who hadn't." I'm guessing this based on the fact that I did get one of the e-mails (and voted after.)
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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