Michael's Message - From The Suggestion Box
We at Shipley Center always appreciate suggestions to improve the Center and/or save money on its operations. We want everything to be efficient and above reproach.
These are some recent suggestions received in response to our appeal for monetary help sent with the election ballots for the board of directors. I wish to thank those of you who have already donated over $500 – as I write this – towards the elections costs!
Have you considered emailing the ballot?
Yes, we have. Unfortunately, hundreds of our members do not have email addresses and/or “don’t do” computers. In addition, some couples share an email address, and the bylaws require us to send a ballot to each member individually. If we provide the ballot in electronic form, attached to an email, unlimited copies could be printed and someone could “stuff the ballot box”. We are aware of online voting software that enables voting online without using paper, but we are not yet ready to go in that direction, especially with every individual not having email.
Does this make sense? Why could not all ballots have been in our newsletter?
Only members are eligible to vote, but our newsletter is distributed far and wide to many non-members. In addition, households with more than one person just get one newsletter, so would be short a ballot. Finally, the return envelope cannot be mechanically easily inserted into our newsletter. Also, inserting two more sheets (candidate statements and ballot) into the newsletter does not save us the cost of printing them. It would add additional processing fees and possibly postage. So, this method would not save as much money as one might think.
Why not save money by mailing two ballots in one envelope to couples at the same address?
We thought of this, too, but to protect the integrity of an election, each individual needs his/her own ballot, sent to them individually. This is the only mailing we do each year where we can’t economize by coming things into one envelope for couples. If, however, you are getting more than one newsletter or fundraising letter at your address, please let us know and we can save money by stopping one of them.
Cost of Doing Business
We save money every way we can, but unfortunately the annual board election is not something we want to mess with that might cast any doubt on the integrity of the process. For an organization with 1800 members, the board election is just one of those “costs of doing business”.
Another idea, especially in years like this one where we had an uncontested election, is to forego the mailing of ballots and have all the balloting happen at the Center. The front desk would be everyone’s “polling place” where your membership status would be verified and you would be handed a ballot to fill out and cast it anonymously in the ballot collection box.
The downside of that method is that our members who are homebound would not have a voice in our board elections. And those who make few trips into the Center, or who live a long distance away, might have to make a special trip in to vote, or not be able to vote at all. (We have members all over the Olympic Peninsula and a few that live out of state.)
To solve this issue, perhaps uncontested elections could be held in person, and only contested elections would result in ballots being mailed out. But, making these sorts of changes in election methods would require a change in the language of our bylaws, which the board could consider before next year’s election process.
Many thanks for your ideas, suggestions and support!
My sincere wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!