Please vote in the SAA Elections

And, this year I am only endorsing one candidate–myself. Yes, it’s true. I am a candidate for SAA Council, and I’d like your vote.

If you’re an SAA member and you’re a regular reader of this blog or follow me on Twitter, you probably have a pretty good idea what my interests and values are, and you’ll know even without reading my statement whether or not you think I’d be a good Council member. (But, please, by all means, read my statement and those of the other candidates. I know I worked hard on mine and I’m sure they did too. You can learn something from them.) But, I’m going to make two specific requests.

First, if you’re a student member, please vote. I have noted over the past several years as the number of student members has increased rather dramatically, the overall percentage of SAA members who vote has declined (see stats in comment on this post). I don’t really remember, but I think when I was a student I either didn’t vote or only voted for people whose names I knew (usually because they had written a required reading). In the discussion on Twitter this morning about student voting some people said they thought it was because:

“You really have to attend a number of annual meetings to have an informed opinion on these things. No number of personal statements makes up for personability”

“As a student I didn’t feel clued-in to the ‘scene’ to vote responsibly, but I hope today’s students are more w/it!”

“Students are less active in SAA, feel tentative due to lack of experience, and don’t know who leaders are.”

“And I know a lot of students join SAA just to get the discounts on books”

If you’re a student, you may agree with some of these statements or none of them, but I encourage you to take the time to read the candidates’ statements and vote this year. According to the FY2008 Annual Report, student membership is the single largest category, representing 21.5% of all SAA members. You may not feel as connected to the organization, but statistically you’re a big part of it. Take a few minutes to think about who you want its leaders to be, and vote.

Second, I not only want your vote, I want the votes of your friends too. I admit that I feel like I’m an underdog. I imagine people who don’t know me will look at my biographical information and say, “Wait, she doesn’t actually work in archives any more. Why should I vote for her?” So, if you’d like to have me representing you on Council, please share why you feel that way with a couple of your SAA-member friends. I can’t offer you any bribes, but I really would appreciate it.

As they say about the Oscars, it’s an honor just to be nominated. I’m sure some of you readers had something to do with that, so thanks for your support. And, now, in the immortal words of Cute Overload:

vote stoat 1

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5 thoughts on “Please vote in the SAA Elections”

  1. In 2009 21% of eligible members voted. In 2008 it was 22.5. In 2007 it was 24.9%. In 2006 it was 29.3. (It dipped down to 27.5% in both 2005 and 2004, and was back up to 29.3% in 2003.)

    Between 2006 and 2009 the number of votes hovered between 1,000 and 1,100 (1077, 1017, 997, and 1068 respectively.) While membership climbed from 4,613 to 5214 (that last number is for FY2008. I couldn’t find the membership total for 2009.)

    You can access information about participation in elections in the May/June issue of Archival Outlook each year, and annual membership information is posted in the Annual Reports (http://www.archivists.org/governance/annualreports/SAA.asp).

  2. Thanks! And I voted for you, of course. It didn’t seem right to do endorsements this year under the circumstances, but I’m happy to let people know you got my vote.

  3. Congratulations on being nominated, which of course is an honor, but I hope to congratulate you again when the results are announced. As someone fairly labeled a Voting Dork*, the low voting rates in professional organizations does bother me and I applaud the efforts to encourage those who might not otherwise make those few clicks of a mouse to do so. I think voting is just about as easy as it is going to get at this point with the current online system, so it really does need to come down to encouraging more participation at this person-to-person level. There is also of course the need for the Nominating Committee to put forward candidates members are eager to vote for. I know I was eager to vote this year and spent time really considering who would get the click of my mouse, so Arian, if you win I hope I’ll have the same “problem” next year.

    *I stood in line a week after my 18th birthday before school to vote in my first Congressional election. In college, I waited in line 2 hours to vote. Man, I have too many of these examples…

  4. I too find the voter turnout to be disappointing. However, I wonder how many people join professional organizations and SAA just to list it on their CV or because they feel like they should in order to be a professional and have little interest in the actual activities it undertakes?

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