Yeah, I can see this. However, there are two schools of thought here. One is that people need to have their say, no matter what, and if people in the club feel that way, I can respect that. The other school of thought, though, says that each candidate is likely to vote for themselves, which doesn't change the election outcome at all, and therefore it's not important if they vote or not. Now, in an election where you have three or more candidates and you're ranking people rather than just voting for one, then it's more important to have the candidates vote, since their rankings could make a difference in the outcome, but if it's a generic vote for one of two people, I don't seeing how asking them to not vote is really going to affect it all that much.In my view, candidates should be entitled to vote, because:
-as members, they have the same entitlement to have a say in the direction of the club as the other members who aren't candidates.
-in a small organisation, the candidates could make up a significant proportion of the membership. Precluding the candidates from voting could lead to election results that did not reflect the true views of the membership as a whole.
I can see a case for this, too. I actually waffled a bit on whether or not to include this, and I can see reasons both for and against. I think it can be helpful to bring up relevant facts, but I can see the chance for misuse by talking about people behind their back. I've seen it work, but I don't think I would have a problem if people didn't want to do this.I must say I'm also sceptical about the idea of a discussion session without the candidates. It's a great idea to throw the floor open to discussion, but the candidates should be present to rebut any particularly outrageous claims against them.
The club that Alec is discussing is a democracy. If you want to stand for office in a democracy, including a gaming club, you've got to expect people to criticise you and potentially hurt your feelings. If you're not prepared for this to happen, don't stand for office.
Of course, this doesn't mean that club members are entitled to make defamatory allegations about you. The election meeting of a club needs to have a strong chair, who will sit down anyone who gets out of line. But the candidates have got to be prepared to take criticism to their face and respond to it.
This I don't approve of, for a couple of reasons. The first is that, if you're a club that needs this column, you aren't that large, and trust issues of this nature are horribly divisive already. As I said in my column, I recommend having the advisor or a third party there to oversee if there are questions about the neutrality of the counters, but in my experience, even in elections where there was some tension brewing, no one was untrusting enough to accuse the counters of playing favorites or cheating. If the election is so divisive that people seriously consider the need for "scrutineers," then you have problems far beyond what my column has addressed.In a larger organisation, I'd recommend having a provision in the club constitution that allows the candidates to appoint scrutineers to represent them during the count. Scrutineers can watch the count, point out invalid votes, ask for recounts, but can't touch the ballot papers or the ballot box.
I think you're applying political theory to an area that doesn't quite fit that realm. For one, most candidates should have some idea as to where they stand with the general members, and if they're using effective leadership skills, there's no excuse for not knowing it. They should be talking to the members and soliciting their opinions for major changes. We're not dealing with vast swaths of people across a geographically large area--they're officers in a gaming club. If you want to know what the members think, put it on the agenda for a meeting. The ones who care will let you know, and you can have a reasonable discussion to get all of the viewpoints then.I fear I disagree strongly with Alec on this point. To a politician, including a student politician in charge of a gaming club, knowing the vote tally is vitally important, for two reasons:
-a candidate elected in a close race will know he has little scope for moving from the tried and true; one elected in a landslide can be confident that he has support for his most radical utterances;
-a candidate who stands for office several years running needs to know how their vote is trending. Consider, for example, a club president who is elected to office with 70 per cent of the vote. A year later, she is re-elected with 51 per cent of the vote. Clearly, she's doing something wrong, even if all her friends are telling her everything is fine. If she doesn't know the vote tally, all she knows is that she won twice. If she knows the vote tally, she can take action, change her approach, and make sure she is elected a third time.
In a larger club, you might have a New Member Liason, who is responsible for helping new members get acquainted, but really, shouldn't the whole club be doing this? No, the new members don't have a say in the leadership on this schedule, but they also don't know much about the system yet or how things need to get done. And if they really like the club enough, they'll be around for the next election, when they'll have the experience and knowledge to make a more informed choice about the officers.Problems with holding elections at the end of the year is that the incoming freshmen or transfer students don't have a say in the leadership. Perhaps some sort of board member for them, no duties but represent the new students in making policy.
There is not a difference in the needs of the new members and the needs of the existing members. They both need/should have a say in the leadership. The greater the say in the leadership the greater the buy in when the leader(s) make a decision particularily the tough ones.In a larger club, you might have a New Member Liason, who is responsible for helping new members get acquainted, but really, shouldn't the whole club be doing this? No, the new members don't have a say in the leadership on this schedule, but they also don't know much about the system yet or how things need to get done. And if they really like the club enough, they'll be around for the next election, when they'll have the experience and knowledge to make a more informed choice about the officers.
Also, what's the difference between the needs of new members and the needs of existing members? There isn't a national organization or levels of membership or any of that--what do new members need that doesn't get addressed by having officers practicing good leadership skills?