June 30, 2014

Online voting is closed

June 30, 2014 ... The first online elections for Optimist International officers ended about two hours ago. I'm not sure how I thought I would feel at the end of this race, but I can tell you now that I'm a little anxious and ultimately relieved.

The polling window was 30 days - the entire month of June. However, candidates in contested races began campaigning on April 1. Now in a national election, there are a number of different positions one can take that will generate supporters and detractors, but in an organization that represents service clubs, there is only so much one can say. The primary message was simply to vote and in order for that to happen, we had to ensure the email address on record with Optimist International was correct for every Optimist Club president.

In the West Coast Region, I can say that there were probably less than 40 Optimist Clubs that were unable to cast ballots. Some had no email on file and some were incorrect. We did our best to get those whose emails were incorrect corrected; however, the others were probably left out. I'm not sure how Optimist International addressed them.

For my analysis, I will say that it's been an experiment in the use of social media among Optimist Clubs. I will also say that I don't really believe that Optimist International was at a point that it should have conducted the experiment. There was a great amount of strategic communication that should have taken place before this endeavor began. Optimist Clubs should have received direct, written communication about the process far enough in advance that they could have corrected their emails and paid their outstanding financial obligations.

Most important, Optimist International should have created a printed and online bulletin that introduced the candidates for office. In the past, it has done this, but this year, it relied on the online candidates' pages created for that purpose. The pages were helpful, but available only to those who were made aware of them largely by the candidates themselves.

In conclusion, it was a good effort and I'm glad I threw my hat into the ring to participate. Like the first time for anything, there are things that can be improved. They say we'll know the results tomorrow, July 1, and I am thinking only of the best; but whatever the outcome, I sincerely appreciate those who have shown me support.

And I hope that Optimist International will look to the candidates in this historic election to advise changes in the coming years.
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