ACBA elections to be conducted online only in 2014

January 10, 2014
President’s Message by Nancy L. Heilman

For the past five years, the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Annual Election has been conducted as a hybrid election. During the election, all ACBA members who were eligible to vote received a username and password in an email and in a letter that was mailed by Survey and Ballot Systems (SBS), the bar association’s elections vendor. Members could vote either online or request a paper ballot and biography book from SBS.

In 2008, the last year in which ACBA members voted entirely by paper ballots, the association had a 28-percent voting participation rate. When we first introduced online technology into the voting process, we saw a small dip in participation. The following list shows the voting participation rate over the last five years:

2009—22 percent
2010—25 percent
2011—27 percent
2012—26 percent
2013—28 percent

I am pleased to report that with the 2013 election, we once again have a 28 percent participation rate. It is important to note that 1,512 eligible ACBA members voted in the 2013 election. Of that number, 1,468 voted online and 44 used a paper ballot. Based on member feedback, the ACBA has received a very positive response regarding the ease of using online voting technology.

Faced with rising postage costs and the dwindling number of members requesting paper ballots and biographies, the ACBA’s Board of Governors decided at its Nov. 5 meeting that beginning in 2014, the annual election will be conducted online only. This means that no paper ballots or biographies will be printed during the 2014 election, although the slate of candidates and their biographies will appear in the Lawyers Journal. This measure will save the association approximately $6,500 annually.

The ACBA once again will use SBS to conduct the 2014 election. According to past practice, SBS will send each eligible voter both an email and a letter that contain their username and password to vote in the election. If you do not yet have an email address on file with the bar association, we urge you to provide one. This will ensure that you do not miss any bar association communications, including the notice about the election.

Any member not having access to a computer may vote on a computer provided at the association’s headquarters in the Koppers Building. More details will be provided in the future.

We thank our members for their continuing support in all aspects of membership and, particularly at this time, for their support in assuring that communications in connection with the elections process are efficient and cost-effective.