Low Voter Turnout For USAU Board Elections Shouldn’t Be A Concern

In 2012, the top vote getter in the USA Ultimate board member election received 285 votes. In 2013: 344 votes. This year: 436 votes.

This coming from an eligible voting pool of over 40,000 members. 

I’ve already seen a lot of head-shaking about the extremely low voter turnout. But I’m not convinced that it’s a bad thing.

Most of the highest information voters — those that follow the politics of the sport, read the ins and outs of candidates’ position statements, and care deeply about small changes in the direction of USA Ultimate — are voting. Nationals level players that really feel the impact of changes the Triple Crown Tour and have a stake in USAU working or not working with the semi-pro leagues are voting.

By definition, these voters comprise a very small fraction of the total USAU membership base. And they have a disproportionate impact — already — on the decisions made by USA Ultimate. They are the ones deciding these board elections.

Frankly, the wide middle of members just does not care about redefining Spirit of the Game. They just want to play ultimate in college, or in their local summer league, and they sign some paperwork and pay some dues because they have to in order to play. That’s fine! That seems likely to be all the majority of members cares about — opportunities to play, which USAU does a great job of providing.

Much of the board’s work is mundane, completely uncontroversial, and done by unanimous decision. Yes, there are marginal issues where the board construction really does matter, but most of those issues only really apply to a tiny segment of the members: the elite, Nationals level club players (i.e. the ones who are voting in these elections).

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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