Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Challenges of Explosive Growth

There has been some chatter on the blogs, forums and Twitter about our balloting process. I would like to take this opportunity to share the inside scoop.

Our constitution calls for individuals to be members 14 days prior to the Leadership vote to be eligible to cast a ballot. This avoids the situation that other parties have experienced with what is often referred to as “two-minute” members. Also we currently have a “one-member, one-vote” system; this too avoids issues we see in other parties with a delegate system, where they can be strong-armed by the powers that be. I favour both of these democratic practices we have in place, but they are not without their own challenges.

Early September we had 4000 some members that we knew of. The candidates also had their own lists on the go and were not required to share their numbers with us, though we did ask. Based on our projections, we ordered 10,000 ballots. The ballots went out in three batches to members as soon as we had their information.

The first was sent out directly from the printer in Edmonton, on September 24. These went to roughly one third (of what we now know are eligible) of the membership.

The second went out on October 1, again directly from the printers. This accounted for the second third of the membership.

It was not until September 28th that we knew for certain we would need more ballot packages, we ordered 5000 more; and normally they take 10 days to produce. We asked the printer to expedite the printing and compiling of the packages. We also asked the printer to send them to us as they were compiled so we could expedite getting them out. Thus we got some within 7 days of order.

The third mailing went out to everyone whose information we received between September 25 and October 2. It was sent out by our office as it was faster for us to affix labels than to have the printer do the additional task of tailoring envelops. With them coming to us from the printer in this fashion we were able to prioritize the order they were sent out.

Rural went first because those had the greatest distance to travel.
Edmonton next as city to city is a bit faster.
And lastly to Calgary as mail within the city is fastest.

All were taken directly to Canada Post’s main sorting depot and were quickly in distribution, they did not sit in a mail box for any length of time. The mail is being turned around very quickly. By Friday the 9th we already had ballots back that we mailed out on Monday and Tuesday.

The ones that were sent out the latest (to Calgary) represent about 10% of our grand total and from what we can tell nearly 80% of those were already delivered by Friday to the members. The bulk of the remainder will in all likelihood be received by members on Tuesday, still allowing the time to get them back to us.

I anticipate voter turn out to be just over 70% or roughly 8100+ votes. With the member cutoff date being October 2nd, we knew we would not be getting most of late members ballots back until the week leading up to the convention.

We are at the midpoint of the voting timeframe and as of Friday the 9th we have received back nearly 3000 ballot envelops. We know from speaking to members, many of these contain 2 or more ballots. It is my estimation that we already have more than 50% of the ballots that will be cast.

I want to assure members that my staff and I have done everything within our power to accomplish this task. We have been working long hours and next week the office will be open late, to the public on Tuesday and Thursday. I am confident the majority of our members who desire to vote, will be able to do so.

The Leadership Committee is fully apprised of the situation and they will be updated daily; should they deem any other provisions need to be made the membership will be advised accordingly.

If you have a specific inquiry please email me, be sure to include your full name and address.

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