Frequently Asked Questions: Bylaws Change to Transition to a Hybrid Election

Find answers to questions regarding the bylaws change to transition to a Hybrid Election.

Why did ASHA consider this change?

ASHA engaged in a review of its governance structure during 2018. As a result of that review, it was recommended that the Association transition to a hybrid election for the BOD to better enhance diversity representation along all demographic areas on the BOD as well as the continued positioning of well-qualified and experienced individuals in these critical leadership positions.

Why can’t ASHA ensure diversity on the BOD?

The intent of the Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Review and the Member Advisory Group recommendations on moving to a hybrid election was to help ensure diversity on the BOD. What often happens is the Committee on Nominations and Elections submits diverse slates for members’ consideration, but election results tend to reflect one gender, one profession, one age group, one race and one worksetting. While the individuals elected have been well-qualified for their BOD positions, election results did not yield a diverse body that represent ASHA’s membership.

How does the BOD currently get elected?

Currently, the President-Elect and Vice President positions on the BOD have contested elections. Up to three candidates per position are submitted for member consideration by the Committee on Nominations and Elections. Members receive an election ballot and vote for one candidate in each position. The percentage of eligible members who participate in the annual elections has been less than 6% for more than a decade, with a decline to 4% in recent years. The candidate who receives the most votes in each position is considered the successful candidate for that position.

What is a Hybrid Election?

With regard to ASHA’s elections, a hybrid election is a combination of both (a) uncontested elections (sole candidate per position), with members having one vote to approve or not approve the slate of candidates, and (b) contested positions in which there will be up to three candidates per position, with members electing one candidate for each office.

The membership will have the opportunity to nominate candidates for all BOD positions. The office of the President-Elect and all Vice President positions will be uncontested elections, and two BOD Member-at-Large positions (one for Audiology and one for Speech-Language Pathology) will be contested elections, with up to three candidates on the slate per position.

Why was there no member vote on this resolution?

Per ASHA’s bylaws, the BOD has the responsibility to make changes to the bylaws except for any amendments involving Section 3.3, Rights Reserved to Members. Since these bylaws changes do not amend Section 3.3, it is the responsibility of the BOD to vote for or against these proposed changes.

When will this take effect?

The BOD approved the resolution at their June 2020 BOD meeting therefore the bylaws changes will go into effect on January 1, 2021. Any actions necessary to implement the bylaws changes on January 1, 2021, will initiated prior to January 1, 2021.

Who will be able to nominate members for vacant BOD positions?

The move to a hybrid election will retain several important components of the current election process. The nominations process will continue to be open to all members. The nominees who agree to be considered by completing an application will be vetted and slated by the Committee on Nomination and Elections (CNE).

How is an uncontested election different than a contested election?

An uncontested election is an election in which the number of candidates is the same as the number of positions available for election. There is a sole candidate for each position. An uncontested election often includes a member ratification process that allows members to approve or not approve the slate of candidates.

A contested election is an election where there are more candidates than there are available seats on the BOD, and members (voters) choose which ones will be elected.

What BOD positions will be uncontested positions?

This bylaws amendment transitions the following BOD positions to uncontested positions (sole candidate for each position). The slate of sole candidates shall be elected by the membership except for profession-designated offices, which will be elected by only ASHA members in that profession.

  • President-Elect
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Vice President for Audiology Practice
  • Vice President for Finance
  • Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy
  • Vice President for Planning
  • Vice President for Science and Research
  • Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice
  • Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology
  • Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology

What BOD positions will be contested?

The following BOD positions will be new starting January 2021 and will be contested positions (no more than three candidates for each position). Audiology members will vote for the BOD Member at Large in Audiology position, and speech-language pathology members will vote for the BOD Member at Large in Speech-Language Pathology position.

  • BOD Member at Large in Audiology
  • BOD Member at Large in Speech-Language Pathology

What is a Member Ratification Process?

A ratification process allows members to vote in an uncontested election. A slate of candidates will be submitted for member consideration with one candidate presented per vacant position. An election will occur in which the members will have an opportunity to vote to approve or not approve the slate of candidates on one ballot.

When will the BOD consider this resolution?

The BOD considered this resolution at their June 2020 BOD meeting following a one-month comment period during which all ASHA members had the opportunity to provide their feedback on this resolution. The BOD approved this resolution with the new election process starting January 1, 2021.

How are the members of the Committee on Nominations and Elections (CNE) decided?

The members of the CNE are appointed by the Committee on Committees (CoC) during the CoC Process every year. Members have an opportunity to submit their interest in serving on the CNE when the Call for Volunteers opens every year in January. The Committee Chair and BOD liaison recommend candidates to the CoC for final consideration. The BOD is known as the CoC when making appointments to committees, boards, or councils.

Why is the CNE expanding to 9 members?

The resolution also expands ASHA’s CNE to nine members to allow for more diversity on the committee. The Immediate Past President will continue to serve as CNE chair and BOD liaison. The resolution adds ASHA’s President-Elect as a voting member of the committee. Currently, the Past President becomes Chair of the CNE as soon as their presidential term ends, never having served on it before. This will provide an opportunity for the President-Elect to understand how the CNE functions and their role as chair in the slating process for open BOD positions prior to their term as chair of the CNE. The CNE may also develop policies and procedures to include a process for members to express opinions of candidates, before voting begins, as well as a process for altering the ballot.

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