In 2010, I saw the notice in QST soliciting for candidates for ARRL Southeastern Division Director and Vice Director. I was displeased with the League governance and decided rather than just complaining about it I would try to do something about it. I got a candidate packet from ARRL HQ, got friends at a club meeting to sign it, submitted it, and began to campaign. I traveled to large hamfests, spent much time on the phone talking to members around the Division, emailed officers of Affiliated Clubs, and sent out an email blast to the Division’s membership.
It turned out that there were three candidates that year, the incumbent Director (Greg Sarratt, W4OZK), and two of us running as reform candidates. Such three-way races historically go to the incumbent Director and history repeated itself. While Sarratt won by just over 500 votes (I came in second), the combined total of votes received by the other candidate and me was 1000 votes greater than the Sarratt received. (Election Results)
In 2013, candidates for the Southeastern Division Director position were again solicited. I asked around and it did not appear that anyone was going to challenge Sarratt. I had a new business that was requiring a lot of time, but decided that I didn’t want Sarratt to automatically get another 3 year term because no one ran against him. I submitted the paperwork to run, but decided not to campaign.
The only real “campaigning” I did was writing the 300 word statement that is included with the ballots. I didn’t go to hamfests or club meetings to campaign and didn’t send out an email blast.
On the appointed day for ballot counting in November, I received a call from the ARRL President to inform me of the outcome. I was stunned to learn that without campaigning I had defeated an incumbent Director. The vote was close, 961 to 949—the poorest turnout in a Director election in many years, especially considering the Southeastern Division had approximately 14,500 members at that time. (Election Results)
So here we are another 3 years later and Sarratt and I face each other again. This time the voters in the Southeastern Division have a significant advantage rarely seen in an ARRL election: they can compare what little Sarratt accomplished in his six years on the Board to all that which I have accomplished in just three years. They can compare how I have solicited input from the members, including conducting surveys, and kept the members informed of how I voted on important issues and why I voted that way to the absence of interaction and transparency from Sarratt.