Despite a very successful and fairly seamlessly run 2017 election for FHBPA Board of Directors, which just concluded, there has been some commentary on a public forum bemoaning the notice of, and participation in, this election.
The FHBPA has made significant changes in its voting process from past practices. What formerly consisted of mailing, receiving, opening and counting of ballots by FHBPA employees at the FHBPA trailer, was this year handled exclusively by a professional voting service.
Under the direction of Director Daryl Clark, a Florida-based owner and breeder, and the FHBPA Election Committee, the following actions were taken for the 2017 election:
- 5100 ballots were mailed to owners and trainers printed both in English and Spanish (1st time)
- Members were given the choice of mailing their completed ballots in postage paid envelopes provided as in the past but also had the option of voting online (1st time)
- Election information was also forwarded by email to the more than 1,000 members for whom we have email addresses (1st time)
- Notices of the election were posted on our website, daily on the overnights, at the bookkeepers office, on Facebook, on Twitter and in text blasts and weekly email blasts, among other ways
- Our Nominating Meeting is a regular annual event as we have elections every year, and it is part of our General Membership Meeting. Five seats are open every year for 3-year terms on the 15 member board
- Our Nominating Meeting was posted all of the above ways, was posted on an electric sign at the stable security gate and was advertised on the Paulick Report which also posted a story about our Nominating Meeting in advance of it. The release announcing the Nominating Meeting also appeared on the Blood Horse, Horse Racing Nation and the National HBPA website
- The Nominating Meeting was open and free to all members with a buffet dinner at the Sport of Kings Theatre which has been the site of recent Eclipse Awards dinners.
There are always improvements that can be made and we will review this election process in preparation for next year’s election. The total ballots cast, however, was 16% higher than last year even though the membership number was down 15%.
We could have a long discussion about why more owners and trainers don’t step up and run for horsemen’s boards and why there isn’t a higher percentage of members that vote.
At least in our case, this year, I do not believe it was from a lack of thought, effort and/or notice.