Looking back on 2012 – Elections and Voting
Robert Longtin, Elections and Voting Coordinator, takes a look back on 2012 as well as his 3-year run as Elections and Voting Coordinator and makes his predictions for 2013.
When asked to write a reflection on 2012 from the role of EVC, I felt very strongly that there would be little to write about. Indeed, we had a problem with two votes which needed addressing which was covered in the previous newsletter, but other than that there was no real change. It took me some time before I realized that there was indeed something to be written about: for the office of Elections and Voting Coordinator, 2012 is most notable for its lack of change.
The Early Years
As some may remember in the old country, I first got involved in site politics in our Firefly-based club as the Voting Coordinator (VC). It has been a long run since then and there is much I have learned since the very beginning, which I suppose is perhaps the best place to start.
I think, for starters, it should be observed that when I first became the VC in the old country the level of responsibility was minimal – you could hardly say the position was time-consuming and if you tried hard enough you could imagine the role as being an emissary between the Parliament Leader (club-level administrator) and the Site-Wide Administrator purely for all things related to the Voting Booth. So when I say the role was nothing like what it has since become, I do mean it has truly undergone serious changes since I was first offered the position back in December of 2009 by Ashley Leighton Plom. (Has it been so long?)
The responsibilities were few and simple: sort out the ballot information with the Parliament Leader and send it to the Site-Wide Administrator, and when the vote was finished, gather the results and turn those over to the Parliament Leader, along with a few housekeeping responsibilities. The first vote I ran seemed to keep pace with the previous votes, a total of 34 turned out to vote, but I had noticed how slowly the results came in and how few the number of people there were actually voting. I began getting in touch with CO’s to try to get the word out about the voting booth to increase the turnouts.
After that first vote, I had decided something needed to be done. I decided to start keeping tabs on which players voted and in which sims those players were in so that I could start reporting the turnout for each sim so as to encourage SL’s better advertise the voting both by letting them know how their sims ranked compared to other sims for the turnout. From there the turnouts only increased. By the second vote under my leadership we experienced an increase of votes to a total of 52 which reached a 67.5% total turnout.
My keeping tabs on voters and the sims they were in was something not previously done, and with the great success it had, the position of Voting Coordinator became one of greater importance and has ultimately shaped the current position of Elections and Voting Coordinator in Phoenix Roleplaying.
Since the launch of Phoenix Roleplaying, you can say much has changed, but the days of tracking players to produce individual ‘sim turnouts’ is no more. We currently disseminate information about the votes more effectively than we did before by sending vote invitations directly to e-mail inboxes rather than making it exclusive to the site and so there hasn’t really been a need. With that, it’s hard to imagine what more could be done, and that’s precisely what 2012 has been about.
Have we really come so far that we have perfected the office of Elections and Voting Coordinators? Or are we so comfortable in how things are done that there is little reason to desire change? Or perhaps since all of the growing pains of the founding of Phoenix Roleplaying are we ready to just focus on simming and dismiss site politics? These are questions I have asked myself, and truth be told: I don’t know the answers. What I do know is that in the two years before 2012 this office has seen immense changes, not the least of them being the fact that the office of Elections and Voting Coordinator has been bumped way up to a bonafide administrative position from its previously modest role.
In with the new
For 2013 I hope to see great things, more change, and perhaps even a degree of excitement about voting like when I started tracking sim turnouts. I’d like to avoid us getting too comfortable and becoming set in our ways – I’d like 2013 to see change.
Originally published in issue #4 of our newsletter 'The Burning Question'