Voter turn out is a problem in most organizations/nations/clubs that have elections. By allowing online voting, I think it at least addresses the convenience factor that many modern elections don't have. However, it still takes a fair amount of time to read up on the various candidates in order to make a decision on who you'd like to vote for.
Then you have to think about what the impact of reading through all of those candidate statements will have. I don't know that the average AHA member has a lot of insight into what the GC does and what their primary function is. Lacking that, it's hard for most folks to say who might be the most qualified to take up the mantle. So the average voter may feel that it's not worth doing the research on candidates if at the end of the day you have no metric against which to measure success.
There also could be a bit of voter disillusionment across all areas of one's life. Many apathetic voters feel that they are "just one person" and that voting "won't make a difference." As someone who has canvased for political campaigns and held office for various extracurriculars back in college, I often found myself in a position where I was talking to people that felt that way. More often than not, there is an underlying theme of being willing to go with the flow or not feeling like their voice is heard. Those who participate in the democratic process regularly can identify the issues with those arguments, but it doesn't do anything to treat the symptom. Why don't voters feel democracy makes a difference? How else can you connect their voice to their vote such that they feel they are being heard? For those willing to go with the flow, how do you show them that they can be part of that flow to enact positive impact?
These questions don't have easy answers, but as part of the GC, I would be happy to explore them. I have a couple of ideas
- Adding an "Ask the GC" panel to the yearly conference
- Making contact forms for GC more prevalent to invite member engagement with the GC
- Highlight minutes from GC meetings on the AHA website
- Adding editorials in Zymurgy from other members of the GC
- Adding a section to the website to list GC accomplishments and yearly goals
- Publishing election data (to further highlight member involvement)
- Implement voting reminders to members who are not engaged (email campaign or otherwise to be considered)
But I'm open to talking to folks about these ideas and gathering more data to make the right decisions.