Poll

What Do You Think is the Primary Reason(s), 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?

Taking the Time to Vote Just Isn't a Priority
4 (17.4%)
They don't know enough about the candidates to cast an informed vote
3 (13%)
They don't know enough about the AHA Governing Committee to decide who's qualified
2 (8.7%)
They don't know the AHA Governing Committee exists
1 (4.3%)
They don't know the purpose of the AHA Governing Committee and its relevance to them
10 (43.5%)
Other (I'll share my thought in the comments)
3 (13%)

Total Members Voted: 23

Voting closed: March 26, 2020, 09:21:58 PM

Author Topic: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?  (Read 277 times)

Offline POPTOP

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Hey,
I thought a poll might be a good way to start the AHA Governing Committee candidate discussions.

Doug
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 12:10:48 PM by POPTOP »
Doug Piper
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Certified Cicerone
BJCP Certified Beer and Mead Judge
MALT Brewclub, Asheville, NC
AHA Governing Candidate

Offline telder4336

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2020, 09:53:55 PM »
I think that this has several different facets as to why such a small percentage of members vote during the AHA GC elections however I think the top two are:

  • Time - I anticipate that this plays in to the fact that home brewing is largely considered a hobby where members have day jobs, a family and other obligations. They may only check the website every few months to see if something interests them and if not they are off to something else. The Governing Committee isn't really mentioned on the website until elections are held so it's easily missed when these members browse the site. I also suspect that a large amount of the email from the AHA is also in spam-filter limbo so it's not seen as often as it could be.
  • Members do not fully know the purpose of and what the Governing Committee does - The Governing Committee isn't very transparent about what they do and therefore most people simply see them as a sort of "board of directors" group which is correct to a degree. What they don't see due to the lack of transparency is that the Governing Committee helps drive the direction of the AHA, what it provides to its members, events, member outreach, as well as legislation to improve the stance of home brewers across the nation.

If elected to the Governing Committee these are 2 of the items I am wanting to work hard to address. If there was transparency to the AHA Governing Committee, such as publishing monthly meeting notes per the By-Laws instead of a yearly update, there would be more recognition and members would be not only more knowledgeable of the GC but also might be willing to take the time to vote on the members that are running for election to the GC.

Prost,

Jason Elder
Governing Committee Candidate
« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 10:44:34 PM by telder4336 »
Jason Elder
KC Bier Meisters - President
2020 Governing Committee Candidate

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2020, 10:42:28 PM »
For years my thought process was basically "I subscribed to a magazine, I don't care who is on some committee I have no connection to or interest in."

Older and wiser now but I still have to make myself vote.  I don't enter competitions, I will likely never go to HomebrewCon or GABF and I have no burning issue I feel need to be "fixed".  I know a few board members from the forum but that's about it.

YMMV

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline CassieS

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2020, 10:50:24 PM »
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. 

Thanks
Cassie Salinas
GC Candidate

Offline tommymorris

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2020, 12:43:51 AM »
I am sure most or all of the board members are great. But, I don’t know them and am supposed to vote based on one or two paragraphs. That’s not enough information to make an informed decision.

Perhaps if we had regional representation I might know some of the candidates and have a better feel how they would do representing my interests. Town hall meetings or some sort of regional outreach would also be helpful.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2020, 01:30:10 AM »
It doesn't take much time to vote online when you just punch some radio buttons on a screen. Researching who is tunning evaluating their positions, and picking the best suited for your viewpoint takes time.

I'm sure most don't know there is even a GC. At my first NHC, as if was called back then, I asked why one guy I knew by his handle on the internet was up in front of the audience introducing people. I was informed he was on the GC. It was Rob Moline, AKA Jethro Gump, who passed away recently.

Most AHA members don't attend HomebrewCon, so they don't see the GC introducing people. They don't know their roles and responsibilities. They don't see a reason to get involved and vote.

One would think that the AHA Members Meeting at HomebrewCon would have high attendance. This is the time when Director Gary Glass and GC Chair Roxanne Westendorf go through the state of the AHA. Pertinent dada on membership are shown. Financials are shown for the year. I look around, and if there are 10% in attendance, that is a good year.

Members should realize they make the organization and some participating is required.

I'm on the GC. I am running for my last term. My info is below.

Jeff Rankert
AHA Governing Committee
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline trubgerg

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2020, 01:45:27 AM »
I think we need to have more opportunities for members to be engaged with the AHA.  It could be as simple as a 'brewing photo of the month' contest, or it could a matter of working towards sponsoring more local AHA events.  A person who has done something with the AHA beyond just using the membership discounts is more likely to take an interest in the Governing Committee elections. 
Greg Burt - Candidate for AHA Governing Committee 2020

~Homebrewer Since 2010~
~AHA Member Since 2015~

Homebrew Timer - an app for iOS devices

Offline POPTOP

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2020, 12:09:19 PM »
The trend so far is at least seven of seventeen people that have provide input on the poll have preferred the "they don't know the purpose of the AHA Governing Committee and its relevance to them".

Tommy Morris's idea of "Town hall meetings or some sort of regional outreach would also be helpful" seems worth further exploration. I can set that up if there's interest. Please comment below if you'd like to explore the idea further

The comments all seem to show a lack of information on the Committee and its members:

Jason Elder said: "Members do not fully know the purpose of and what the Governing Committee does"

Paul said his thought process was: "I don't care who is on some committee I have no connection to or interest in."

Cassie says: "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"

Tommy Morris said: "I don’t know them and am supposed to vote based on one or two paragraphs. That’s not enough information to make an informed decision"

Jeff said: "They don't know their roles and responsibilities. They don't see a reason to get involved and vote"

Greg Burt said: "I think we need to have more opportunities for members to be engaged with the AHA"
Doug Piper
Gourmet Brewing
Certified Cicerone
BJCP Certified Beer and Mead Judge
MALT Brewclub, Asheville, NC
AHA Governing Candidate

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2020, 12:48:27 PM »
It’s simple. We need reminders. If Zymurgy is the reminder, I am like a year behind on reading all my magazines. I imagine thousands of others have similar tales. Blame it on the rise of social networking (Facebook, texting addictions, etc.).

That’s all. That’s the simple truth.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline denny

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2020, 03:19:43 PM »
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. 

Thanks
Cassie Salinas
GC Candidate

Ask the GC happens already every year at the members meeting.
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Offline POPTOP

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2020, 04:09:15 PM »
Good point Denny! But to Cassie's point about the improvement and convenience of online voting; would an online "Ask The Governing Committee" meeting create  an additional way to hear AHA members priorities?

The evolving definition of complete transparency seems to be just how much can be conveniently access online.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 04:11:54 PM by POPTOP »
Doug Piper
Gourmet Brewing
Certified Cicerone
BJCP Certified Beer and Mead Judge
MALT Brewclub, Asheville, NC
AHA Governing Candidate

Offline denny

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2020, 04:12:05 PM »
Good point Denny! But to Cassie's point about the improvement and convenience of online voting; would an online "Ask The Governing Committee" meeting create  an additional way to hear AHA members priorities?

Truthfully, Doug, I kinda doubt it.  I dpbnt see it getting much more response than voting does.  And we now have a forum  section dedicated to that.  I don't see any questions there.
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Offline BrewBama

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New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2020, 05:45:43 PM »
I imagine most members probably have to be a member as a condition of local club membership.  If the local club didn’t require it, AHA membership would probably drop IMO. 

Why do I say that? I believe it’s because there’s no benefit to paying annual dues to an organization that doesn’t interact with the member.  I’m far more inclined to participate with Free the Hops (a local organization who conducts events at local watering holes) than I am an organization that does not interact with me. 

I mean, other than at an annual conference a bazillion miles away that most members don’t attend, when does the average member ever even see a GC member?  So why vote?

Example: Mr Glass, the President of the AHA, came to town and no one knew about it until after photos with Kieth were published on this forum. I mean it’s cool he came here and tried some local Yellowhammer brews, but why not meet people? What a lost opportunity to interact with the local membership.



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Offline Wilbur

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Re: New Poll: Why Do 10% (or less) of AHA Members Cast Their Vote for AHA GC?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2020, 06:13:12 PM »
I am sure most or all of the board members are great. But, I don’t know them and am supposed to vote based on one or two paragraphs. That’s not enough information to make an informed decision.

Perhaps if we had regional representation I might know some of the candidates and have a better feel how they would do representing my interests. Town hall meetings or some sort of regional outreach would also be helpful.

Most candidate statements don't describe what the candidate would like to do on the committee. If they don't say anything about what they want to do, why should I bother researching them? By my count, 8 out of 18 candidates describe what they'd like to do in any meaningful way. The rest are just talking about their brewing experience. I feel like I'm reading a mad lib most of the time. I also have no idea what qualifications are needed. What does AHA staff do vs. the GC?

I don't know what the GC does, and the meeting minutes don't give any meaningful information on what was discussed or what the GC does. Example-diversity subcommittee. What is the strategic plan? What was proposed?

Quote
• Diversity
» Co-Chairs: Debbie Cerda and Roxanne Westendorf
» Change name to Diversity and Inclusion
» Membership has recently been updated
» Now that the strategic plan has been created, will be
moving to project work.

I was at the meeting last year, a lot of members provided feedback. None of that is captured in the meeting minutes. My city provides an agenda, minutes, and video for all of their meetings. You can look at meeting minutes all the way back to 1957! I don't see a reason why something similar couldn't be provided for all GC meetings. They already have video of all the seminars. I don't know how (or how often) the GC or subcommittees meet, but most video chat software has some kind of recording function.

https://cdn.homebrewersassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/20191202092036/AHA-Government-Committe-Meeting-Notes_2019.pdf

Quote
Good point Denny! But to Cassie's point about the improvement and convenience of online voting; would an online "Ask The Governing Committee" meeting create  an additional way to hear AHA members priorities?

The evolving definition of complete transparency seems to be just how much can be conveniently access online.

The AHA has 46k members. About 2.5k make it to Homebrewcon. Knowledge of what the AHA is doing shouldn't be dependent on the ability to travel across the country and pay $250 to get into a conference. If the AHA is serious about accessibility, then they need to make an effort to provide opportunity to people that can't afford the time off or money to attend Homebrewcon. What's your definition of transparency?


Offline jrausti2

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I would definitely agree with lack of information being the main cause for lack of votes.  Either individuals don't know the committee exists, or don't know its purpose.  The solution to this problem, is obviously complex to say the least.  One possible idea, would be to assign regions to the current / future committee members and give them a contact list with the e-mails of AHA members within that region, and then have a monthly newsletter going out to create more involvement.  Not everyone attends NHC, or even the AHA rally's in their areas.  So, I feel a direct communication would be best, and when the time comes to have the next election they would be more informed on what they are voting for and how it benefits them.

Joshua Austin
2020 Governing Committee Candidate
Head Brewer
Fermented Nonsense Brewing
jaustin@fermentednonsense.com