Proposed Constitution and Bylaws Amendment

11 Aug 2022 2:23 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

The AJHA Board of Directors is proposing an amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws that will allow for annual elections to be conducted online in a regular conference year.

President Aimee Edmondson brought the proposal to the board in July, and the board unanimously agreed to place the amendment on the upcoming AJHA election ballot. 

Per the constitution's current language, members vote to fill officer and board seats at the member business meeting, held in person at the annual convention. For the past two years, we have conducted elections online on an emergency basis because we did not meet in person. Passage of the constitutional amendment would allow the organization to have online elections in the future even when the conference meets in person. However, because members will vote to approve the amendment at (and not before) this year's election, the 2022 election will be held in person per the constitution's current language.

When the constitution and bylaws were created, the AJHA was a smaller organization and most everyone came to the convention. Now we have more than 300 members, but our conference attendance rarely exceeds 150--many of whom are new to the organization. To be more democratic and allow all members the reasonable opportunity to vote, we aim to follow the lead of other learned societies and conduct our elections online.

Current language is as follows:

Section 3.02 ELECTIONS. In advance of the annual convention, the Nominations and Elections Committee will call for nominations to fill vacant Officer and Board seats, verify the willingness of prospective candidates to serve, and prepare a ballot for presentation to the membership at the business meeting of the annual convention. Nominations may also be made from the floor.

The proposed amendment would eliminate the highlighted language so that the constitution does not require an in-person election at the convention. Simply eliminating the business meeting specification and not prescribing a specific alternative means of conducting the election reduces the likelihood that further amendments will need to be made later as technology and the organization’s culture changes.

Per the Constitution and Bylaws, amendments must be advertised to the membership at least one month in advance of member voting, which will occur this year at the member business meeting on Oct. 1 in Memphis. [See bios of officer and board nominees.]

Dues-paying AJHA members unable to attend the conference are eligible to vote by proxy. They should send their name, email address, and the name of the person who will cast their proxy vote at the conference to AJHA Nominations and Elections Committee Chair Cathy Jackson (cmjackson@nsu.eduno later than midnight Friday, September 23, 2022. PLEASE CONFIRM IN ADVANCE that the proxy voter will be at the business meeting on Oct. 1 and is willing to cast the proxy vote.

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