ALA Council

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  • 1.  Non-voting by councilors

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 10:56 AM
    In addition to abstentions, non-voting also happens. At this conference, Councilor participation in voting has been lower than usual, based on a quick review of voting tallies from MW 2019 forward I did yesterday when the voting patterns at AC22 piqued my interest. I started writing down tallies from AC22 early in Council II after someone commented to me that over 20% of councilors weren't participating, and I saw that 150 or fewer councilors were voting on items. For example, if I heard correctly, 145 councilors voted on CD 56 (Council Forum), 150 voted on 25.3 Motion 2 (C&B action item 2), and 135 voted on CD 61 (bodily autonomy). It's unknown (to me anyway) how many of those councilors were excused for all or part of conference, were absent, or chose not to vote.

    Meanwhile, per the voting tallies, at MW 2019, only 13 councilors were either excused or absent for all of the votes, and a large majority of councilors appeared to participate in the majority of the votes. Councilor participation goes up and down from there at each conference -- for example, at AC20, which was virtual, the highest vote count was 170 (that particular tally didn't note excused or absent Councilors, so I used a different metric) -- but overall the pattern appears to be slowly declining participation -- which is particularly interesting given that Council was a) free and b) online from AC20 through LLX22. 

    Sometimes we really need to be elsewhere and we miss a vote, and I have a feeling that more than once in my previous terms on Council I forgot to turn in a paper ballot. And obviously in a group as large as Council (ca. 180 members I believe), people will have life circumstances that temporarily or permanently affect their ability to participate for all or part of the deliberations; it's happened to me in the past. (And two members of Council -- the presiding officer and their assisting officer -- do not vote.) I'm not casting shade or making assumptions. But it's interesting to observe this pattern and reflect on what it might mean. 

    Karen G. Schneider
    Councilor at Large, 2022 - 2025

  • 2.  RE: Non-voting by councilors

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 11:13 AM
    Unfortunately, I was one of the Councilors unable to vote on several resolutions during Council III. It wasn't because I didn't want to (I was looking forward to voting), it was because my laptop decided to stop working right in the middle of Council III. I was unable to get logged in via my phone, and live over a half an hour away from my job site, so I couldn't grab my other laptop. I did email ALA Governance about my issue, and I would have preferred to have voted, but at the time was frantically trying to get a replacement laptop from my job site. I was able to get another laptop eventually, but by then Council III was over.
    Sara Westall
    North Dakota Chapter Councilor

    Sara Westall
    SE Clinical Campus Librarian
    University of North Dakota

  • 3.  RE: Non-voting by councilors

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 12:37 PM
    Karen, that is interesting.  I would expect all councilors to 1.) Vote yes or no OR 2.) Abstain.  We are there to vote for the Association as a policy making body.  That is why I was so worried/upset about the glitches that almost caused me to not be able to vote.  With the understanding of technological problems, I would expect every councilor to submit a vote.

    Kari R. Mitchell, MLIS

    Sent from my iPhone
    Please excuse any typos