I wish to put on record the reasons why I formally requested a review of the votes in the recent ballot for directors of the FCCJ.
I joined others in making a request to the Election Committee for a review of the ballot (as is provided for in Club bylaws) but this was flatly rejected, with no reason being given.
I then requested (in my own name) that the outgoing Board sanction a review, but received no response other than being copied in by immediate past-President Monzurul Huq on a message that he had sent to the Election Committee stating that in his opinion the Board had no standing in the matter.
First let me dispel any notion that I am motivated by being a “bad loser.”
When I first ran for the presidency of the FCCJ (after serving as First Director and then First Vice President) the Number 1 Shimbun described me as a “Good Loser” after I warmly congratulated my successful opponent, Bob Neff, on his victory. On subsequent occasions when I ran unsuccessfully for the presidency (albeit defeated by narrow margins), I always congratulated my opponents and joined in the celebrations afterwards.
After serving as President -- I think I can say with a number of positive achievements to my name -- I subsequently ran several times as a Director at Large and again made a point of joining the post-election celebrations even though I was not elected on those occasions.
I mention this because so great was my shock and sense of incredulity upon seeing the results of the most recent election that I was unable to bring myself to stay at the Club, let alone join in congratulating the successful candidates.
So huge -- and consistent -- was the margin of difference between votes given to successful candidates and those awarded to unsuccessful ones, that I assumed some miscounting might have occurred.
For example, the winning candidate for the presidency polled 155 votes to the 66 scored by his opponent. In the case of the contest for the First Vice President’s position the successful candidates scored 151 votes and his opponent only 66, almost identical scores.
In the case of the contest for the position of Secretary, yet again the scores and the margin of difference were remarkably similar -- 161 to 52. There was a somewhat smaller margin in the case of the contest for Second Vice President -- 134 to 83 -- but again the difference was large.
We do not vote for “parties” in FCCJ elections but rather for individuals whom we think are best qualified to serve in respective positions. Thus, while I can understand that any one particular candidate might prove to be much more popular than his or her opponent, for whatever reason, I cannot easily see how such heavy defeats could have been inflicted on just about all the unsuccessful candidates for principal office this year.
In my own case, I polled the second-lowest number of votes in the contest for the position of Director at Large, but I attribute that to the greater popularity of candidates other than myself.
My initial conclusion was that certain votes might have been miscounted or misattributed and therefore I requested a recount in the presence of suitable officials, in order to dispel any doubts. I feel it highly regrettable that this request was not granted.
I have not suggested any unethical behavior on anyone’s part, and since I assumed that there was nothing to hide -- other than perhaps some statistical error -- I believed that my request would not be challenged.
Assuming that all votes were accurately counted and attributed, one can only conclude that we have some very efficient prior “marshalling” of votes in FCCJ Board elections, which hardly seems to serve the best interests of democracy.
People should surely be elected on their record and on the basis of their contributions to the Club rather than at the dictates of a “voting machine.” It would be constructive if we could devise ways of overcoming this problem, such as a blanket ban on campaigning on behalf of others with only the actual candidates being allowed to defend their records before the membership.