From the AHA Activities column in the December 2001 Perspectives
AHA Election Affected by Postal Delays
Arnita A. Jones, December 2001
As members know, recent acts of terrorism have created many problems with the postal system in Washington, D.C. One result is that the AHA has received almost no mail during the last two weeks of October. This was a particularly unfortunate time for this to happen. Not only is this normally a heavy season for membership renewals and annual meeting pre-registration, it is also a crucial period in the balloting for our elections.
Our constitution obliges us to count ballots received in the office by November 1. At that point we typically send them to Survey and Ballot Systems, Inc., in Minnesota, where they are scanned. The results are then notarized and sent back to us. Because there is a reasonable chance that many ballots mailed even well before the November 1 deadline have been held up in the postal system, the Council accepted the recommendation of the executive director and the president that we delay counting the ballots so that we can include all of those postmarked no later than October 31, 2001 if received in the office by November 30, 2001. We decided on November 30 as the cutoff date because it is entirely possible that it will be a while before normalcy returns to the mail service. Recent weeks have seen increasing pressures on the mail system here. Some mail from Washington, D.C. is being shipped to Ohio for treatment and then may be sorted piece-by-piece upon return to D.C.
Any inconvenience this decision creates for candidates (who have been individually informed) and other members is regretted. But we believe it is in the best interest of the Association to make every possible effort to count the ballots that were prevented from arriving at the office due to circumstances beyond the control of members who mailed them. The results will be announced as soon as possible after the November 30 deadline.