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American Association for Public Opinion Research

2019-2020 Executive Council Election

by Timothy Johnson, Past President and Chair AAPOR Nominations Committee

The newest slate of candidates for AAPOR’s Executive Council will be announced to the membership on February 25. Voting will begin in early March.

Ever wonder how the nominees are selected? Here is how it works.

A Nominations Committee is formed during the autumn of each Council year. This committee carries out the nominations search process, casting as wide a net as possible to identify potential nominees.

The current Past President chairs the Committee; this year, I had that responsibility. To form this year’s committee, I invited current or past presidents of each of AAPOR’s seven regional chapters to serve. The goal was to address diversity by insuring that leaders from every section of the country participated in the process of identifying and considering outstanding candidates. This year’s Nominations Committee included Rajesh Bhai (representing PANJAAPOR), Tami Buhr (representing NEAAPOR), Morgan Earp (representing DC-AAPOR), Ben Messer (representing PAPOR), Angel Uglow (representing SAPOR), Donato Vaccaro (representing NYAAPOR), and myself (representing MAPOR). This committee was approved by AAPOR’s Executive Council in October 2018.

The Committee immediately began work to identify nominees. A call for nominations (and several reminders) was sent out to the membership, along with a description of the open positions. No screening was done at this stage—the goal was to develop as deep and wide a pool for each position as possible for the Committee to consider. We received about a dozen nominations from the membership, including several self-nominations. Each Committee member also worked to identify the best talent from their respective regional chapters. Ultimately, there were some 65 names for the Nominations Committee to consider for the eight open Council positions.

As a next step, the Committee reviewed the potential candidates for each office. Information such as volunteer service on AAPOR committees or task forces, previous service on AAPOR’s Council, activity in the field, and other potentially relevant factors were considered. In addition, the Committee looked for a diversity of perspectives among the potential candidates. At the end of this process, each member of the Committee rank-ordered each candidate for each position. These mean rankings were then reviewed by the Committee, with some final adjustments being made based on considerations of diversity and balance.

Those who were ranked as being most qualified for each Council position were then called by myself to ensure that, if selected by Council, they would indeed be willing to stand for election. In total, I spoke with 40 potential candidates to gage their interest. Many were surprised by the invitation, some were excited by the opportunity to serve, others respectfully declined to be considered this year for either personal or professional reasons. I was impressed with the importance those I spoke with attached to the thought of serving AAPOR.

A final rank-ordered list of recommended candidates willing to serve for each position was then finalized, and this was presented to the AAPOR Council during its January 2019 in-person meeting. That January meeting is historically the time when the Council selects the final slate of candidates to run for election. Each office was discussed by the Council in order to determine the two nominees who would be asked to stand for election this year. Although the Council receives a rank ordering from the Nominations Committee, those recommendations are not always followed. At this stage, the Council worked carefully to ensure they were satisfied that the slate as a whole, and any resulting Executive Council, would be representative of the broader membership in terms of sector, gender, age, race, and geography. Once the top two candidates for each office were identified by the Council and it was confident it had a slate of candidates for which whoever was elected would make an excellent leader for the association, the Council voted to approve the final slate. I subsequently contacted all potential candidates who had agreed to be considered and informed them of the Council’s decision.

Now, it’s up to AAPOR’s membership to carefully review the exceptional slate of candidates we have assembled and vote to determine who will have the responsibility of serving our organization on the next Council. So please, remember to vote when the ballots are made available on March 8!

Finally, when you see members of the Nominations Committee at the May conference, please thank them for their hard work. Of course, also express your appreciation to each of the candidates who were willing to put their names out there and contribute their time and energy to serving our community.