The Elections Committee received a lot of very valuable feedback via the FlashVote survey regarding Candidate Engagement. While there were many thoughtful and innovative recommendations made via freeform comments in the survey, we would like to respond to the issues that were raised most frequently, and our plan to address them going forward.
Below you will see the thematic summary of feedback with the Election Committees response.
THEME: Have all candidates answer the same set of questions on key issues, using a common format (and limiting the word count) to allow side by side comparisons of their positions. Post responses online and in TD News (5 similar responses)
RESPONSE: The June issue of the TD News will focus on the slate of candidates running for election. They will be asked the same set of the broad questions. Responses will be published in the TD News and posted online. Each candidate will also be asked to respond to a fixed set of questions during the Candidate’s Night Forum. We are actively soliciting member input into what the content of that question set should be.
THEME: Candidates Night Format: Use a debate format for Candidate’s Night (5 similar responses), Larger venue for Candidate’s Night and video a forum with all candidates participating and promote the video. Livestream events to facilitate off the hill engagement (3 similar responses)
RESPONSE: We are planning to change the format of Candidate’s Night this year, to look a little more like a debate. We are asking for member input to help us identify the 5-7 key areas that are of most concern to the membership, e.g., public vs private use of the amenities, long-term/big picture view of TD, etc. Each candidate would be asked to respond to the same question and have the same amount of time to respond.
The number of candidates will have to be considered when determining the number of questions; we have allowed three hours this year instead of the usual two to accommodate as many questions as possible. Candidate’s Night is broadcast from the Mezzanine Room at Northwoods Clubhouse due to the live-streaming capability present in that venue. The event is broadcast live in the Gathering Room downstairs at Northwoods Clubhouse and online via a live stream to allow access to members both present and unable to attend in person.
THEME: Candidates Statements: Verify information on written Candidate statements and rebut false statements, Provide candidates the opportunity to respond to other candidate’s written statements (4 similar responses) and link to statements on website
RESPONSE: Current bylaws speak directly to the submission of a written candidate’s statement and specifically identifies the size limitation of the document. The election rules state: “The author and/or proponent of any statement or point of view shall be solely responsible and liable for the content of their statement. The Association shall not be responsible or liable for the content of any statement published …”
Vetting of statements by the committee or anyone having a formal position with the association would require a formal change to the election rules. Candidates can respond to other candidates written statements individually, using personal means of communication.
THEME: Use of NextDoor (12 responses, both positive and negative) - examples include: Prohibit use of NextDoor, Use NextDoor, No post-election whining on Next Door, Block ‘nasty-grams” on NextDoor. Additionally, Use FaceBook or other social media sites in introductory video (3 comments) and candidates host own website/social media site.
RESPONSE: TD has no control over NextDoor or other social media platforms. The new Fair Election Campaign Guidelines state “When using social media, e.g., www.nextdoor.com, candidates shall abide by the sites stated rules and regulations. “Social media participants who believe the platform is not being used according to stated rules and regulations should report such activity to the site coordinator directly.
THEME: "Off the Hill” engagement including advance notice of Meet and Greets more than one Candidate’s Night and weekend events preferred; hard to attend midweek activities
RESPONSE: The committee began publishing the dates for Election Committee sponsored engagement events in the February edition of the TD News. Three public events are scheduled - two Meet and Greets, one Candidate’s Night. All are scheduled on weekends to better accommodate non-full time residents.
THEME: Posting of candidate information including, candidate information posted at amenities, printed position papers in the TD News, email from TD with Candidate Statements, embedded video perhaps once a week, email introductory video to everyone
RESPONSE: New this year, the board of directors has approved the use of association media for use by qualified candidates running for election. This will be accomplished using electronic bulletin boards made available to all candidates and hosted on the Elections section of the TD website.
Each candidate’s main page will include (assuming the candidate wishes this information posted):
- Photo and e-mail address
- Introductory video (60 seconds)
- Formal candidate’s statement
- Electronic link to the individual candidate bulletin board
Access to the membership via the electronic bulletin board is intended to inform the membership about the individual candidate’s campaign platform, candidate hosted events, personal information candidate wishes to share, e.g., photographs, and answers to member questions posed to the candidate.
Content can be updated/changed weekly during the election cycle. Providing this link to candidate information is much more efficient and timely than emailing information to individual members. TD News is published monthly, allowing room for an in-depth article only in the June issue once the slate of candidates is announced. We will be sending reminders to access the website for information weekly in a dedicated election email blast beginning the first of May.
THEME: Solicitation - How do you want candidates to engage with you? 50+ comments, positive and negative, negative outpacing positive about 2:1. Examples: If a candidate approaches me, they are losing my vote, I can say no to soliciting, 17 negative comments about allowing the posting of street signs, door-to-door canvassing, email questions directly to candidates for response, mail to primary residence, and limit campaign spending.
RESPONSE: Per California law, candidates have the right to attempt to engage members in discussions about their campaign. Members have the right to peaceful enjoyment of the amenities and facilities. Fair Campaign Guidelines document outlines permitted campaign activities, member and candidate rights. If anyone feels their individual rights are being infringed upon they should contact the Elections Committee.
Candidates are asked to provide email address to allow members to engage with them directly. TD does not supply email addresses or mailing addresses of members. If candidates choose to campaign in this way, they do so using public means of information and at their own expense.
THEME: Online Voting - 6 comments
RESPONSE: Article 3 of the Tahoe Donner Voting and Election Rules states: “For a vote on any of the matters specified in Civil Code section 5100(a), voting by the Members shall be conducted by secret ballot using a ‘double envelope system; as described in Civil Code section 5115(a). Ballots and two envelopes with instructions on how to return ballots shall be mailed by first-class mail or delivered by the Association to all Members entitle to vote in such vote or election”
Online voting is therefore not permitted under California Law.