Election Process Explained
By Alejandra S. Nolibos, ACAS
Annually, the Casualty Actuarial Society holds elections for president-elect, four directors, and six vice presidents. This is a process that begins in March when the CAS Board of Directors approves the year's election procedures and ends in November with the announcement of the election results at the CAS Annual Meeting.
The CAS election this year was atypical. For the first time in recent history, a candidate for president-elect was added to the ballot by petition. In addition, the campaign touched many issues that affect CAS candidates and members alike, such as the examination process and the different views on the future of the profession.
Gail M. Ross, vice president of Am-Re Consultants, Inc., in Princeton, New Jersey, is the new CAS President-Elect.
Historically, CAS candidates have not shown great interest in the CAS election process. Moreover, the percentage of Fellows voting has been decreasing in recent years (see graph of Fellow participation above). In the 2001 election, however, 58 percent of Fellows voted, according to the CAS Office. Not only did more Fellows participate in the election this year, but CAS candidates also have shown much more interest in this year's election process and outcome.
Taking advantage of this surge in interest, this article describes the basics of the election process, based on the "Summary of Election Process and Procedures" (.pdf) that was published by the CAS Executive Council (available on the CAS Web Site).
The current CAS election procedures provide Fellows with three key mechanisms for participation (represented by arrows in the diagram on page 5). Fellows can:
Suggest candidates for president-elect and board of directors by means of the preferential ballots mailed out in April;
Add candidates by petition to the slate put forth by the Nominating Committee and Board;
Participate by voting on the candidates on the final election ballot.
A different procedure is in place for the election of vice presidents, who are selected directly by the Board in mid-September, after consideration by the Nominating Committee.
In the beginning of April, all Fellows receive a preferential ballot package seeking nominees for president-elect and board of directors. According to the CAS, only 4 percent of Fellows returned their preferential ballots in 2001.
In June, the board meets to select the slate of candidates to be presented to the members, based on non-binding guidelines that include past service to the CAS and to the profession. Only Fellows are considered, and retiring board directors must wait at least a year before seeking reelection. Candidates for president-elect must also have served as vice president or on the board for three years; former presidents are ineligible. The Nominating Committee also takes into account the variety of interests and backgrounds of its membership when considering potential candidates, as well as the candidate's willingness and ability to serve.
By mid-July, the slate of candidates is mailed to all Fellows, together with instructions on how to submit a petition to be placed on the ballot, which requires the support of 15 Fellows. As mentioned previously, in 2001 an additional candidate for president-elect was placed on the ballot by petition. According to the CAS, there have been three other instances in the 1990's when candidates to the board were added to the original slate.
In early September, a final election package is mailed to all Fellows. This package includes the ballot (revised to include any additional candidates), as well as biographical information on the candidates, and updates on the employment and geographical location of continuing Board members. Starting in 2000, election materials include each candidate's answers to why he or she wants to serve and what specific qualities and experience he or she would bring to the position.
All votes must be received by October 1 to be tallied confidentially by CAS staff. Three Fellows selected as tellers validate the counts. Actual vote counts are not released unless requested by an unsuccessful candidate, and even then only limited information is provided. Terms for the new officers and board members start shortly after the results of the election are formally announced during the CAS Annual Meeting in November. In 2001, the vote counts for president-elect were released to CAS members in mid-October, with permission from both candidates.
Some Facts on Terms
President-elect: one year, followed by another year as President
Vice president: one year
Board of Directors: three years
Vice presidents can be reelected, up to a maximum term of three years
Customarily, the five most recent past presidents form the Nominating Committee