Democracy in a Small Pond: HFES Nominations and Elections

Keywords Democracy in a Small Pond: HFES Nominations and Elections HFES Bulletin Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
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Only you know if you have the interest and time to serve the Society. That is the point, since this is not a glamour contest. By nominating yourself, you are not
declaring that you know all the answers or are the better person. You are not tooting your own horn or patting yourself on the back. What you are saying is that you are willing to serve the Society and do the best you can to make it the best organization it can be for the members, your colleagues and friends. You are saying that you are willing to put in the time and effort to facilitate ways to meet the professional needs of those colleagues and friends. Therefore, Members who are interested and willing to serve should not shrink from nominating themselves if they are so inclined.

Nominating others is often inhibited because someone may HFES BULLETIN • JANUARY 2003 1 Unlike most professional societies, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is a true democratic institution with free and open nominations and elections. On the one hand, such a foundation ensures that the membership has a voice in HFES and a strong role in choosing its leadership. On the other hand, that voice comes at a price, which is the price of participation.
Over the last few years, there has been a small but noticeable decline in the number of Members participating in the process, particularly the nominations process. (Only full Members can vote or hold office.) Some view this trend as a reflection of apathy among the membership that parallels apathy in the general U.S. populace with regard to elections. That may be true, but it is a sad
testimonial that also reflects a reduction in professional responsibility
and shortsightedness regarding the importance even one nomination or vote can have in this small pond we call HFES. The fact is that, in any given year, filling out a nominations form and voting on an election ballot might take five minutes and cost (at today’s postage rate) $0.74. This represents a minuscule
investment of time, effort, and cost relative to almost any activity we undertake in our lives. Many people may not participate primarily because of a lack of knowledge about the process itself. In this article, I attempt to enlighten you as to how you can participate in the HFES nominations and elections process.

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