Low ACS Voter Turnout | Chemical & Engineering News
  • Jan. 30, pages 57 and 90, and March 5, page 61: Kimberly Prather is a professor at the University of California, San Diego, not UC Davis.

    March 5, page 55: Ute Deichmann is a she not a he, as stated in the article.

Volume 90 Issue 13 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: March 26, 2012

Low ACS Voter Turnout

Department: Letters

Why is there only a 15% voter turnout in American Chemical Society elections (C&EN, Feb. 13, page 6)? I think the answer lies in the fact that ACS’s biggest problem is also its major asset—the size of the organization. A friend of mine and I were talking about this letter, and we both came to the conclusion that a cadre of people are active in the society, making up roughly 10–20% (our guess) of the actual membership. The rest believe the size of the organization is so large that their vote, and their voice, is meaningless.

This is particularly true of elections, since it seems the same names always seem to come up for election. There is an air of exclusivity to elective office in ACS. Only those in the 10–20% are welcome. I don’t think this is really the case, or at least I hope not. But at times it does feel that way, both at the national and local levels.

The challenge for ACS leadership is to find some sort of actions that disprove this perception. Simple words, no matter how comforting and welcoming, are an empty effort.

By Neal Golovin
Carmel, Ind.

I believe the low voter turnout occurs because the presidency of ACS means little to many of us. As an industrial chemist for most of my working life, the value of ACS to me was in the journals and regional and national meetings. The titular leader of ACS had little visible impact on what was largely a staff function.

If ACS would like larger voter participation, I suggest making the positions of ACS executive director and editor-in-chief of C&EN elective.

By Con McCormick
Raleigh, N.C.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Bob Buntrock (April 2, 2012 10:13 AM)
As an ACS 50 year member and one who has been active in the ACS and it's constituent organizations (Local Sections, Technical Divisions) and who has voted in all elections, I would observe that the best way to join the "in group" at any level is to particpate; join committees, volunteer for activites (volunteerism is the key), get to know other memebers. "New blood" is looked for at all levels. If your Local Section seems in-grown, get active and shake it up.

Granted, the majority of petitions in ACS governance, at least at the national level, seem to be populated with academics (probably becasue they get more support financially and time-wise than non-acadmics), non-academics like myself do participate. As for the suggestion that making the executive director and C&EN editor-in-chief elected positions imply a discontent with the opinions expressed by the current position holders. I disagree with the suppositon that this would increase voter participation. In addition, positions like thse require a longevity not available to those elected for a three year term. For more on this topic see my letter in the Mar. 5 C&EN

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