VideOT: Voting in the 2015 AOTA Elections

Although it may be a little late in the game for this post, I wanted to help spread the word and encourage everyone out there to vote in the 2015 AOTA elections! The deadline to vote is February 25, 2015, so don’t let it pass you by!

However you may feel about the different issues facing the profession, one thing is certain – your vote is your voice, and it’s important to be heard by the profession’s future leaders! Taking the time to learn about the candidates’ positions and plans for the profession is crucial because the decisions we make today may impact our profession for years to come.

In her most recent Rehab Potential video, blogger Sarah Lyon at OT Potential describes just how quick, simple, and important it is to vote and “help our [clients] by strengthening our national organization”! In less than two minutes, she eases potential fears about tackling a lengthy ballot, demonstrates some pretty legit networking skills, and directs you to the informative interviews she did with current candidates. And before you say “Oh no, all of this voting stuff will just take too much time…,” she also notes that it took her less than 1.5 minutes to vote. Everybody’s got time for that!

Sarah also did a great job of interviewing candidates from two of the key races (Director to the Board of Directors and Assembly of Student Delegates) and outlining their positions on various issues in very brief, easily digestible blog posts. Although the candidate blurbs available on the AOTA website are also helpful, I feel like her interviews provide more information about topics the candidates weren’t able to fit into such brief statements. You can check out her interviews and the candidates HERE!

Sarah is similar to me in that we both started blogging because the information available online about occupational therapy was very limited, and we apparently wanted to change that! I’ve been reading her blog for a while, and she is definitely somebody who’s knowledgeable and passionate about our profession. One of my goals for this year was to interview some occupational therapists, and reading her posts is giving me the encouragement I need to overcome my nerves and just reach out! She also has several other great posts about being a “mentorable” practitioner and ways to get inspired about OT that you should also check out – AFTER you’ve finished voting, of course! 😀

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6 thoughts on “VideOT: Voting in the 2015 AOTA Elections

  1. Sarah Lyon February 14, 2015 at 10:51 am Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this information. I’ve learned that on 4-5% of AOTA members vote in the elections- I would love to see that number closer to 10%. I’ve also learned how different the candidate’s visions are for the future of AOTA, which makes voting even more critical!

    I love that we share a passion for blogging and for occupational therapy. You should definitely do some interviews this year! They have been a great way for me to connect with people. One of my goals this year is to collaborate more with other bloggers. If you have any ideas, let me know!

    • lej1123 February 14, 2015 at 7:47 pm Reply

      Sarah: I couldn’t agree with you more – the information on the AOTA site was beneficial, but your insightful questions about where each of the candidates saw AOTA and the profession heading in the future shed much more light on their perspectives. After reading your interviews, I feel like I can vote for the people whose views align with mine on crucial like the entry level OTD “proposal,” professional membership, and advocacy and awareness issues that matter to me. And I’m definitely going to take a page out of your book and get started with more interviews! I’ll be sure to get in touch if I think of something that we could do!

  2. ChrisAlterio (@ChrisAlterio) February 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm Reply

    Voting would matter more if 70% of the ballot wasn’t unopposed. On the OT Connections site many of those unopposed candidates don’t even bother to answer the most simple of questions that members have asked. I don’t think we will have meaningful leadership until we have real elections with responsive candidates. For many positions, this is just a coronation and not an election.

    • lej1123 February 14, 2015 at 7:48 pm Reply

      Mr. Alterio: Thanks for commenting! I agree with you that it is unfortunate that many positions on the ballot are unopposed, but at the same time you can’t force people to take on a job if they aren’t willing. I think that while there certainly could be more diversity among the candidates, the fact remains that this year (and from what I’ve seen of your posts, in many other years as well) this is simply not the case. Even so, I plan to make my opinion known by voting, because to me abstaining says that I don’t care about the direction our profession goes, but I truly do, and clearly you do too!

      I also followed your and others’ posts in the elections forum, and it was definitely disappointing to see the lack of involvement from some candidates. In this regard I think that the election process is an area of our professional organization that is ripe for change. I would like to see our leadership take a more active role in improving what I feel is a fairly low-interest or uninspiring elections process, beginning by gathering information about why people don’t want to run, why there is such a lack of ethnic diversity among the candidates, and why there is such low “voter turnout,” for a start. Additionally, I think that the election process should be more than voters reading a blurb and checking a box. AOTA leaders should take the time to organize or host candidate podcasts, online Q&A sessions, or forum debates to make the process much more meaningful, dynamic, and member-focused and avoid what you describe as the simple “coronation” of candidates.

      And while I agree with you about the lack of “competition” for multiple ballot positions, I believe that voting still matters. I follow your blog, and I know that you are very passionate about the direction our profession is headed, and I believe that voting in this and subsequent elections is just one of the ways (besides continuing to be active in OT forums, on blogs, and via social media) in which you can continue making a difference and helping elect leaders who support the same professional ideals you do. At this point I’m just surprised I haven’t seen you on the ballot – maybe it’s time to make it the Alterio Occupational Therapy Association! 🙂

  3. ChrisAlterio (@ChrisAlterio) February 15, 2015 at 12:09 am Reply

    LOL now that’s funny! There is too much disincentive to run for elected office – most notably the current requirement to quit all other volunteer activities if you hold an AOTA office. It is an overly burdensome and unnecessary requirement for most positions – and I don’t want to give up my other volunteer activities. I’ve been banging the drum about that as well…

    • lej1123 February 16, 2015 at 12:05 am Reply

      Well…the more you know…
      That does seem overly restrictive to a candidate who should be well-qualified to balance their own schedule and demands with the position’s requirements. Something else I’ll keep in mind!

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