One Member One Vote has finally been enacted by USCF. The movement to allow direct election of the Executive Board by the USCF membership, long a hopeless appearing lost cause which had been gaining support in recent years, scored a surprisingly easy victory at the Delegates meeting at Framingham, MA on August 11. This will allow all USCF members aged 16 or over to vote for the Executive Board beginning with the 2003 election.
No vote count was available, as requests for both a roll call and a count were declined by the chairman. It appeared that the margin of victory was wide, with at least 60% and possibly as many as two-thirds of the Delegates voting in favor of the motion.
The OMOV proposal was sponsored by Bill Goichberg and Mike Nolan on behalf of the OMOV Committee, which, ironically, had lost its status as an official USCF Committee this year. Several months ago, a motion to recognize the group, chaired by Goichberg, as a USCF committee had been defeated 4-3, with the alliance of Redman, Pechac, Barry and Warren voting no. The association of this Board majority, whose policies were unpopular, with the anti-OMOV forces may have been a major factor in the victory for direct election.
An important amendment to the OMOV motion was sponsored by George John and Luis Salinas, removing the provision allowing an adult voter of any age to vote. This possibility had been criticized by those who feared that votes would be bought on behalf of children or even infants. Another amendment suggested by Leroy Dubeck and accepted by the sponsors deleted the motion's recall provision. Amendments to raise the voting age from 16 to 18, to require voter registration, and to charge a fee for voting while lowering the minimum age to 14 were defeated.
The OMOV movement in USCF is believed to have been originated by Larry Parr, Larry Evans, and Nigel Eddis in the 1970s. Their early efforts were voted down by overwhelming margins, with over 90% of Delegates opposed. At Orlando 1997, a majority of the Policy Board supported OMOV and it made by far its best showing ever, losing to SOMOV (members elect state reps who elect the Board) by 61-33 in a straw poll. At Kona 1998, OMOV was tabled by a vote of 44-28, and its supporters angered by the cutoff of debate after only one speaker. Reno 1999 saw a full debate and a dramatic roll call vote that was neck and neck past its midpoint, but OMOV ended up losing by 45-36. At St. Paul 2000, after several speakers, OMOV was postponed indefinitely by a margin of 38-31.