2020 NRA Board Election: My Choices

Note: Every ballot will have the same names on it. However, the order of the names may vary from one ballot to another. Look for the name and not the number! Thanks to David Z. for this reminder.

You will only see two names chosen on my ballot: Graham Hill and Frank Tait. There are some others on the list who may be worthy of your vote but I am a bullet voter. That is, I pick a limited number of candidates in an effort to increase the efficacy of my vote.

Jeffrey Hague of Ellendate, Delaware is on the ballot but has withdrawn his name. It was too late to remove it from the ballot. From what I read elsewhere, he thinks he can do more for gun rights in Delaware by continuing his work as president of the Delaware State Sportsman’s Association.

Existing Board members who would have been up for re-election but were not renominated include Melanie Pepper, Lance Olson, and Heidi Washington. Melanie Pepper asked too many questions which irritated the Old Guard. She had been removed from her committee assignments. Lance Olson, though long thought to be a member of “Wayne’s Posse”, somehow ran afoul of him. If you remember, he was one of the Board members subpoenaed in the fight in Virginia courts with AckMac. Finally, Heidi Washington, the Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections and daughter of former NRA President Tom Washington, asked not be to renominated.

Frank Tait is running by petition for the Board of Directors. He was the one who authored the petition of no confidence in Wayne LaPierre at the 2019 Meeting of Members. I helped gather signatures for Frank’s petition and continue to support his candidacy. He has a business background that has long been needed in board members. Moreover, he is a NRA Training Counselor, Chief RSO, an Appleseed and Revere’s Riders trainer, and an active IDPA competitor.

I voted for Graham Hill in 2017 and I’m proud to vote for him again. Graham is an attorney, lobbyist, former Congressional staffer, President of the 50 Caliber Institute, and a board member of the American Suppressor Association. Graham is an active 3-Gun competitor as well as a hunter. He does this from a wheelchair and without assistance. With the turmoil in the NRA-ILA, Graham brings the knowledge and experience on Capitol Hill to help provide a guiding hand to it.

I might have voted for Mark Robinson except he is running for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina. The time he might have devoted to the NRA will be, of necessity, devoted to his campaign.

I do have misgivings about some candidates. For example, Thomas Arvas, Clel Baudler, and Howard “Walt” Walter are all in their 80s. With all due respect to their age and experience, they are past their prime and younger, more active candidates are required if the problems facing the NRA are to be resolved. I also have misgivings about Charles Cotton who is currently the First VP. In addition to being First VP, Cotton has been chair of the Audit Committee for a number of years. Too many things have been rubber stamped after the fact by the Audit Committee. This has contributed to the dysfunction in board governance which in turn has made the NRA vulnerable to the attack by the Attorney General of New York. Then there is John Cushman who is running by petition. His comments at the 2019 Gun Rights Policy Conference thanking women for being there to support their men (3:45 mark) were sexist, demeaning, and insulting. I know many women expressed to me their disdain for his comments.

If you are voting member, you should have received your ballot in the February issue of the official magazine (American Rifleman, American Hunter, America’s 1st Freedoms, or Shooting Illustrated). To be a voting member, you must be either a Life Member (or above) or an Annual Member with five or more years of membership without any interruptions. If you qualified and didn’t receive a ballot, I’d urge you to contact the Secretary’s Office at NRA Headquarters.

On average, only 6% of eligible members vote in any year. This is a disgrace and why too many people who have no business being on the board get elected year after year. If you are eligible, do yourself, the NRA, and everyone else a favor and vote after you have done your research.


11 thoughts on “2020 NRA Board Election: My Choices”

  1. How does voting for fewer candidates “increase the efficacy of my vote”. That confuses me. I would have thought that each candidate with more votes would have been elected to the board or does each voting member get a certain number of points that are distributed amongst his choices?

    1. Has to do with lifting up one or two candidates or lifting up 25. So if you vote for 25, you have a few favorites, and then some others that you toss in the mix. Those all get elevated by one vote… if they are in a close race, that moves you and all the others ahead. Bullet voting gives a benefit to the ones you really care about, while not moving the entire crowd forward.

    2. What Amanda just explained. The NRA election is considered an “approval election”. It is a multi-person race where up to 25 candidates can get our approval. Bullet voting turns this into a rank-ordering by giving my two favored candidates a 1 and the remaining 38 candidates a zero.

      There are tons of articles arguing the pros and cons of bullet voting on the Internet.

  2. I have voted every year since I became eligible to vote, but every year I’ve had to fight to get a ballot. Maybe it is because I don’t receive a print version of any of the magazines, but every year I have to make phone calls because my ballot hasn’t showed up and we are down to the wire on the deadline to mail in our ballots. And every year I triple check my information is correct on my member account. So I wouldn’t be surprised is there are many members who just don’t get ballots in enough time to actually get them back out.

  3. Thanks.

    Next question: Given the number of solid directors who have resigned over the past year or so, what chance do we have of electing a solid majority? Given the fact that the nominating committee can apparently just refuse to put solid candidates on the ballot, ditto?

    Maybe this could be another article if you get a chance? I have been listening to the Save the Second podcast and my impression is that the system has been set up to ensure that we don’t have a voice.

    1. To be honest, right now, there is no chance of electing a solid majority for reform. It is something that will take a number of years. The very structure of the board with rotating 3-year terms makes this a long-term proposition.

      However, we need to start someplace. While it is hard to get petition candidates on the ballot it is not impossible as shown by the success of Frank Tait and John Cushman.

  4. Bullet voted also. Done… And yes, 3-5 years to get ‘our’ folks on the board, assuming the NRA still exists at that time.

  5. Interesting – I compared my ballot with the picture of yours… while the names are the same, and the order is the same, they are listed differently. Your list starts with Schreiner as #1, mine starts with Wallace. Hence, Tait and Hill are #28 and #29 on my ballot, but #36 and #37 on yours.

    If these ballots are scanned and scored electronically, how does that work — the marks in the same location will be for different candidates…

  6. “If you are voting member, you should have received your ballot in the February issue of the official magazine”

    … sort of: for those in the 21st century who get magazines through email, the ballot comes in an 8×11 envelope from D&T labeled “Important Ballot”

    I get so much snail mail spam from the NRA I *almost* threw it away. I told the SAF to stop wasting my donation money by sending me chotchkes and snail mail, I wish NRA would enter the 21st century and do the same. I’ll vote for whomever will force the NRA into the 21st century of marketing.

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