The NRA Annual Meeting will be here before we know it. I made hotel reservations for the Complementary Spouse and myself a week ago. We’ll be out near the Nashville International Airport. This means a little bit of a drive in on I-40 but it shouldn’t be too bad. We are staying over until Monday so as to attend the Board of Directors meeting which will be a first for me.
It turns out we will be staying near a contingent of my Minnesota friends who have an Airbnb rental. I last some of them at a wedding in Las Vegas during the SHOT Show officiated by the Rev. Elvis Presley (or a facsimile thereof). This should be fun.
Speaking of coronavirus, wash your hands! My friend Grant Gallagher from the Polite Society Podcast is a PhD immunologist and sent us this article on the persistence of coronavirus on “inanimate surfaces”. I can’t begin to understand most of the science. However, thanks to Grant’s translation from science-speak, it means that your average antibacterial soap won’t be that effective but alcohol based hand sanitizers like Purel and the like will be.
Grant calls this the key line in the abstract:
The analysis of 22 studies reveals that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to NINE DAYS.
Returning to a discussion of the NRA Annual Meeting, ballots for the Board of Directors election must be received by March 29th. That is a fraction more than a month away. As always, any NRA member is eligible to vote for the 76th Director if they are attending the NRA Annual Meeting. It has to be done in person.
You can review my recommendations for the Board election here. To reiterate, I only voted for Frank Tait and Graham Hill. You could vote for up to 31 candidates but why would you.
The bottom line is you need to vote if you are an eligible member. Too few people vote in these elections and you know the result by now. The average local election for dog catcher and coroner has a higher turnout than the NRA board election. That is a shame!
If you are headed to Nashville in April, I hope to see you there.
The ballots for the 2020 NRA Board of Directors Election were included in the February issues of the official magazines. Those who get the magazines electronically should have received their ballots separately in the mail. If you haven’t received your ballot and you think you are eligible to vote, contact NRA Membership Services at 1- 703-267-1000. Ask for membership. (Correction courtesy of Dave V.)
Completed ballots must be received back by March 29th. Late ballots will not be counted.
The first published endorsements that I saw were from Lt. Col. Robert Brown of Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Col. Brown has been a member of the Board of Directors for a number of years and has been a somewhat independent voice on the board. He endorsed six people for the Board. He notes elsewhere he is NOT voting for Charles Cotton, the current 1st VP.
Ammoland News is endorsing only two candidates this year: Anthony Colandro and Graham Hill. They go on to say:
Based on the last years’ controversy at the NRA AmmoLand News is very cautious in who we are endorsing as we wait and see how the NRA’s legal challenges work out. Graham Hill is one of those Directors that we know very well and have much respect for his work and trust his leadership skills can help guide the NRA in the year to come. Please Bullet Vote only for Graham Hill and Anthony Colandro when you return your NRA ballot.
Anthony’s DECADES of Second Amendment activism experience, fighting for all of us, with a target on his back, is the thing legends are made of! Leading rallies, testifying for gun owners at hearings held at our state capitol, hosting Tony Simon’s Diversity Shoot and the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club–SAW at his range. He never stops fighting! His in-your-face weekly radio broadcast reaches millions of gun owners nationwide.
The Trigger Pressers Union (a training organization) has endorsed Frank Tait and Jim Wallace. Klint Macro, the head and founder, is also endorsing Todd Ellis and Anthony Colandro according to their Facebook post.
Next up is Save the Second. The organization itself has not endorsed any candidates. They have, however, provided a valuable service by creating a guide to all candidates which can be found here. It has many links to candidates’ social media sites, endorsements, and biographical information.
They also have produced a 2 1/2 hour YouTube where they discuss the candidates. It is worth watching.
The individual directors of Save the Second have made their own recommendations independent of the organization.
Jeff is blunt on what the NRA faces and the assortment of candidates on this ballot.
The NRA is in deep trouble. I honestly expect indictments and financial sanctions to be coming down very soon from investigations being conducted by the New York and DC attorneys general and other agencies. All of these troubles tie directly back to Wayne LaPierre and the NRA Directors who allowed him to abuse his power so egregiously. If the Association can be saved, it’s going to require Directors willing to make hard decisions and stand firmly on principles. This ballot doesn’t offer a lot of hope for that, but we must do what we can with what we’ve got.
Jeff has made both endorsements and non-endorsements. The non-endorsements are those who should not get your vote under any circumstances. These include Charles Cotton, Ron Schmeitz, and Alan Cors. Rejecting these three would, in Jeff’s words, send a “loud message to the Board and the powers that be.” He also mentions John Cushman who is running by petition. Cushman has been on the Board off and on for 20 years. Jeff considers him part of the problem and not part of the solution.
In years gone past, Jeff has endorsed bullet voting. This year he has broadened the number of candidates he supports. They include:
Finally, as a reminder, I am endorsing both Frank Tait and Graham Hill. I think both are excellent candidates and worthy of your support. I am also suggesting bullet voting. The NRA Board election is what is termed in political science an “approval election“. This means there are multiple candidates running for multiple seats and you can vote for as many candidates as there are seats. Social scientists have written extensively on approval elections and on voting strategically in these elections.
Since you cannot rank order your preferences, if you vote for as many candidates as there are open seats, then your most favored candidate is equal to your least favored candidate. One merely needs to look to the presidential election of 1800 to see the consequences. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr both got the same number of electoral votes even though one was running for president and the other for vice-president. This became known as the Burr Dilemma. That election was ultimately decided in the House of Representatives.
If you see other endorsements for the Board that you think should be highlighted, please comment and include a link to the endorsement with your comments.
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.
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.