Denver Bar Association
November 2001
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Should Denver Bar Association officers be elected or selected?

Your opinion counts and we want to know.

Should Denver Bar Association officers be elected or selected? Your Board of Trustees has that question under consideration and would like member input and comment. Please read the pros and cons below and put in your two cents by sending an e-mail to or a fax to Diane Hartman at (303) 861-5274. Tell us whether or not you favor changing our current system, and why. Deadline for comments is Nov. 7.

In the 1960s, the DBA went from a "slate" system (like the CBA) to an election system. Those who agree to be nominees are featured in The Docket. Votes are mailed or faxed in (to an accounting firm, which counts the votes). Usually about 900 members (13 percent of the membership) cast ballots.

Argument in favor of changing the system back to a "slate":

  • It’s becoming more difficult to find people willing to stand for a contested election for a variety of reasons. Those candidates who are not elected tend not to be willing to run for office—particularly the presidency—again.
  • Our nominating committee has traditionally selected capable, qualified and diverse candidates to run. Those not elected may not stay involved. As a result, we’re losing out on the services of some outstanding leaders.
  • Election returns are quite small.
  • The election may have become a "name recognition" contest. Some bar members, who have worked hard and effectively on bar committees, are not as well known and are often passed over on the ballot. A slate would make it easier for these members to take office and for the DBA to have the benefits of their leadership.
  • Although it’s discouraged, campaigning is becoming more common.
  • Arguments against changing the present system:

    • Even if only a small percentage of members vote, it’s not appropriate to eliminate the right for all members to vote.
    • Members may fear there will be a reduction in diversity (on any scale: nature of practice, size of practice, gender, ethnicity, point of view, etc.)
    • We may not have covered all the pros and cons—but, please let us know what you think about this issue.

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