Division Elections Conducted by APA and the Apportionment Ballot

The following information has been developed to answer general questions that divisions may have with regard to the election of division officers and the annual Apportionment Ballot used to determine seating on the Council of Representatives. For further information contact APA Election Officer Garnett Coad by telephone at (202) 336-6087.

Division Officer Elections

Each year APA offers divisions the opportunity to include their slates of candidates for election on the APA Council representatives election ballot. Divisions may opt to conduct their own elections with the exception of APA Council representative(s) which must be done by APA. APA members receive only those slates for divisions in which they hold membership (as noted on the members' APA database record).

APA sends the ballot to all voting members of APA (Fellows, Members and voting Associates). However, if the division's bylaws extend voting privileges to its non-APA members, it is the division's responsibility to have a ballot sent to those persons and to contact the Election Office with information on those returned ballots. Divisions in this situation may wish to contact the APA Election Officer to arrange for APA to prepare, mail and count their non-APA members' as well as their APA members' votes. Divisions should contact the Elections Officer by February 15th to arrange this special service.

Schedule for Division Officer Elections


Call for candidates for Council Representative and division officers to be included on the APA ballot are sent to divisions and states. Deadline: February 15.

Request for mailing labels for those divisions whose affiliates have voting privileges sent. Deadline: March 1 or next business day.

Late February

Final slates are faxed to the division's Nominations Chair for final approval. Deadline: On receipt.

April 15 or Next Business Day

APA election ballot mailed. Deadline: June 1 or next business day.


Results are certified by the APA Elections Committee. APA contacts the division's nominations chair or the person who approved the final slate. The division is responsible for notifying the candidates of the election results.

Qualifications for Officers

The APA Bylaws carry few restrictions as to the qualifications of a division's officers and the manner in which they are chosen.

  • APA Bylaws require that each division have a president and a secretary.

  • APA Bylaws require that only voting members of APA are allowed to nominate and elect their Council representatives.

  • Additional officers, qualifications for officers, and the means by which they are elected or appointed is determined by the division.

  • The criteria for candidates and the terms of division officers are established by the division and reflected in its bylaws.

  • Unless specifically prohibited by divisional bylaws, a person may hold as many offices within divisions to which s/he is elected.

Qualifications for Council Representative

  • A candidate for APA Council must be an APA Member and a member of the division or state/provincial association which s/he represents.

  • No person is eligible to serve as Council representative at one time in more than one position or to run for the office of Council Representative from more than one voting unit.

  • A Council member who has served six consecutive years is not eligible for election or appointment for a period of one year as a representative from any eligible unit.

  • If an elected Council representative is no longer a Member of APA, the division may designate another eligible member as its representative for the remainder of the term. Notice of the election or appointment should be sent to the APA Recording Secretary.

The APA Council of Representatives urges divisions and state/provincial associations to keep in mind the need for ethnic minority representation when elelction ballots for Council membership are prepared.

Final Election Ballot

The final election ballot must present at least two candidates for each Council seat allocated to the division.

If the division's bylaws do not specify the number of candidates to be placed on the ballot for other division offices, the chair of the nominating committee or secretary/treasurer of the division is responsible for determining the number of candidates needed and the preparation and submission of the slate of candidates.

Divisions are responsible for determining the eligibility and willingness to serve of each nominee. The list of candidates for each office should be submitted in alphabetical order. The draft slates are sent to each division's nominations/elections chair or secretary/treasurer for confirmation.

Election Results

APA uses the Hare system for division officer and Council representative elections. This is a preferential system of counting that asks the voter to rank the candidates in order of his/her preference. In tallying the vote, a quota is established by totaling all valid ballots, dividing the total by one more than the number of persons to be elected, and adding one to the result. Ballots are sorted by first choice on each ballot. A candidate is elected if he/she reaches the quota. If no individual reaches the quota on this first count, then the candidate with the fewest choices is declared defeated and the ballots of that candidate are redistributed to the remaining choices, if any. This procedure is contined until an individual has reached a majority vote or until all but one candidate is defeated.
The nominations/elections committee chair or the secretary/treasurer is sent a copy of the vote tabulation for his/her division.

It is the responsibility of the divisions to inform the successful and defeated candidates of the results of the election ballot.

The Apportionment Ballot

The Apportionment Ballot is conducted annually to determine the composition of the following years' Council. The system used combines the original Albee Commission plan developed in 1966 and the Wildcard plan adopted by the membership in 1997.

Each voting member of APA receives a ballot with ten votes to distribute among eligible constituencies (divisions and state/provincial associations) according to his/her interests. Each division and state/provincial association is invited to send an accompanying statement (100 word limit) to solicit members' votes. The statement generally outlines the mission and important activities that the organization is currently undertaking.

A division or state/provincial association receives one Council seat for each 1% of the allocated votes calculated as shown:

If allocated votes less than .5%, 0 seats awarded.
If allocated votes .5% to less than 1.5%, 1 seat awarded.
If allocated votes 1.5% to less than 2.5%, 2 seats awarded.
If allocated votes 2.5% to less than 3.5%, 3 seats awarded.
If allocated votes 3.5% to less than 4.5%, 4 seats awarded.

In addition, 48 "wildcard" seats are allocated to divisions and state/provincial associations (SPPAs) based on the proportion of the total votes allocated to divisions and to SPPAs. If, for example, the results show a 66.6:33.3 ratio (divisions:SPPAs), then 32 additional seats would be awarded to divisions and 16 to SPPAs. Seats would first be given to the divisions or SPPAs that did not receive a first seat in the initial allocation. "First seats" would be awarded in the order in which the units approached the 0.5% threshold. If seats remain in either the division pool or the SPPA pool after "first seats" have been distributed, then the remaining seats would be awarded to the unit (divisions from the division pool, SPPAs from the SPPA pool) that came closest to gaining a next seat, until all 48 "wildcard" seats are distributed.

The results of the apportionment ballot, together with the current membership of Council, are taken into account as the Election Office generates a listing of division and state/provincial association vacancies on Council for the following year. It is important to note that:

  • A division or state/provincial association that is allocated fewer seats for one year than those allocated the previous year must recall the appropriate number of representatives.

  • If the division has more than one representative serving on Council, it will be the division's responsibility to determine which representative will be recalled.

  • Once a representative is recalled, the individual's term is over (APA Bylaws, Article V, Section 4). Even if the division regains the lost seat on the next apportionment vote, a new election for Council representative must be held to fill the seat.

Ideas to Increase Member Participation

To increase the chance of a good turnout for your division on the Apportionment Ballot, alert your members that the ballot is coming and let them know that you would like their support.

Out of APA's over 80,000 Voting Members, only 35% in 1996 and 28% in 1997 returned a completed Apportionment Ballot. Encourage your members to vote.

For purposes of timing your membership notice, APA sends the Apportionment Ballot out on November 1 (or the next business day) by third class mail. Many divisions mail their notices a few days prior so that members get them just before they receive their ballots.

Making certain that your members know the value of the division's participation in Council activities is also important. Information on current APA Council activities in your division's newsletter and listserv will serve to highlight that importance and increase the chance that your members will understand the implications of the Apportionment Ballot and, thereby, increase the chance that they will fill out and return their ballots.

Schedule for Preparation of Apportionment Ballot

First Week of August

Mission statements are sent to division presidents for review and approval. Deadline: September 15.

November 1 or Next Business Day

Apportionment ballot mailed. Deadline: December 15 or next business day.

First Week of January

Apportionment ballot results announced.