January 13th, 2021

Gavel of WSFS

A Bad Case of the Proxy

I periodically hear people saying that the WSFS Business Meeting should allow members to vote by proxy. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea and would speed up matters should have a look at the various votes that the US House of Representatives are taking. They've been allowing proxy votes since the pandemic started, and it has turned "15 minute" votes into "hour-plus" votes due to the need for every proxy-holder to come to the floor and declare the votes they're holding. And this is for a fixed-membership body. Can you imagine what would happen with a WSFS Business Meeting? I can certainly see the possibility of one person showing up with a thousand proxies and effectively saying, "The rest of you can go home, because I outvote you on everything."

Cases for proxy voting in a mass-membership body like WSFS in my opinion really mean that the current governance system should be replaced with a smaller fixed-membership representative body, with important decisions (like Constitutional amendments) ratified by a vote of the entire membership. I tried making the second part of that happen once, but the Business Meeting rejected it. That doesn't surprise me. How many legislative bodies vote to take way their own powers?