IAM American Election- Let's get Lance Tschirhart in!

Dear American Members of IAM, I have learned that Lance Tschirhart submitted an application to join this election for the IAM Board but that it came after the deadline for registrations had past and was rejected for that reason.

I humbly disagree with the IAM election committee’s decision to reject his application, even if it was late. At the very least, the other contestants Braden Francis and I should have been asked if we would allow this. But I wasn’t asked anything.

I would guess there is a bit of inexperience on the Election Committee but I am sure they are trying to do their best. Still, even now, as the story becomes public, 3 days before voting begins, I feel that it is not too late to have him join the election as a contestant.

When you start criticizing the decisions of the guys that will count your votes, you know that you should not expect to win the election but you never know. Anyway, I will continue to offer suggestions for improvement to the Election Committee as I see fit.

If you too are unhappy with the Election Committee’s decision, don’t hesitate to let the Committee know about it.

[email protected]

Braden mentionned to the IAM membership how ready he was to help you out if you were from another American country. Well, let’s hear him argue for Lance right now who is a US World Memory Record Holder. Maybe USA members of IAM should ask Braden Adams for help right away now, no? If Braden and I want him in, then the pressure builds on the Election Committee to do the right thing and you never know what will happen. If you care about the healthy development of memory sports in America, not taking no for an answer maybe the right thing to do right now. Post. Email. Now. Thank you.

I am an IAM Board member contestant and I will not hesitate to rock the boat if I feel it can lead to good results. Please vote for me and only for me on Dec 13. as the the two other contestants are close partners and the race maybe close. Thank you.

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Hey Simon. First of all, thank you. The last thing I expected was to see someone take up my cause publicly and show this kind of support, so late in the game, so I do appreciate it very much.

Since this an emphatic endorsement of me, people who read it are likely to default to the assumption that you and I are in agreement about the many items in your post. I need to carve out some places where our ideas differ so that people who read the thread aren’t confused about where I stand on some of these ideas.

Maybe this is your sense of humor and I’m just a bit thick, but in my opinion, the inference we’re supposed to draw from “When you start criticizing the decisions of the guys that will count your votes, you know that you should not expect to win the election” is definitely untrue. I am uneasy even being associated with the implication that criticizing the committee might influence the way they count votes.

There is more to say, but I’m going to come back to finish this reply. I wanted to make sure to straighten that one out right away though.

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Lance,

I also want to straighten out right away something: I am not here to take your cause. I am here because I am running for the IAM Board and I need to show the members what they can expect to see from me if they vote for me. What I am doing here is to try and change what I perceive as a wrong decision for the IAM organization and it mostly has nothing to do with you personally but mainly because you are (or would be, I should say) a totally suitable candidate from the USA since you have been involved in the sport for many years.

The “I” in IAM stand for international. We definitely need someone from the USA on the Board or at least running for the Board.

As far as my comment (that you quote) at the Election Committee is concerned, well, I want to remind you that they sent me an email saying that they had determined that I was smearing another candidate when I had done no such thing. Where does this meddling comes from? I don’t know for sure. One thing is for sure is that if they want to monitor what is being said in the campaign and give candidates feedback on what they are hearing, then maybe those who will do this should be a separate and independent group from the Election Committee. Because otherwise, it becomes all too easy to start questioning the integrity or impartiality of the Election Committee.

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Hello dear all !

I am a member of the Election Committee so I can probably shed some light on this.

Lance indeed submitted a late application to be a candidate for the board of the IAM. We discussed at length within the committee if his application should still be accepted as he’s such a great member of the community and would make a great representative for the board.

In the end we decided to not accept his application because it was submitted more than 2 days after the deadline and because we had no prior notice from him that he was interested. Keeping the deadline was a tough choice but our role is also to ensure the fairness of this first election process.

There was no complaint or request from Lance after our refusal and we believe that he’s fine with the decision. (please correct me if I am wrong)

Bear in mind that the term for the board members is one year only and that he will be able to apply next year and that anyone can still contribute to the IAM on a voluntary basis. As a member, Lance will be able to make his voice heard and to work or speak with his region’s representatives at will.

We have no intention to “punish” anyone as you mentioned earlier in the communication you sent us.
We are actually a bit shocked that you would insinuate that the Election Committee could be anything less than neutral. Member of the committee are volunteering and giving their time and efforts to ensure this first election process is successful and fair.

Please feel free to communicate your concerns and to make your voice heard. If other people are unhappy with our decision, we also welcome their comments or suggestions. So far, we haven’t received any communication on this subject except yours.

To clarify your last point, we did send you an email saying we disapproved of any disrespectful communication toward other candidates as we feel you have done in a previous post. (“smear campaign” was probably too strong but again I apologise about my english which is far from being perfect)

By becoming a candidate you agreed to the following pledge: “b)​​ Candidates need to agree to a pledge before the election that they will, if elected, uphold exclusively IAM’s goals in their new office, free of any conflicts of interest. Also that they will pledge to have a fair campaign and treat their fellow candidates respectfully. The election committee shall monitor the campaigning process and take into account the candidates’ right to campaign freely and to use their freedom of speech.“

(we are only quoting this full passage from the election rules because it includes the part about your pledge)

We still approve of your open communication and we do take into account your freedom of speech. We did not ask you to remove your post and we just asked you to show more restrain in your future communication if you can.

One point that we find disturbing is that the only complaint we got so far during the election process came from you asking us to actually remove candidates from your region because you thought they were late to apply.

You are now asking us to reconsider someone’s else application even though they were late. This actually does not sound fair or even neutral, and more like pick and choose.

The election committee will not accept any interference from candidates or anyone else in our decisions. We still however welcome feedback and suggestions.

I hope this will clarify things for everyone.

Have a great day.

Sincerely,

Guillaume on behalf of the Election Committee

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Please feel free to communicate your concerns and to make your voice heard. If other people are unhappy with our decision, we also welcome their comments or suggestions. So far, we haven’t received any communication on this subject except yours.

Sorry, what is the subject that you are referring to here?

Hey Lance !

I am referring to Simon’s posts and emails about our decision to refuse your application.

Just to throw in my two cents here, Guillaume, I completely agree that the committee should make every effort “to ensure the fairness of this first election process.” Given that both applications were technically late, however, perhaps allowing Lance to run and letting democracy decide would be permissible, although I could very well be missing some of the facts. Of course, both candidates would be great :slight_smile:

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Hi Guillaume.

No, I’m not fine with your decision, and I appreciate you asking. I very deeply regret that I didn’t get it to you earlier.

The 12 to 15 hours before I submitted my motivation letter, I wrote, rewrote, and abandoned it, like I had done before. In the 6 - 8 hours before I sent it, I figured you would have fallen asleep. So once I crossed that threshold, “Of course” I thought, I need to use this time to continue to edit and then submit it just in time so that it’s there when he wakes up. I can be obsessively perfectionistic if the subject matter is important enough. I was here. It was stupid, and I’m suffering for it.

No worries, I understand and yes I agree this is unfortunate.

I will ask the committee to reconsider and also what the other candidates think about it.

Thank you.

Guillaume, actually I think it’s convenient to see candidates not restrain themselves. That allows you to get a better opinion of what kind of personality traits they have.

Sorry maybe I wasn’t clear. The other application was not late. Simon just assumed that it was and wanted us to revoke it on this incorrect ground.

The only application which was late was Lance’s one. We have refused other applications for other reasons, all according to the election rules.

I agree this election should be a democratic process, this is why we have rules and a neutral committee. I am sure the future board will be able to come up with better election rules and will take into account the wishes of the members for the next election.

Maybe some more people could volunteer to be part of the election committee next year to improve the overall process.

Phil, personally I could agree with you. As an election committee member, I have to apply the election rules which states that I am responsible for monitoring the candidates’ communication.

I am confident most people are able to make their own opinion about this kind of situations.

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About such deadlines: I think once you start making an exception people would refer to the casa Lance if he were accepted after all as a candidate when they or other people are also late. When is being late not too late would become the new question. Then everything becomes kind of arbitrarily, which probably would even weaken the election commitee. People might start to interprete why some people have been accepted while others haven not been. Just forecast this a bit into the future. I think it’s good there is a deadline and that they are strict about it. I think they made the right call there.

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I also would like to see Lance’s application reconsidered. I think it’s crucial to have an American on the board, and Lance would be great.

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Guillaume, first of all, thank you for coming here, and clarifying the situation and thank you for spending your precious time doing honest work as a volunteer for the IAM. I appreciate what you are trying to do here.

I also appreciate your comment suggesting that your use of the words “smear campaign” was perhaps too strong, as English isn’t your first language. English isn’t my first language either and so I certainly understand this.

But now I take issue with how you deflect the attention away from your decision regarding rejecting Lance’s late application by refocusing it onto me, by making public a private complaint that I had earlier and which we had settled. I am now being criticized for pick and choose, and for being the only whiner here.

It is as if you are defending your decision to cut Lance by (in part) writting public words pointing toward me as the real trouble maker here. And then you claim to be surprised that I question your impartiality… I suggest that the people who count the ballots shouldn’t be the same one who monitor and interfere with the message of the candidates. Is this a shocking suggestion? (rhetorical question)

Anyway, the point of this thread is to get Lance on the ballot Dec.13 -20. Right? So when you assess Lance as a potential candidate, you immediately realize that he is not again another Canadian but a USA citizen. In my opinion, not having any candidate from the USA is a definite embarrassment to the IAM in this election. My concern here is that you do not seem as keen as I would like you to be in regards to the general best interest of the IAM.

You suggest to Lance that he applies next year as only one year to wait isn’t that long. Well, to be frank, I feel that saying this is being disrespectful towards GMM Lance Tschirhart. Lance is not just any US Memory Athlete and member of IAM; he has a world record of memory. He is a prestigious guy in the small world of memory sports.

Him coming to the IAM and saying " I want to join the Board," and being told to wait another year for narrowly missing an arbitrary deadline and I feel that you and your committee are not showing due respect to this giant of the sport.

Top memory athletes are the ones who build the sport by leading the way with their zeal, dedication and intelligence. If you treat Lance with the words, “come back next year”, it really sends a message to other memory VIPs that extraordinary success in memory competitions and memory fame, does not even make IAM see you any differently from another average memory athlete. It is as if Lance’s success meant next to nothing to you and the IAM you are a representative of. (It is the rules that really matter!)

His great stature seem to you to be all and only Lance’s own selfish possession of no special value to the IAM. In my opinion, that is being somewhat out of touch. In my opinion, it is not the way that an organisation that seeks success should act towards its brightest stars.

I think you have a right to pick and choose as to how certain candidates are going to be treated based on a number of factors and in this particular situation, your good call is to get Lance in on the ballot.

Please stop making excuses and pointing the finger elsewhere. Do what is best for the IAM now. Each second that you and your committee spend resisting this suggestion is a missed opportunity.

Dear Election Committee, for the love of God, get Lance on the ballot on the 13,-20. Please and thank you.

Simon

Sorry if sound over the top here, but I feel the situation calls for this. I can only pray that the Election Committee won’t describe what I am saying here as interference in their decisions and just some kind suggestions.

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I don’t like the idea at all of making a difference between athletes and star athletes. How do you want to sell: “this organisation is democratic” alongside “but, ehm, well some people are better than others and have more rights.”

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Thanks for your comment Philodoof. It is great to have an open discussion about this.

I certainly don’t think the issue here is about giving special rights or not to some individuals in the organization.

I think the issue is about knowing when it is time to break the rules. One thing I did not complain about was the extension of the deadline for the regiatration and mine was on time. But I guess I could have done that since it gave late comers special rights over the explicitly stated rules that had been posted.

The issue here is about the need to show flexibility when it is time to show flexibility. I don’t think including Lance on this vote would threaten in any way the democratic nature of IAM.

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What about something like a petition? IAM members should be allowed to collect signatures when they are unhappy with a decision or when they strongly want to promote an idea. That might be a a good compromise in this difficult situation. Is there something formulated in the ground rules of the IAM about petitions?

If there were enough voices (not just ask the American candidates) supporting Lance application after all and doing so by democratic rules with a tool like a petition, I personally at least would see no reason to object. These things may allow to deviate from a rule by following rules that are exactly for cases like this when it’s controversial whether to follow a primary rule. (I actually struggle to write what I mean but I hope you get what I mean) It’s a suggestion. We could also consider to further postpone the election process a bit and give us some time to think about how such a petition should be enacted and additionally give some time for potential voices to be collected. What are your opinions on that?

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Agreed, we need American representation and Lance would be a fine choice.

What Kevin suggests here reminds me of a democratic tool called “referendum”, where people can collect signatures if they are unhappy with a specific new law or decision. If they have collected the recquired amount of signatures (which would have to be set somewhere in the bylaws of the association for this tool to work) they can demand that there has to be a vote by all members on that subject, which would settle the matter at hand conclusively. It would be a nice way to let the members participate directly and would in some way take the pressure off the election committee (or later on the board members if someone demands a referendum against a decision of the board). You have to keep in mind though, that this can slow down the process significantly.

Maybe sometime in the future the IAM might consider including such a tool in the bylaws?

Am I completely off-topic here or is this something other people would consider helpful, too?