The first three-way election for the head of the Virginia State Bar will also be the first online VSB election.
The VSB has contracted with an online balloting firm to conduct this fall’s voting for VSB president-elect. Three attorneys are in the running, and the winner will take office as VSB president in June 2016.
The candidates – so far – are Raymond B. Benzinger of Arlington, Michael W. Robinson of Tysons Corner, and former VSB executive director Thomas A. Edmonds of Richmond.
Lawyers have until Oct. 1 to submit the required 50 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Voting begins Oct. 31 and continues until the close of business Dec. 1, according to the VSB.
The VSB Council approved online voting in 2012 to increase participation and to cut costs and staff time.
Elections by mail cost between $15,000 and $20,000, according to VSB deputy executive director Mary Yancey Spencer, most of that for postage.
The VSB will pay about $6,300 for an online election administered by Survey & Ballot Systems, Spencer said.
Voting members will receive an email from SBS with instructions on how to register their vote. SBS will begin sending emails to all members on Oct. 31 but, because of the high volume, some may take more than a day to arrive, according to the VSB.
Members who have not already done so should add their email addresses to VSB records to ensure that the information arrives, the VSB said.
To ensure the email with voting information arrives safely in your inbox on or around Oct. 31, the bar suggested adding the following email address as a safe sender: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those email addresses that bounce back the ballot message, SBS will send information by regular mail to the VSB members, Spencer said.
Members without email addresses will receive an instruction letter. Voters who prefer to vote by paper ballot will have to request the ballot by Nov. 24, the VSB said.
The VSB received three quotes for administering the online election. Other bidders were twice the price offered by SBS, Spencer said.
The current VSB president is Kevin E. Martingayle of Virginia Beach. Current president-elect Edward L. Weiner of Fairfax takes office as president in June of 2015.
The item was updated on Aug. 29 to add financial and other information from Spencer.