Every 2 years, American Geophysical Union (AGU) members elect the people who will lead the organization for the next 4 or more years. These volunteer leaders commit to advancing the mission, vision, goals, and core values outlined in AGU’s strategic plan. Elected AGU leaders play an essential role in decisions on how to serve and engage members in AGU.

Leaders elected this year will still be in office during AGU’s centennial celebration in 2019.

Leaders elected this year begin their service on 1 January 2017. They will still be in office during AGU’s centennial celebration in 2019, which will recognize the value and contributions of Earth and space science over the past 100 years. The centennial celebration will also look forward to how Earth and space sciences will continue to add value to society at large, as well as creating greater awareness and appreciation of Earth and space science among policy makers, media, current and prospective funders, and the public.

All regular and student members who join AGU or renew their AGU membership by 1 August 2016 will be eligible to vote in this year’s election.

When Do the Polls Open?

The 2016 AGU election will be held from 29 August through 27 September, allowing members 30 days to vote. Please mark your calendar and plan now to cast your votes for critical leadership positions. This is a great opportunity for your voice to be heard.

How Many Ballots Will I Receive?

There are three types of ballots for the 2016 AGU election: candidates for the AGU Board of Directors, student and early-career candidates for the AGU Council, and candidates for section and focus group president-elect and secretary positions. AGU has a paired-slate philosophy, so two candidates are required for each open position.

All members will receive ballots for the Board (four positions, eight candidates) and student and early-career positions (two positions, four candidates). Members will also receive a ballot for every section and focus group to which they belong.

How Long Does Voting Take?

Submitting your votes is faster and easier than ever with our new online voting site. Get a head start on the election before the polls open by familiarizing yourself with the ballots now and reviewing the candidate information. Once you receive your log-in email from Survey and Ballot Systems (SBS) at the end of August (check your inbox for, just click the personalized link, select a ballot for the AGU-wide offices or for one of your sections or focus groups, mark the candidates of your choice, and hit the “submit” button. This process will take just a few minutes per ballot, especially if you’ve already read the candidate information before logging in. You will also be given an option to review the candidate information from the voting site. It’s important to know that you can exercise your vote for just one ballot or for all the ballots you receive.

What Is the Easiest Way for Members to Participate?

This year’s election features 110 candidates for 55 open positions. That sounds like a lot, but you have the option to vote for only the positions that matter most to you. Here are some tips for navigating the ballots and casting votes.

  1. Identify the positions for which are you are eligible to vote, including the AGU Board, student and early-career positions on the Council, and the officers of the sections and focus groups to which you belong.
  2. Read about the candidates for those positions online.
  3. Decide for whom you want to vote, and watch for the email with your log-in information from AGU’s election vendor, SBS, starting 29 August. The log-in email will come from AGU Election Coordinator,, and will contain a personalized link for you to vote. Once you are logged in, you will be presented with a menu of all the ballots you are eligible to receive.
  4. Cast your votes. You can vote in one log-in session or in multiple sessions. The online voting site will allow you to submit votes one ballot at a time until the election closes on 27 September.

Who Is Eligible to Vote?

All regular and student members who join AGU or renew their AGU membership by 1 August 2016 will be eligible to vote in this year’s election. Please log in to to ensure that your membership and affiliations are up to date.

What Information Is Provided About Candidates?

Each candidate has provided a photo and brief biographical sketch, including a summary of relevant volunteer experience and a short CV. In addition, candidates were asked to reply to a specific question about AGU so that voters could gain perspective on the candidates’ views of organizational challenges and opportunities.

The ballot also includes information on continuing volunteer leaders so that voters have a complete picture of the diversity represented in the Board, in the Council, and in section and focus group leadership. This year, the Governance Committee provided all affiliations for continuing Board members and Board candidates as an experiment in conjunction with the Affiliation and Engagement Task Force. Committee and task force members believe that this offers a more complete picture of each person’s scientific interests.

How Were the Candidates on the Ballot Selected?

The Governance Committee, chaired by Past President Carol Finn, selected the candidates for the Board and student and early-career candidates on the basis of recommendations from current and past volunteer leaders and AGU staff. Criteria for selection of Board candidates included demonstrated leadership skills, experience in dealing with challenges AGU faces now and will face in the near future, and ensuring a diversity of perspectives in the composition of the overall Board. This year, the Governance Committee also interviewed potential Board candidates before making its final selections for the ballot.

Each section and focus group is responsible for selecting its candidates. Sections and focus groups determine their own selection criteria and processes for choosing candidates, with assistance from the Governance Committee available on request.

Members at large are also given the opportunity via a petition process to nominate additional candidates. However, there are no such candidates on this year’s ballot.

When Will the Election Results Be Announced?

As soon as the election closes, the Governance Committee initiates a process to verify the results and notify all candidates. We anticipate that all candidates will be contacted and the results publicly announced in mid-October.

Here’s Your “Voter’s To-Do” List:

  • [pullquote float=”right”]Watch your email on 29 August for instructions from AGU’s election vendor, Survey and Ballot Systems (SBS).[/pullquote]Log in to AGU and ensure that your 2016 membership and section and focus group affiliations are current.
  • Identify the ballots you are eligible to receive, and take a few minutes now to familiarize yourself with the candidates.
  • Watch your email on 29 August for instructions from AGU’s election vendor, SBS.
  • Vote and let your voice be heard!

—Carol Finn, Past President and Governance Committee Chair, AGU; email:


Finn, C. (2016), Every vote counts: Final slate for 2016 AGU elections, Eos, 97, Published on 18 July 2016.

Text © 2016. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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