A yellow graphic that says “Meet the Candidates”

Every 2 years, 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 of AGU and to upholding AGU’s ethics policy.

This year’s elections are particularly important and exciting. Our new leaders will help launch the policies and programs needed to advance AGU’s new strategic plan, which includes three bold goals:

  • catalyze discovery and solutions to scientific and societal challenges
  • promote and exemplify an inclusive scientific culture
  • partner broadly with other organizations and sectors to effectively address scientific and societal challenges

This year’s slate of candidates is impressively experienced, talented, and diverse, and they are ready to take on these important challenges. These challenges have become all the more poignant as the events of the past few months have reexposed the systemic racism that is so pervasive in our society, including in academia and our institutions of science.

Leaders elected this year begin their service on 1 January 2021. All regular and student members who joined AGU or renewed their AGU membership by 1 September 2020 are eligible to vote in this year’s elections.

When Do the Polls Open?

The 2020 AGU elections will be held from 28 September through 27 October, allowing members 30 days to vote.

The 2020 AGU elections will be held from 28 September through 27 October, allowing members 30 days to vote. Please mark your calendar and plan now to cast your votes for these critical leadership positions. This is a great opportunity for you to make your voice heard.

How Many Ballots Will I Receive?

There are four types of ballots for the 2020 AGU elections: candidates for the AGU Board of Directors, student and early-career candidates for the AGU Council, candidates for section president-elect and secretary positions, and candidates for the College of Fellows vice chair position. AGU has a paired-slate philosophy, so two candidates are required for each open position.

All members will receive ballots for the Board (five positions, 10 candidates) and student and early-career positions (two positions, four candidates). Members will also receive a ballot for every section to which they belong. You must be an AGU Fellow to receive a ballot for the College of Fellows election.

How Long Does Voting Take?

Submitting your votes is faster and easier than ever with our online voting site. Get a head start on the elections 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 September (check your inbox for noreply@directvote.net), just click the link; select a ballot for the AGU-wide offices, for one of your sections, or for the College of Fellows; 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 vote for just one ballot or for all the ballots you receive.

What Is the Easiest Way for Members to Participate?

This year’s elections feature 108 candidates for 54 open positions.

This year’s elections feature 108 candidates for 54 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 you are eligible to vote, including the AGU Board, student and early-career positions on the Council, the officers of the sections to which you belong, and the College of Fellows.
  2. Read about the candidates for those positions online, and decide which candidates you prefer.
  3. Watch for the email with your log-in information from AGU’s election vendor, SBS, starting 28 September. The log-in email will come from AGU Election Coordinator, noreply@directvote.net, 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 vote. If you have any questions, you can contact SBS from the voting site or the AGU Member Center.
  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 elections close on 27 October.

Who Is Eligible to Vote?

All regular and student members who joined AGU or renewed their AGU membership by 1 September 2020 are eligible to vote in this year’s elections. Please contact AGU Member Center to ensure that your membership and section affiliations are up to date.

What Information Is Provided About Candidates?

Each candidate has provided a photo and a 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 how they can contribute to the implementation of AGU’s new strategic plan.

The ballot also includes information on continuing volunteer leaders so that voters have a complete picture of the diversity represented in the Board, Council, sections, and the College of Fellows.

How Were the Candidates on the Ballot Selected?

The Leadership Development/Governance Committee, which I chaired, selected the candidates for the Board and Council student and early-career candidates on the basis of recommendations from current and past volunteer leaders and AGU staff. This year, we received a record number of nominations, which generated a deep, diverse, and highly qualified candidate pool. I thank all of those who participated in the nomination process and those who submitted their applications for these positions.

Criteria for selection of Board candidates included demonstrated leadership skills and experience to guide the organization in its implementation of our exciting new strategic plan. The committee was also dedicated to ensuring a diversity of perspectives in the composition of the overall Board and interviewed potential candidates before making its final selections for the ballot.

The College of Fellows and the 25 sections are responsible for selecting their own candidates. Those groups determine their own selection criteria and processes for choosing candidates, with assistance from the Leadership Development/Governance Committee as requested.

Members at large are also given the opportunity via a petition process to nominate additional candidates. No nominations were received.

In keeping with AGU’s commitment to advancing scientific ethics, committee members agreed to implement AGU’s revised Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics policy in the nomination and selection process for the 2020 AGU elections. All candidates on the ballot have read AGU’s conflict of interest and ethics policies and submitted disclosure forms.

When Will the Election Results Be Announced?

We anticipate that all candidates will be contacted and the results publicly announced in mid-November.

As soon as the elections close, the Leadership Development/Governance Committee will initiate 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-November.

How Can I Participate?

  • Watch your email on 28 September for instructions from AGU’s election vendor, SBS, or go to agu.org/elections and click the button to receive a personalized link to the ballots after the elections open at the end of September.
  • Identify the ballots you are eligible to receive and take a few minutes now to familiarize yourself with the candidates.
  • Vote and let your voice be heard!

—Eric Davidson (pastpresident@agu.org), Past President and Chair, Leadership Development/Governance Committee, AGU


Davidson, E. (2020), Every vote counts: Final slate for 2020 AGU elections, Eos, 101, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EO148672. Published on 04 September 2020.

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