Letters to the Editor
Contested Elections
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 5 page 32-32

I am writing to disagree with Dr. Pedro Ruiz about the value of voting for APA officers (Psychiatric News, December 1, 2006). Democracy is a good thing, but to vote responsibly includes making an effort to inform oneself about the candidates and issues. I don't think the choices justify such an effort.

Reading the information in the annual election issue of Psychiatric News by a pair of candidates running for office in APA's 2007 election, I saw that both listed very similar priorities for APA. Character is very important, but I have no direct knowledge of it. I assume that both candidates are of good character, as they were nominated by peers who have worked with them. So in many APA elections, I often find myself choosing based on silly things like gender, geographic origin, academic versus nonacademic job, and so forth.

I remember when just one candidate was nominated, and that system worked about as well as the present one. Please don't misunderstand me. I don't think voting is important; I do think the job of being an officer is important, and I am really grateful that so many fine men and women have been willing to serve. I think even more would serve if they didn't have to go through an election.

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