NACo Postpones Weighted Vote Change Until ’17

County officials postponed until next year a vote to restructure the vote-weighting method used by the National Association of Counties for its official business.

For many years, NACo has operated with a system allocating votes based on the NACo dues paid by each county. A structure of one vote for each $500 paid has been in place to ensure that each jurisdiction receives a vote, but those making larger contributions to the organization’s operations gain a greater say. Over time (since at least the early 1990s) the $500 rule has been in place — while the nation’s population (used to generate NACo dues) has increased substantially.

The proposal unveiled for the NACo business meeting July 25 would have set the new voting schedule to one vote per $1200 in dues paid. The net effect would be to restore the relative small/large balance envisioned in the early 1990s. When compared to the current voting structure, though, the net effect would be to grant greater relative voting power to the states with the largest number of small (one-vote) counties who attend the NACo conferences.

Under the proposed system, the total potential voting power for Maryland wold decline by more than 10%. A full analysis of the change in voting power based on actual conference attendance was not distributed at the conference.

The membership voted to postpone consideration of the measure until the 2017 annual meeting – that vote itself taking place on a split roll-call vote of attending counties (by state).

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties