Second Round of Voting Needed for 2014 USATFNE Grand Prix series
The LDR Committee recently set up a second round of voting as the first voting on four slates yielded results too close to declare a winner.
When the Committee met to form slates, we wanted to include the races that: 1) the runners had indicated as their favorites in the survey; 2) did not conflict with religious holidays; 3) did not conflict with major races that would detract numbers from Grand Prix races; and 4) would accommodate the average Grand Prix runner’s training plan.
In regard to slates, we have had voting in the past where multiple slates garnered almost equal amounts of votes. While this may be a tribute to the equality of the races on the slates, it resulted in a Grand Prix preferred by 26% of the runners voting. The Committee received criticism for declaring a winner with a 26% majority since it meant 74% of the runners were against the line-up but had spread their votes over three other choices. In an effort to have a more decisive slate, we discussed posting two slates with a core of races and variation within each grouping with races and distances the runners indicated they preferred. At first, we thought of a pull down menu within two separate slates so votes could be tallied for essentially two slates with the voters selecting the variable race(s). The two slate formats offered are popular races where one set of races group mostly into spring and fall dates, the other has races in almost every month beginning in March. We could not set up the survey site with pull down menus within the slates so listed all four slates thinking the runners would indicate through their voting the desired race groupings and a slate would emerge as the most preferred. A record 487 votes did not produce a favored slate or format: each format combination and dominate slate polled nearly the same as its competitor.
As indicated in our email asking for participation in the second round, the two formats represented were nearly equal in votes and the dominate slates were also nearly equal, though both had barely a third of the total amount of votes cast. While there is no written rule in our process as to how much of a percentage of a vote is necessary to indicate support, the Committee wants to ensure the races are chosen by the greatest number of responders. The best way to address the closeness of the first vote fairly and have a majority of respondents choosing the Grand Prix was to put the two dominate slates back before the runners for a more decisive vote and have a plan for a tie, which had not been discussed previously. We would rather break a 50%-50% tie from a second round of voting than a tie between slates in the first round which would have produced a winner that about 70% of the voters did not choose.
The record number of voters is a tribute to the quality of the races and either Grand Prix line up of races should be very well attended and contested by serious competitors.