Calista Corporation is campaigning to reduce quorum requirements at its annual shareholder meetings to prevent invalidating future meeting votes and wasting corporation money when quorum isn’t met.
Current quorum stands at an over 50-percent majority. Calista wants to reduce that to a one-third or about 33-percent requirement, and the corporation wants it to happen before descendants enroll as shareholders next year.
The corporation has one shot to make the change before the pending influx— the annual shareholders’ meeting in July. To rally support, a Calista committee is visiting communities across the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta to outline their campaign before the gathering.
Thom Leonard, Calista Communications Manager, says quorum for annual shareholder meetings average 50.07-percent, barely over the needed 50-percent majority. Leonard says the corporation fears that average could plummet with descendants enrolling next year, a change passed at the 2015 meeting and a move expected to triple shareholder numbers from about 13,000 to around 40,000.
The corporation expects this surge of younger voters will reduce the likelihood of reaching quorum in the future based on voting trends among young Alaskan voters. According to the Division of Elections, in 2014 less than 41-percent of 18 to 34-year-old registered voters cast ballots in the Alaska general election.
Leonard says lower voter turnout would mean wasted time and money for Calista and its shareholders. An unmet quorum invalidates votes and forces Calista to spend about $100,000 rescheduling its annual event. The corporation hopes reducing its quorum requirement will buffer these potential loses.
So far over 30-percent or 14 of the corporation's 41 annual meetings have failed to meet quorum. Only one of those meetings, in 1998, did Calista reschedule.
Leonard says the one-third quorum requirement aligns with quorum standards in the majority of its tribes across the Yukon-Kuksokwim Delta where 33 of the 56 tribes have an average quorum requirement of 31-percent.
A Calista shareholder relations committee will meet with shareholders in Bethel on April 25 at 6 p.m. at the Cultural Center to discuss their quorum campaign and provide corporation updates.