After more than 17 months of delays, USA Cricket’s 2020 general elections finally concluded this week with Atul Rai and Kuljit-Singh Nijjar prevailing in a stacked field for the club director and individual director positions respectively. Nadia Gruny was also reelected for the female elite-athlete director position in a candidacy that was unopposed.
Rai, the southern California administrator who also served as president of the since-expelled USA Cricket Association (USACA) in the early 2000s, returns to the board after being league director from 2018 to 2020. He replaces the incumbent club director, Ajith Bhaskar of New York, after receiving 51.30% of the votes of club officials.
According to a USA Cricket press release, approximately 77% of the 558 club officials eligible to vote wound up casting ballots, although no official vote total was released.
Nijjar, of Dallas, Texas, replaces the incumbent Suraj Viswanathan of northern California, who had also been serving as the USA Cricket board secretary during his tenure. Nijjar eventually won 52.40% of the vote after three rounds of preferential voting, in which the candidate with the lowest vote total is eliminated after each round and votes are retabulated until a 50% majority for the winner is achieved.
As for the individual vote, the number of voters who submitted officially verified ballots was a tiny fraction of the eligible voting membership base of 12,381 members. According to USA Cricket, approximately 34% of those members wound up submitting a ballot during the two-week voting period that ran from July 8 to July 22, once again highlighting the apathy within the US cricket landscape.
The voting period was marred with issues symbolic of the 17 months of delays. The initial email ballots that were commissioned on July 8 wound up being nullified after a technical issue in which the election service, ElectionBuddy, sent ballots out to all voters to be able to vote for both the club and individual director positions instead of just the category they were eligible to vote for. It meant that anyone who did not submit a second ballot did not have their vote recorded.
Another issue that arose during the voting period itself was the discovery of fraudulently registered individual members to various clubs. After voting began, USA Cricket’s nominating and governance committee sent out an emergency email asking club leaders to confirm and self-verify by the election deadline all true members that had previously been deemed legitimate members of their clubs by the NGC. It resulted in three clubs reporting fake voters claiming to be affiliated with their clubs, and subsequently those votes were cancelled.