Calista campaigning to reduce quorum requirements before descendants enroll

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.

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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 decedents 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 explain their position 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 decedents 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.

Lower voter turnout would mean wasted time and money for Calista and its shareholders. When quorum isn’t met, votes become invalid, and Calista spends about $100,000 rescheduling its annual gathering. The corporation hopes reducing its quorum requirement will buffer these potential loses.

Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

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