A Short History of Hold Over Funds

The TAFF stats left Andy Hooper wondering “Who was the wet blanket who voted to hold over funds? What sort of better candidates do you expect to appear?” Quite like Dante’s Inferno, where the poet asks after describing a heinous crime, “If you would not cry then, when would you?”

Once I savored the drama of Andy’s question, however, I paused for a fact-check. Aren’t votes cast for “Hold Over Funds” in every TAFF race? And I found out, no, there aren’t. So it’s not a purely rhetorical question.

TAFF instituted the “Hold Over Funds” option for the 1966 TAFF race. Co-administrators Arthur Thomson (ATom) and Terry Carr explained the change in TAFF Progress Report 8

“HOLD OVER FUNDS”: New this year is the candidate with the strange name of “Hold over funds”. This choice, which is similar to the “No Award” vote in Hugo balloting, gives the voter the opportunity to vote for no Taff trip in a given year/campaign in the event that either the candidates do not appeal strongly enough or that he feels that Taff should slow down on its program to build stronger interest in the campaigns that are held.

While the voters have never signaled for a full stop – translation: “Hold Over Funds” has never won – at least one person has voted for the option in 28 out of 40 TAFF races held since 1966. (This excludes 1973 for which statistics have never been posted.)

Is there a reason why some races dodged the bullet? As a little thought experiment I made up a list in my own mind of the five most deserving TAFF winners since 1966 and discovered that in 2 of those 5 races at least one vote was cast for “Hold Over Funds.” Not even the most stellar candidates can guarantee to get everybody off the fence.

“Hold Over Funds” has never received more than 15 first-place votes or more than 9 percent of the total vote – records set in the 1982 race between Rog Peyton and Kevin Smith which decided TAFF’s delegate to Chicon IV. Interestingly, 14 of those 15 votes for “Hold Over Funds” came from European fans. Someone may remember a reason, but it’s sure not ringing a bell with me. Not even after looking up the candidates’ platforms. (Thanks to Dave Langford for his TAFF site, indispensible to this spur-of-the-moment research project.)

Rog Peyton
‘Again, I boggle at his staying-power! Chairman of three Novacons, 1977 Eastercon, Brum Group (4 years) and veteran of umpteen other committees, Rog pre-dated me into fandom yet continues stronger than ever. He’s a Publishing Jiant — BSFA Vector, Tangent for 2 years, newsletters, and some superb programme books. His “Andromeda” is Britain’s top SF bookshop; No.1 auctioneer at every con, he’s into films, fancy-dress, art shows — My God, he’s done everything (including calling Harlan in the middle of the night)! Unquestionably our most active fan, Rog already has lots of US friends and richly deserves the opportunity to make many more!’ (Peter Weston)

Nominated by: Jack Chalker, Malcolm Edwards, jan howard finder, Bob Shaw and Peter Weston.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith has been around in fandom for some nine years, producing fanzines (Drilkjis with Dave Langford; Dot), writing for fanzines (Nabu, Space Junk, and others), chairing some British conventions (Skycon, Faancon 6), falling over at most others, editing an anthology of British fanwriting for Seacon ’79 (Mood 70), devising the world famous Surrey Limpwrist constitution, and downing the requisite amount of alcoholic beverages. He currently edits Vector, the critical journal of the BSFA, has clean personal habits, and wants to see America and meet American fans before it is too late (ra ra Ronnie Raygun!). All excellent qualities for a TAFF representative and administrator.

Nominated by: Avedon Carol, Eve Harvey, Terry Hughes, Rob Jackson and Ian Maule.

Coming in second, the 1985 race had 12 votes for “Hold Over Funds.” That was the year of Topic A. Yet because in 1985 fans cast a record number of TAFF ballots, 513, the percentage was trivial.

In fact, the 1989 race received the second highest percentage of “Hold Over Funds” votes, 6%, or 10 out of 165 votes, equally divided between voters from each side of the Pond.

Once “Hold Over Funds” became an option it garnered a tiny handful of votes in the next three TAFF races. Not until 1970 did “Hold Over Funds” register zero votes – all the preferences going to Elliot K. Shorter or his competition, Charlie Brown and Bill Rotsler. The latest race to shut out “Hold Over Funds” was 2012, which Jacq Monahan won over Warren Buff and Kim Kofmel.