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2023 USA Fencing Election Results: Lee, Lehfeldt, Salem Win At-Large Seats on Board of Directors

06/06/2023, 12:00pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Election sees record turnout at USA Fencing members make their voices heard; at-large directors begin three-year terms on Sept. 1, 2023.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Our members have spoken, and their votes have been tallied. Ivan Lee OLY, Damien Lehfeldt and Abdel Salem OLY-EGY have won At-Large seats on the USA Fencing Board of Directors.

The successful candidates will begin their three-year terms on Sept. 1, 2023. Salem was re-elected to another term, while Lee and Lehfeldt will replace Donald Alperstein and Lorrie Marcil Holmes on the board. We thank Alperstein and Marcil Holmes for their loyal service to the Board.

“USA Fencing wants to thank all the candidates who participated and the voters who made their voices heard during this year’s election,” says Phil Andrews, USA Fencing CEO. “I look forward to working alongside these great volunteers as they join our already-talented board to help shape the future of fencing in the United States. In saying that, I also want to pay a significant tribute to the efforts of Donald Alperstein, a signatory to the founding documents of our organization, and to Lorrie Marcil Holmes for her own dedication to the Board of Directors.”

Here’s how we got here: The election process began on Dec. 1, 2022, when the nomination window opened, leading to more than 30 willing members putting themselves forward. This window closed on Dec. 21, 2022, and the list of candidates was announced in early 2023. Following the petition deadline of March 31, 2023 and two candidate forums on April 27 and May 9, the general election opened on May 15, 2023. After three weeks of voting, the general election closed on June 5, 2023.

To determine the winners of the three open seats, voting was conducted using a preferential voting system (as required by the USA Fencing Bylaws). Members were asked to rank the candidates in order of preference, with "1" being the highest ranking. The round-by-round tabulation is seen at the bottom of this article.

In order to vote, an individual needed to be a USA Fencing member aged 18 or older who was in good standing as of Feb. 1, 2023, and belongs to a membership class that includes the right to vote. 

Of the 9,395 eligible voters, 2,498 submitted ballots, for a voter turnout of 26.59%  — a record number since the onset of electronic voting in 2011. This year’s turnout eclipsed the previous record, set in the 2021 election, where 25.28% of eligible voters participated.  

It’s a testament to the dedication and engagement of our community that so many members took the time to participate in this crucial process.

The five At-Large members of the Board are those who are eligible to become Chair of USA Fencing. That means Lee, Lehfeldt and Salem join incumbent At-Large Directors Peter Burchard and current Chair David Arias in being eligible to be elected Chair of USA Fencing. This vote will occur at September’s Board Retreat.

Once again, congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all members who participated in the election.

Three-Year Terms

According to section 7.21 of the USA Fencing bylaws, these Directors will serve three-year terms:

The three At-Large Directors elected in 2023 shall serve three (3) year terms ending in 2026. Upon conclusion of the transition in 2026, these Bylaws shall be automatically amended to remove this Section.

Meet the Board Members

Ivan Lee OLY, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., is an accomplished saber fencer, referee and coach. A member of the 2001 U.S. Junior World Saber team, he led the team to its first men's world title and became the first man of African American descent to win a world fencing championship. He was also a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. After retiring from competitive fencing in 2008, Lee continued his involvement in the sport as a volunteer instructor, head women's fencing coach at Long Island University, and as the Fencing Commissioner for the Public Schools Athletic League from 2008 to 2019. He’s a graduate of the USA Fencing Leadership Academy and currently a USA Fencing Special Board Member.

Damien Lehfeldt is an experienced epee coach at Nova Fencing Club and a previously A-rated Epeeist. His coaching career includes training a London 2012 Olympian in Modern Pentathlon, a World Maccabi Games silver medalist, and a member of the DC Fencers Club epee squad that took gold in the 2012 North American Cup. As a fencer, he was a four-year starter and co-captain at Brandeis University and an intercollegiate fencing association gold medalist. He also runs a popular blog and social media presence as The Fencing Coach. Lehfeldt is a graduate of the USA Fencing Leadership Academy.

Abdel Salem OLY-EGY, born in Egypt, is a former fencer who competed in the individual and team epee events at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He is a retired head coach of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he directed both the men’s and women's fencing programs and led the Falcons to several Western Region Championships. During his time at the Academy, Coach Salem guided a team of primarily walk-ons to 19 All-American titles and a national championship. In 1996, he was named the U.S. Olympic Committee Coach of the Year. Salem is a current USA Fencing At-Large Board Member.

Election Results

How to read the results: Each round lists how many first-place votes the individual received for that round. If no candidate meets the quota (threshold) in the round, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the candidate ranked in second place on each ballot. This process continues until three candidates have surpassed the quota.  

(See more about preferential voting in our explainer video.)


Round 1

Candidate Votes Percentage
Ann Marsh-Senic OLY 161 6.81%
Richard Weiss 223 9.44%
Joanne Pasternack 19 0.80%
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 381 16.12%
Andrey Geva 197 8.34%
Igor Chirashnya 155 6.56%
Selina Kaing 139 5.88%
Damien Lehfeldt 479 20.27%
Ivan Lee OLY 277 11.72%
Donald Alperstein 286 12.10%
Nancy Kirkpatrick 46 1.95%
Votes tallied: 2363.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 590.75    

Note: The threshold was calculated by dividing the total number of votes tallied (2,363) by 4 (3 open seats, plus 1). To be elected in this round, a candidate needed more than 590.75 votes. Since no candidate was elected in this round, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes (Ms. Pasternack) was eliminated and her votes were redistributed to each voter's second choice. 


Round 2

Candidate Votes Percentage
Ann Marsh-Senic OLY 163 6.90%
Richard Weiss 225 9.53%
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 381 16.14%
Andrey Geva 199 8.43%
Igor Chirashnya 156 6.61%
Selina Kaing 142 6.01%
Damien Lehfeldt 481 20.37%
Ivan Lee OLY 278 11.77%
Donald Alperstein 287 12.16%
Nancy Kirkpatrick 49 2.08%
Votes tallied: 2361.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 590.25    

Note: In this round, 2,361 votes were tallied — two fewer than the round before — which means that two voters ranked only Ms. Pasternack on their ballots and nobody else. Their votes were "exhausted," and the threshold dropped to 590.25. After redistributing Ms. Pasternack's 19 votes from Round 1, we still have no candidate receiving more than 590.25 votes. So the candidate with the next fewest votes is eliminated (Ms. Kirkpatrick), and her 49 votes are redistributed. 


Round 3

Candidate Votes Percentage
Ann Marsh-Senic OLY 168 7.13%
Richard Weiss 228 9.68%
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 381 16.18%
Andrey Geva 200 8.49%
Igor Chirashnya 157 6.67%
Selina Kaing 157 6.67%
Damien Lehfeldt 490 20.81%
Ivan Lee OLY 284 12.06%
Donald Alperstein 290 12.31%
Votes tallied: 2355.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 588.75    

Note: We lost an additional six voters in this round, dropping the threshold to 588.75. Still no candidate received the necessary total, and Ms. Kaing was eliminated and her votes redistributed.


Round 4

Candidate Votes Percentage
Ann Marsh-Senic OLY 188 8.09%
Richard Weiss 232 9.98%
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 386 16.60%
Andrey Geva 213 9.16%
Igor Chirashnya 163 7.01%
Damien Lehfeldt 504 21.68%
Ivan Lee OLY 338 14.54%
Donald Alperstein 301 12.95%
Votes tallied: 2325.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 581.25    

Note: Mr. Chriashnya was eliminated in this round, which again saw no candidate reach the threshold. 


Round 5

Candidate Votes Percentage
Ann Marsh-Senic OLY 213 9.20%
Richard Weiss 233 10.06%
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 404 17.45%
Andrey Geva 294 12.70%
Damien Lehfeldt 512 22.12%
Ivan Lee OLY 349 15.08%
Donald Alperstein 310 13.39%
Votes tallied: 2315.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 578.75    

Note: No candidate reached the threshold in this round, so the candidate with the fewest votes was eliminated. Ms. Marsh-Senic OLY's votes will be redistributed to the next highest-ranked candidate on each ballot for Round 6.


Round 6

Candidate Votes Percentage
Richard Weiss 247 10.86%
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 431 18.95%
Andrey Geva 341 14.99%
Damien Lehfeldt 527 23.16%
Ivan Lee OLY 403 17.71%
Donald Alperstein 326 14.33%
Votes tallied: 2275.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 568.75    

Note: There were 2,275 votes tallied in this round, meaning 88 voters have had their ballots exhausted because they opted not to rank more than five candidates (which is within their right!). No candidate surpassed the new threshold of 568.75, and Mr. Weiss was eliminated. 


Round 7

Candidate Votes Percentage
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 472 21.51%
Andrey Geva 345 15.72%
Damien Lehfeldt 574 26.16%
Ivan Lee OLY 442 20.15%
Donald Alperstein 361 16.45%
Votes tallied: 2194.0    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 548.5    

Note: We lost another 81 voters in Round 7, dropping the threshold to 548.5. This was enough to result in the first successful candidate: Mr. Lehfeldt surpassed the threshold and was elected in this round. Now here's where things get a little complicated. Because he had more than enough votes for this round (25 more than the threshold), Mr. Lehfeldt's excess votes were redistributed at a fraction of their value. In other words, those 25 votes were redistributed to the remaining candidates based on the preferences of all Lehfeldt voters. That's why you'll see fractions of votes for future rounds — that represents the fractional distribution of Mr. Lehfeldt's excess votes. This ensures that the wishes of Lehfeldt voters continue to be considered in future rounds. No candidate was eliminated in Round 7 since one candidate was elected.  

Round 8

Candidate Votes Percentage
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 477.38 21.84%
Andrey Geva 346.78 15.87%
Damien Lehfeldt 546.41 25.00%
Ivan Lee OLY 450.46 20.61%
Donald Alperstein 364.61 16.68%
Votes tallied: 2185.64    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 546.41    

Note: Now that he was successfully elected, Mr. Lehfeldt will remain at the threshold for the rest of the way, with his excess votes redistributed provided there are candidates remaining whom Lehfeldt voters have selected. No additional candidate reached the threshold this round, so Mr. Geva was eliminated and his votes redistributed.


Round 9

Candidate Votes Percentage
Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt 598.77 28.63%
Damien Lehfeldt 569.26 27.22%
Ivan Lee OLY 528.42 25.26%
Donald Alperstein 395.18 18.89%
Votes tallied: 2091.63    
Abstentions: 135    
Threshold: 522.91    

Note: In Round 9, the threshold fell to 522.91, and Mr. Salem OLY-EGY and Mr. Lee OLY were both elected. 

Tag(s): Updates  2023 Election