Election Update Day One: Lack of Signatures on Ballot Envelopes Raises Security Questions

Here’s the Good News

Voter turnout at SDEA today was great, as was Breakfast Club volunteer turnout! The voting process went very smoothly, and so did our efforts to peaceably share information with voters. Dozens of SDEA member volunteers from all over the union came out today to help educate our fellow union members about the many downsides of this TA, which the SDEA leadership and staff have not been sharing with us. If the many honks and cheers we received from people driving in are any indication, a whole lot of SDEA members see this TA for the bad deal that it is for ALL of our members, laid off or not. There was extensive media coverage of our informational demonstration as well. Member volunteers will be there for the next two days of voting, distributing leaflets and reaching out to our fellow educators about how a NO vote on this TA actually protects our jobs, our healthcare, and our wages. We hope you can join us in person, and in the meantime, continue calling and emailing your colleagues to get out the vote!

Also, here is a Breakfast Club redirect link you can use that will not be blocked by SDUSD’s new email filters that disallow the words “Breakfast Club” to get through:

https://bitly.com/NJwAir

Here’s the Scary News

Not only are hundreds of SDEA members being disenfranchised by the requirement that we vote in person within a three-day window, but voters learned today that a basic security measure that SDEA has taken with paper ballot elections in the past has been utterly disregarded.

In the past, there have been two envelopes to vote in an SDEA election. There is one external envelope that we sign, and one unsigned internal envelope containing the ballot. The double-envelope ballots are then entered into the ballot box, where they wait until all ballots are counted. This allows the election committee ballot counters to know that the ballots that they are counting are the same ballots that were actually cast by members.

This time there is no external envelope for voters to sign. We were asked to mark our ballot, place it into an unsigned envelope, and put the envelope into the ballot box.

Why is SDEA abandoning this basic voter security practice? There are at least twenty people with overnight access to the SDEA office. There is nothing stopping one of them from going into the office at 2 a.m., pulling out 500 ballot envelopes, and replacing them with 500 other pre-stuffed “yes” vote envelopes.

Several of us were told that having two envelopes would make it take too long to count the ballots. That is just absurd. We are voting on a potential 7.5% mid-year pay cut (on top of giving away our negotiated 10% salary restorations next year). Spending two days instead of one counting ballots is too burdensome?

We understand that the elections committee made great efforts to protect the box before they left, and we absolutely believe that they are making their best good faith efforts to ensure a fair election. Unfortunately, they can’t control who can and can’t access the box when go home for the night. This is about trust in our current union leadership, or more like a reasonable lack of it. So far this year…

  • In March and April, SDEA President Bill Freeman conducted a series of membership meetings where we were told (depending on which meeting you went to) that concessions would not happen, or that if they were to happen it wouldn’t be until after the state budget was passed on June 30. That same promise was repeated at Rep. Council. That didn’t happen.
  • Then Freeman stated that concessions wouldn’t be negotiated unless every single member voted to enter negotiations. That didn’t happen.
  • Then the SDEA Board promised not to vote to enter negotiation until 70% of the membership was polled via phone. That didn’t happen.
  • Finally, Freeman told us that only two things would be on the table if there were negotiations: extending the current 5 furlough days, and delaying the raises. That didn’t happen either.

And yet here we are currently voting on a TA that has up to 19 furlough days, gives up the raises probably forever, includes a retirement incentive, and extends the contract for an additional year — far more than 5 furlough days and delaying raises. These concessions were negotiated without members voting on doing so first, without the phone survey ever being completed, and weeks before the final state budget comes out.

How can we help but view the decision to get rid of a fundamental ballot security measure with anything other than distrust and suspicion?

We’ll keep you updated after tomorrow’s events.

2 thoughts on “Election Update Day One: Lack of Signatures on Ballot Envelopes Raises Security Questions

  1. Pingback: NEW: Association for Union Democracy Publishes The Breakfast Club’s Story! « The Breakfast Club Action Group

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