Outline • Getting Ready • Holding Elections • Nominations • Campaign Rules • Election Procedures • Election Checklist • Election Protests
Before Your Election • A committee should be appointed to conduct your local’s election of officers in accordance with federal law and your union’s constitution and bylaws
Before Your Election • Local officers who are not up for election may serve on the election committee • No member of the election committee can be a candidate for office in the election
Holding Elections • What local offices must be filled by election? • Any constitutional officer • any person authorized to perform the functions of the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer or other executive functions of the local, or • any member of the executive board or similar governing body • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.17)
Holding Elections • What local offices must be filled by election? • A constitutional officer is any person holding a position identified as an officer by the constitution and bylaws of the union (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.18)
How Often • Locals are required to hold elections for each position at least every three years • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.23) • Local constitution should specify when elections are held • terms can be staggered
Notice of Nominations • Offices to be filled by election • Date and time for submitting nominations • Place for submitting nominations • How to submit the nomination • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.56)
Methods for Reasonable Notification • Mail a notice • Can also include the notice of election information and satisfy that requirement • Publication in a union newsletter • Reasonably calculated to reach all members in good standing, and • provides reasonable opportunity of nominations to be made; or other means in accordance with the local constitution and bylaws • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.56)
Who can run? • Any member in good standing, subject to reasonable qualifications in the local’s constitution and bylaws • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.32) • Any member seeking election to a union office or position may not accept nomination or run for more than one elected position during any single election (NATCA Constitution Bylaw I.5.)
What are the factors used to determine whether a reasonable qualification is reasonable? • Its relation to the legitimate needs and interests of the union • Its relation to the demands of the union office to which it is applied • The number of members who are disqualified by its application • A comparison of normal requirements of other unions • The degree of difficulty union members have meeting the qualification • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.36)
Prohibition against certain persons holding office • 29 U.S.C. 504 (a) “No person who has been convicted of, or served any part of a prison term resulting from a conviction of robbery, bribery, extortion, embezzlement, grand larceny, burglary, arson, violation of narcotics laws, murder, rape, assault with the intent to kill, assault which inflicts grievous bodily injury or a violation of title II or III of this act”
Campaign RulesDistribution of Literature • “A union must honor all reasonable requests by a candidate to distribute literature at his or her expense to all members in good standing. The union may not censor campaign material and must treat all candidates equally.” • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.67)
Campaign RulesInspection of Membership List • “Each bona fide candidate has the right to inspect the membership list once within thirty days of the election. In the case of a mail-ballot election, within thirty days prior to the ballots being mailed. This does not include copying.” • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.71)
Campaign RulesUse of Union Funds • “Union funds may not be used to promote the candidacy of a particular individual in a union election. These funds may, however, be used for notices, factual statements of issues not involving candidates; and other expenses necessary for holding an election.” • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.73) • (Employers may not contribute either) • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.78)
Election Procedures • What is a member in good standing?
Election Procedures • A member shall be considered in good standing if: • (a) The payment of his or her dues is not more than 45 days in arrears • (b) His or her membership has not been modified by disciplinary action imposed in accordance with this constitution • (Art III, Sec 6, NATCA Constitution)
Election Procedures • During the planning of the election, the election committee should update the membership list (This will ensure all the membership information is correct and current) • The membership list can be obtained from the membership department at the NATCA’s national office
Notice of Election • Must be mailed to the last known address of every member in good standing • Postmarked at least 15 days prior to the election • Contents: must specify the • date(s) • time(s) • place of the election • offices to be filled • must be in a form reasonably calculated to inform the members of the impending election
Uncontested Elections • An election of officers by secret ballot need not be held if the candidate for an office is unopposed and the following conditions are met: • Union provided for a reasonable opportunity for nomination • Write-in votes are not permitted as evidenced by a provision in the constitution or bylaws of the local • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.28)
Polling Place Elections • Two types of polling place elections • Manned polling place • Unmanned or drop-off
Polling Place Elections • Manned polling place • Hours must allow all members a reasonable opportunity to vote • Poll workers shall not be on duty • Voters provide proof of identity and vote at that time
Polling Place Elections • Drop off polls/ballot box • Ballot box must be secure • Ballots must be validated • Secret ballot envelope • Ballots treated same as mail election • Not advised
Elections by Mail • Develop a time schedule for each step of the election • General rule, allow 3-4 weeks for members to mark and return their ballots • Establish date and time by which ballots must be received in order to be counted • Clearly announce deadline in voting instructions
Elections by Mail • The Mail Ballot Package: • Election Notice and Voting Instructions* • Ballot • Secret Ballot Envelope • Return Ballot Envelope • Large Mail Envelope *If election notices were not mailed to members previously, the ballot package may serve as the election notice provided it is mailed at least 15 days prior to the deadline for counting.
Elections by Mail • Provide replacement ballots to eligible voters that indicate they have not received a ballot • Clearly indicate that it is a duplicate. (decide in advance which ballot to count, if both returned) • Use return envelope to verify voter eligibility • Separate secret ballot envelopes from return envelope
Elections by Mail • Open secret ballot envelopes • Void the entire ballot if it contains information identifying the voter • Void only the the particular office involved if voter intent is not clear, if no candidate is selected, or if too many candidates are selected • Count ballots in same manner as other elections
Elections by Mail • Arrange for a special restricted access post office box to be used solely for the receipt and storage of returned ballots • Instruct postal officials that ballots may only be released only at a specified time and only to authorized union election officials • Use a different address for returned undeliverable ballot packages • Use that address as return address label on the ballot package
What is a Secret Ballot? • Ballot that makes it impossible to determine the identity of the voter • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.97)
Voiding Ballots • If voter intent is not clear • If too many candidates have been selected for one or more positions • Election officials should void only the particular office involved by lining through the boxes for that office and marking “void” and their initials next to the position being voided
Voiding Ballots • If a voter fails to vote for any candidate for a position or election, election officials should insure that no one can mark the ballot at a later time
Counting the Ballots • Election committee should, if necessary, obtain an updated membership list from the national office prior to the count for ballot validation • Specify that you are requesting the list for the purpose of conducting an election • Ballots should only be handled by the election committee
Counting the Ballots • Every vote on a valid ballot should be counted if the voter’s intent is clear, no matter what mark is used to to indicate the voter’s choice • Results must be published where all interested members havereasonable access to the information
Observers • Each candidate has the right (and should be reminded) to observe and have observers present at each polling place and at the counting of the ballots • Candidates can have as many observers as necessary observe all counting and ensure a fair election • (29 CFR Ch IV, A, Part 452.107)
Declaring a Winner • Your local constitution should specify whether a majority or plurality is required • If not specified a majority is required • A majority is more than 50% of the valid votes cast • If no single candidate receives a majority, a run off election is warranted
After the Election • Election results must be posted promptly • Pack and seal all used and unused ballots, tally sheets, voter registers, voter eligibility lists and other election materials • Maintain all election records for at least one year
Election ChecklistCan you answer yes? • Are elections held within 3 years? • Do members have a reasonable opportunity for nomination? • Do members have a reasonable amount of time to nominate candidates? • Do all members in good standing have an opportunity to be nominated? • Is the membership list updated so candidates have an opportunity to inspect it within 30 days of election or mailing of ballots?
Election ChecklistCan you answer yes? • Are no union or employer funds involved in promoting the candidacy of any person? • Do all members in good standing have the opportunity to vote? • Are election notices mailed to the last known address of all members at least 15 days prior to the election? • Have the candidates been given the opportunity to have observers present at the polling places or the ballot counting?
Election ChecklistCan you answer yes? • Can the members support the candidate of their choice without fear of reprisal? • Are the election procedures in compliance with applicable regulation and the local and national constitution and bylaws? • Are all ballots and other election materials kept for one year?
Election Protests • Any member in good standing may file an election protest provided all of the following conditions are met: • The protesting member must have been eligible to participate in the protested election at the time of the incident giving rise to the protest
Election Protests 2. A written protest is filed with the National Election Committee through NATCA’s General Counsel, via certified mail; and 3. In order to be timely, a protest must be received no later than 15 days subsequent to the election date stipulated in the election rules, and within 30 days of the incident giving rise to the protest
Election Protests • The National Elections Committee will • Notify members who were eligible to participate in the election that a protest has been filed • Investigate the protest • Forward a recommendation to the NEB