Final Response to Election Challenge
This Election Committee was convened at the start of 2020 to
engage and hold a Chapter Officer Election for the City of
Oakland in a vote that would have concluded in March. On March
17, the State of California entered a statewide Shelter In Place
order due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The nomination
proceedings were due to conclude on the 19th with an in-person
meeting to review all nomination forms and eligibility of the
candidates. That meeting was subsequently cancelled and the
election committee met via Zoom (and held all subsequent meetings
via Zoom or through email chains) to make the decision to halt
all proceedings to the nomination process, confirmation of
nominees, and in-person voting. The Shelter In Place order
continued through many months and the committee would meet over
these same months to assess and ask questions of the Executive
Board and our Legal representation around how to hold safe
elections. In August this committee was presented with the
Election Buddy website; a 258-bit encrypted site approved by the
Department of Labor to administer, tabulate, and send reports
about elections held via electronic resources (email and text,
specifically). The committee made a unanimous decision to hold
elections COMPLETELY online via Election Buddy and forego
possible contagion or quarantining issues from paper ballots
which would require outside contact for staff and volunteers and
would in the course of an already delayed election, delay results
even more. Election Buddy was able to have results for us within
a half hour of the polls closing on October 1st, 5:00 PST. The
results of ballots issued were as follows:
1542 ballots issued, 420 returned.
Felipe Cuevas, 250
Tim Glasper, 170
Michael Pandolfo, 318
Frankie Izzo, 306
Angelica Lopez, 313
Dwight McElroy, 327
Steve Lavoie, 304
Of those 1542 ballots, on the last day we were made aware of a member, who through no fault of their own could not get a ballot issued. This committee commends the member for going above and beyond with us to exercise their right to vote for officers and regret that we were not able to remedy their issues before the polls closed.
A final Election Committee Report was submitted on October 2nd with no challenges presented until October 6th. The committee considers all points presented in this one challenge and response is as follows:
1. Article 13 D. Notice: All members in good standings were not notified of the election and every member in good standing did not receive a link.
All members were given notice of the election 30 days before elections were held and we posted to the city local page website on the main SEIU website: https://www.seiu1021.org/post/city-oakland-chapter-election-notice, to the FB group https://bit.ly/2H2klo6, as well as generating and distributing fliers from the election committee members. During the election, blast emails and one robocall were completed. When votes were tallied, more members voted in this election than the previous election even though there was only one contested race.
In a traditional election the entire membership must request a ballot, in a physical location, during relatively short polling times in the daytime. Using ElectionBuddy we were able to make this process easier and more accessible to the vast majority of members. Instead of having to request ballots all members who have current contact information on file with the union received an easy-to-use link on their phone and were able to vote at any time during a four day window. Those who did not have current contact information were able to request ballots and several dozen members who were eligible to vote called to update their information and request ballots. Of those requests one member, AB, did not receive a ballot before polling closed. The committee confirmed that Member AB requested a ballot and that despite their effort they did not receive a ballot. They should have received a ballot, but did not. However, theirs is the only irregularity reported and confirmed. Based on these facts we conclude that adequate notice of election was made to the membership.
2. Article 13 F Voting : Only Member in good standings are eligible to vote ( Due to several former City of Oakland who has been laid off since April has filed and received Unemployment were allowed to vote )
1542 ballots were issued to members of this chapter in good standing. The list of eligible voters was drawn from the August 2020 dues report and TPTs, employed and in active assignment status according to the City of Oakland, who paid dues at least once since April 2020. This method allows us to say with confidence that only members in good standing who are employed by the City of Oakland were able to vote. While our nonmembers continue to receive all the benefits of the MOU and representation of their stewards and our reps, they are not eligible voters due to not being members in good standing. This challenge has no merit and, therefore, is denied.
3. Article 13 C. Eligibility: Only Member in good standings are eligible to vote ( Due to several former City of Oakland who has been laid off since April has filed and received Unemployment were allowed to vote )
The challenger appears to have slightly misworded the challenge but intended to challenge the eligibility of candidates in addition to the previous challenge regarding eligible voters (13f). Article 13© requires that only members in good standing may run for chapter office. The letter accompanying this challenge made vague allegations that union staff was allowed to run for office. All candidates are members in good standing. No union staff person appeared on the ballot. This challenge is denied.
4. Article 17. Amendment: The election committee altered the voting procedure without providing the membership 30 days notice of the change and the majority vote of the members. Article 17 clearly explains the procedure to make amendments to the bylaws.
The challenger fails to articulate how the bylaws were allegedly altered or what sections were altered. We will not speculate on the challenger’s intent as we believe that the committee has operated wholly within its authority as set forth in the Bylaws Template adopted by our Local 1021 Executive Board. This challenge is denied.
With all these facts laid out, the committee sees no compelling reason to rerun the election. The results of the election as stated in our October 2 report are hereby certified.
Challenges or disputes which are denied or cannot be resolved by the Chapter Election Committee may be appealed in writing to the Local 1021 Executive Board within five (5) working days of receipt of the Chapter Election Committee’s decision. The Local 1021 Executive Board shall investigate and respond within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the challenge. Challenges to the election will be considered valid only if they cite specific violations of the Chapter election rules and procedures, Chapter bylaws, or the Local 1021 Bylaws and Constitution and if the alleged violation may have affected the outcome of the election.
Adelina Hernandez, Election Committee Chair, Libraries
Rocky Brown, Election Committee Member, Head Start
Courtney Holmes, Election Committee Member, Public Works Agency