13 Reasons Why We Should Have An Electronic Voting Option In the Spring UFT 2022 Elections - even if Mulgrew And Company Want To Stop You From Having It.
Do Mulgrew and company really believe that dues-paying members would have voted down an electronic voting option that would increase our union participation and give members increased access?
Last night, Mulgrew and his executive board refused to extend an electronic voting option that was proposed by some in our union’s Election Committee for the 2022 Spring city-wide general UFT elections.
The proposal asks that in addition to our union members voting using a traditional mail-in ballot that we also have an option of securely voting digitally, in lieu of the paper mail-in ballot.
Only 1 INDEPENDENT executive board member stood up in support of those making the proposal.
Do Mulgrew and company really believe that dues-paying members would have voted down an electronic voting option that would increase our union participation and give members increased access? Who are they representing? Not us.
Mulgrew’s caucus-laden executive board used arguments against our members’ further enfranchisement that were reminiscent of those seeking to suppress and obstruct increased voting rights and voting access in our national and statewide elections.
Last fall, we fought side by side to ensure states like Georgia did not suppress the vote, and yet here is our own union leadership making arguments similar to the voting obstructionists and suppressionists?
Why would they refuse to allow electronic voting in our next election? We can only surmise that large voter turnout threatens Mulgrew and company’s tight grip and hegemony over our union affairs.
The reasons for our union membership being extended access are plentiful, reasonable, and beyond sound.
Since the pandemic, we are currently using electronic digital voting in our local chapter leader and delegate elections and for SBOs (School-Based Options).
Since the pandemic, our union is currently utilizing secure electronic voting at our virtual and hybrid delegate assemblies among those delegates using the remote option.
The recent use of virtual technology has significantly increased member participation in our delegate assemblies and town halls to unprecedented numbers in recent history. Thousands are participating in union matters and union business that were not previously engaged.
An electronic voting option would markedly increase member voter turnout and promote greater democratic participation in light of our triennial general elections being typically underrepresented with only about 25% (sometimes less) of the total membership casting a paper ballot.
Other local public-sector unions, such as PSC, are now conducting their general elections safely and securely through mail-in and electronic means.
In the final cost analysis, it may be a more cost-effective means. We have spent millions in printing mail-in ballots and in paying for workers to help tally the paper ballot votes.
When the COVID-19 crisis began, 14 major union organizations, including our umbrella organization, the AFL-CIO, asked the National Labors Relations Board to allow for an electronic voting option within private-sector unions. The subsequent support by our unions for the Protecting to Organize Labor Act, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, asks for electronic voting as a provision to be codified into law
We are disaffecting an entirely new generation of educators by not using the electronic means they use daily for every aspect of our lives. Our elections are over-represented by retirees who may still be using traditional snail mail but we are not capturing the will and votes of our younger in-service members.
Today we can apply, sign and pay a mortgage electronically. Many no longer use snail mail, at all. There's no reason that if these types of secure transactions happen daily that we can't vote in our next election, electronically and securely. The technology is readily available.
The transition to an electronic voting option would be seamless with the American Arbitration Association, the company our union has used for years to conduct fair and secure elections. They offer an electronic voting option and use many of the reasons we delineate why this is an optimal and preferred option.
With an antagonistic new mayoral administration being sworn in, in January, we need a union that is energized, active, and mobilized. Nothing more would signal weakness than if our union feels disconnected and disengaged and that it displays apathy by not turning out in huge numbers for our union matters.
We are seeing a new surge of COVID-19 this winter and our own state has tightened up on mandates once again. We don’t know what things look like for us in the spring and with the United States Postal Service in the midst of flux, shortages, and increased delays relying on mail-in ballots, right now, is not the most reliable or safest method.
Ultimately, increased member voter participation fosters trust and an empowered democratic voice to build a better and stronger union.
It’s time we vote out Mulgrew and Company. Vote United For Change in the Spring 2022 elections.
Meanwhile, let’s make sure we mobilize now and tell Mulgrew and our union leadership that WE DEMAND an online electronic voting option for our next election.
Send them an email. Call our union office. Let your district and boro reps know we will not relent on this option.