Count the votes!!

2 May

Late Sunday night Daraka Larimore-Hall sent a second of two dramatic emails to many UAW 2865 members. This time, though he continued to attack Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) with baseless charges, he framed his attack in a call for the resumption of the ballot count — which had been abandoned by his allies on Saturday April 30 at 8pm. For details on events leading up to Sunday night’s email, please see below, and see www.awdu.org.

With this latest email comes a new claim by USEJ — they now want to count all of the votes! We are happy that USEJ is prepared to count votes again! Since three members of the elections committee aligned with the incumbent administration of the union broke away from the process of vote-counting, created a fictitious “partial certification” and walked out of the room before the rest of the committee could have their say, we have been asking for voting to resume.

We are surprised by their demand for special conditions (diverging from normal counting procedures) before counting resumes. The union already has a procedure, laid out in the bylaws (Article 14 section 7) <http://www.uaw2865.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Bylaws_UAW_2865.pdf> and naturally the election must follow that procedure.

Vote counting is not the product of a negotiation between two slates. This is a democratic process that has rules. We have followed those rules before and we are prepared to follow those rules now. We are happy to stand together with USEJ in resuming the ballot-counting under the normal election procedures in which (most) challenges are set aside until after the count and then dealt with under procedures laid out in the bylaws and previously agreed upon. Members are waiting at this moment for the election committee to begin counting.

Challenges are an expected part of the vote-counting process, and most do not, according to the bylaws, require counting to stop. But legitimate challenges must be taken seriously. Since the recent email from Daraka Larimore-Hall labels our challenges frivolous and politically motivated, we will describe exactly what our main challenges were and why they matter:

i) One of our most serious challenges was to an entire ballot box from UCLA in which none of the individual ballots were sealed inside any envelope at all. These are spoiled ballots according to established election procedures, and at the time of that challenge the entire election committee allowed the challenge to stand.

ii)The challenge at UCSD was agreed on by the committee and challengers from both sides. An entire box was filled with ballots that were inside one envelope, but lacking the second envelope signed by the voter. Normally, the process with such ballots is to mark them as spoiled, and this had been done previously with single ballots, but because this was felt by all to be a case of poll-worker error, the box was set aside as challenged, to be dealt with after the remaining votes were counted.

iii)Regarding the bizarre assertion of ballot stuffing, supported only with a non-time-stamped photograph, we have identified the volunteer poll worker (not an AWDU activist) in the photograph, who was putting together the ballot box in the morning before the voting started. Here is his statement about this sordid accusation: <http://www.awdu.org/statement-from-the-poll-worker-accused-of-vote-tampering>

Additionally, here are pictures taken this morning showing that the picture of the poll worker must have been taken around 10am, before the poll had opened.

We look forward to the resumption of vote-counting at the earliest possible moment.

Signed,

Natalia Chousou-Polydouri Berkeley

Nick Kardahji, Berkeley

Brenda Medina-Hernandez, Davis

Larisa Mann, Berkeley

AJ Morgan, Davis

Megan Wachspress, Berkeley

….and the rest of Academic Workers for a Democratic Union

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