Emergency Electronic Voting for 2020-21 Chapter President

From the Nominations Committee:

We want to tell you about a change in the voting procedures for this Spring’s regular Chapter elections.  Normally, these would be conducted by paper ballot, distributed and returned by mail to a central gathering point – or held at the annual Spring Membership Dinner. Then, a team of members – in a public setting, observable by the membership — would tabulate the results manually and report their findings. This message explains some necessary procedural changes to protect our members and comply with various legal and organizational requirements in this year’s election.

Emergency Procedure for the Chapter President Election Only

The current situation is anything but normal. Distributing, gathering mail returns, transporting and handling/counting ballots creates a wide range of problems in a time of COVID-19, social isolation requirements and other legal/procedural constraints on voting processes. We needed to come up with a different approach. 

With guidance from FEA legal and our UFF professional staff, plus the approval of the UFF-UF Executive Committee, we will be conducting the election for UFF-UF President electronically. We have contracted with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), a highly respected and reliable organization, with great experience in conducting such union officer elections, and an entire division devoted to doing so.  They are also the “gold standard” in training and ranking neutral arbitrators and mediators for the U.S. labor force.

By Monday, April 20, you will receive an email message from the American Arbitration Association: aaaelections@taloncommunications.com
It will include a “ballot” for you to complete electronically, and a unique PIN code for your use in transmitting your selection for President.  

Your response will be transmitted directly to AAA, where it will be automatically – and anonymously – tabulated.  The Nominating Committee members will only see vote totals.  The response deadline will be Wednesday, April 29, allowing adequate time for your response, but we hope you will vote earlier.  Results will be reported to all on Friday, May 1, again via email.

Statements by the two candidates for President – Paul Ortiz and William (Bill) Keegan –  are here: “UFF-UF Election Information 202-2021”.

We hope this makes your Presidential voting safer and easier – and that you will vote! 

Election Process and Results for Other Chapter Officers, UFF-UF Senators and FEA Delegates

The names of all of the other candidates for chapter officers (other than President), UFF Senators, and Delegates to the Florida Education Association, can be found here: “UFF-UF Election Information 202-2021”.

These members are all hereby “elected” by acclamation, as there was no opposition for any of the seats and all have agreed to serve. Unlike the Chapter President position, UFF Senators and FEA positions are subject to Department of Labor (DOL) law, which does not allow for electronic voting. However, because these positions were not contested, there is no need or requirement for a secret ballot under DOL regulations. At this point, we do not anticipate being able to hold regular chapter elections electronically in the future. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us on the Nominating Committee. And most important, stay healthy!

Your Nominations Committee
Renata Serra, Chair rserra186@gmail.com
Laura Blecha lblecha@gmail.com
Maria Coady mbedard1202@gmail.com
Steve Kirn skirn@mac.com