From the voting procedure video on the IEA website.
I’ve been posting about the IEA election for Retired delegate to the state convention.
Understand that active teacher, ESP and other delegates from locals are elected by their locals in their buildings and the elections are run by the local.
Only student members and Retired members have state-wide elections. In the past the voting has been done by mail-in ballots. The participation is low. Less than 20% of retired members vote.
IEA Retired does not control how the election is run. It is entirely handled by staff with the ultimate responsibility belonging to Executive Director Audrey Soglin.
Since becoming a retired member I (and others) have asked why the voting can’t be done online with the hope that online voting would increase participation.
I was told that online voting violated federal labor law.
Apparently that is not true. This year the election is being held online (and by mail-in ballot if one is requested). No law has been changed.
- Members have told me that they received nomination forms in the mail on the day of and after the nominating deadline.
- Only 25 members are running for 21 delegate slots. Last year there were 39 members running for fewer slots. That is a huge drop in the number of candidates.
- We have been told that this is a “pilot” election to assess online voting. Leadership says that I mischaracterize this. “The process is being piloted, not the election,” IEA VP Kathi Griffin told me. I need an explanation about the difference between an election and a process.
- How can an actual election be a pilot? Delegates will be elected who will vote on IEA budget, officers and program. If the process is compromised, so are the results.
- If there was advance notification that this would be an online election, it still caught many members unaware and by surprise.
- For me to finally cast a vote I had to email IEA half a dozen times. Calls to the private company that is running the election were answered by voice mail with a promise my call would be returned. I received no return calls after I left two messages. How many retirees will go through so many steps in order to vote?
- Retired members who are not comfortable with online voting were told that they would need to submit a request for a paper ballot each year. The deadline to request paper ballots is weeks before the deadline for online voting. I had one day to request a paper ballot before finally receiving my password and pin to vote online.
- There is no confirmation of your online vote. Once I voted, a message appears that I voted but I have no record of the vote. I received no email confirmation, for example.
Mail-in voting keeps participation low in a state-wide election. Low participation keeps insiders in and those with connections connected. Online voting should increase participation. If the evaluation of the “pilot” is that it doesn’t work well or doesn’t increase participation, IEA leadership will have an excuse to return to mail-in voting.
Beyond all that, we had former IEA President Bob Haisman, a current IEA Retired Council member and candidate in the election telling members on his Facebook page to contact him, offering to help members vote, a violation of the IEA’s own voting rules and procedures.