Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dennis Leone on the 2013 STRS board election and a bold prediction for the ballot language that will appear in 2017

From Dennis Leone, May 12, 2013
Out of 73,000 votes that were tabulated, I was shy 778 to get elected..…and the STRS Board still doesn't think the two OEA-backed incumbents were improperly helped or that the  election was influenced at all by:   (1)  The “Select Two Candidates” command on the paper ballot; or (2) The online voting procedure that required retirees to reject a second pop-up ballot (which invited them to vote for a second candidate) in order to get their first choice accepted; or (3) Mike Nehf’s own letter in the ballot envelop that directly instructed retirees to “Select Two Candidates.”
No, no, no…..these 3 things didn't make retirees feel that they needed to cast a second vote in order for their primary vote to be counted.  No sir.  I wish I had a nickel for every retiree who called me or wrote to me, asking who their second vote should be for in order for their vote for me to be accepted.  And STRS refuses to answer why the 2013 ballot was different than the 2009 ballot – even though there were 4 people running for 2 open spots both times.
None of the 3 factors cited above occurred in 2009.  Oddly, Mike Nehf said in writing to me 2 weeks before the votes were tabulated that while he felt retirees had been given sufficient information to know that they could actually vote for just one candidate (even though the paper ballot issued a command of “Select Two Candidates’), he also wrote that the second pop-up ballot (that was forced onto anyone who tried to vote online for just one candidate) was necessary “to make voters aware that they could vote for 2 candidates.”
What? In other words, the STRS Executive Director put in writing that additional explanation was NOT necessary to clarify the “Select Two Candidates” paper ballot command, but additional explanation WAS necessary to make sure online, voters were “aware that they could vote for 2 candidates.”  STRS refuses to accept the reality that forcing a second ballot onto online voters would be like mailing a second ballot to any retiree who sent in a ballot with just one vote.
This whole thing does not pass the smell test. For sure, the ballot in 2017 will not be like the one in 2013. It will be like the correct one (“Select Up To Two Candidates”) that was used in 2009.
Dennis Leone
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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