Thursday, May 09, 2013

Letter to Gary Russell: Why was the ballot language CHANGED this year?

Kathie Bracy to Gary Russell, May 8, 2013

Hi Gary --
We missed you today at Franklin Co. Retired Teachers. Your "sub" did a credible job, but she ducked out quickly when she was finished, without giving us an opportunity to ask questions (she said to call STRS if we had questions), so I decided to e-mail you instead for some answers.
My questions have to do with the 2013 STRS board election, which, as you know, ended just two days ago.
In both the 2009 and the 2013 elections, there were four retirees running for two seats on the STRS Retirement Board. In 2009 it said on the ballot "Select up to two candidates", but this year the wording was changed to a command, "Select Two Candidates". (Also, Mike Nehf's letter that was sent with the ballots said specifically "vote for two candidates"!) This confused many retirees, causing them to vote for two candidates when they had originally planned to vote for one (called single-shot voting, a fair and square voting approach) because they were tricked into thinking it was a requirement in order for their vote to count.
(1)  My question: Why was the wording changed?
For people voting online this year, again those who wished to vote for ONE candidate found themselves forced to reject a second, pop-up ballot before their FIRST vote was accepted!
(2)  My question: What was the reason for this second pop-up ballot?
When you go into a voting booth to vote for president of the United States or whatever, you are NEVER given a second option like this. Why did STRS require it? Are retirees being patronized, or what?
More questions:
(3)  If online voters in the STRS board election were given such an option, then why wasn't a second ballot mailed to every retiree who sent their original one in with only ONE vote?
(4)  Why weren't they given a second chance as the online voters were?
I would appreciate some answers to my questions, which, as you are aware, are legitimate. Thank you for your time.
Kathie Bracy
STRS Retiree
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