Sunday, April 10, 2022

UFT Election 2022 - High schools up for grabs, Split Ballots May Affect close votes, anti-Mulgrew sentiment even within Unity will increase splits

"I just can’t bring myself to vote for Unity - I can’t stand Mulgrew. He caves on everything." I asked will he vote ufc - he said “honestly I don’t know - but I just can’t go to mulgrew”... Anonynmous

Either this person splits the ballot or doesn't vote at all. A lost vote for Unity if nor necessarily a vote for UFC. Don't discount the Mulgrew factor. I saw a comment from a hard core Unity person who urges people to vote for Unity while recognizing the Mulgrew handicap -- paraphrasing: We know he's a liability. We'll take care of him inside the caucus. Is a post-election palace coup coming?

Sunday, April 10, 2022
In the next few days UFT members will be receiving in the mail a serious sized booklet listing all the candidates running in the election (Ballots must be in by May 9.) The easiest way to vote is to choose one of the two slates on the front page, tear it off, put it in the envelope labeled SECRET BALLOT and put that envelope in the other envelope.You'd be surprised how many people do not use the SECRET BALLOT envelope and just put their ballot in the mailing envelope. Does this invalidate your vote? Possibly. 

But what if you want to vote for people from both slates or don't want to vote for some people on either slate? That is known as a split ballot and requires picking through the entire booklet putting check boxes next to each name. Each caucus has 12 officers, 90 Ex Bd plus 6 candidates faux E4E labeled WECU running for Ex Bd at large, plus one independent. Unity has an additional 650 and UFC 300 AFT/NYSUT delegates. Machines do the counting, so any screwed up marks on these ballots cause problems and even invalidation. Some people check a slate and vote for individuals -- which can invalidate the entire ballot - though as a member of the UFT election committee I will argue to only use the slate and ignore the rest as some people get confused and think they have to also vote for their friends. In every election there are numerous invalidations. (We've seen some slate votes with both boxes checked -- invalid).

Slate voting - I say YES
I have always argued for slate voting only rather than going through the laundry list of thousands of names who are running in UFT elections. When not active in the opposition I split my ballot but then learned in election count observations just how few there were and how we reported only the slate votes since the relatively few split ballots were never enough to change the outcome. You'd find that the lowest totals for a candidate on Unity to the highest total varies by a few hundred votes. Same for the opposition. But this time those few hundred votes can turn an election. Can you imagine a split ex bd?

For instance, in last year's Retiree election, the slate vote for RA was less than 7K and for Unity around 16K. But within each group there was a different total for each candidate. For RA, the well-known Michael Shulman got the most votes - over 7K. My vote total was somewhere in the middle of the pack. It made no real difference, except for some egos. But what if the election were closer - say Unity and RA roughly split the vote at 50-50 -- then those individual splits would decide the election with a mixed group from Unity and RA. One strategy we used in this election was to run some well-known retirees for Ex bd at large - their names will appear on very ballot. I didn't make the cut and will only appear for Ex Bd on functional ballots. My chances are slim and none given Unity's bigg

In 2019, with me being so pissed at MORE and not thrilled with any caucus, I did split my ballot -  I had no dog in the race - I just re-read what I wrote then and made some interesting predictions. An eclectic group for sure: 5 for Solidarity, 4 for Unity, 3 for MORE.

Worth reading.

My (2019) UFT Election Choices: Duke Breaks Bracket, Ex-MORES In Play on Unity Slate - Yes, My Choices are Personnal

An eclectic group for sure:
5 for Solidarity, 4 for Unity, 3 for MORE

But this time I do have a dog in the race and am urging people not to split the ballot and vote UFC slate. For those continuing critics of MORE many have been won over by the broader coalition of UFC - including some people who had left ICE for being too left a decade ago.  Dislike of Mulgrew and Unity Caucus is a uniting force - even if temporary.

One story:

I ran into a CL and original MORE while leafleting a school last week - he recognized me even with my mask on - and said he was considering voting for Unity - which was an eye-opener. He introduced me to a colleague and I sold UFC to them - or tried. I explained the coalition and he listened - he has been so anti-Unity all these years -- but he was mad at UFC over the DA disruption issues - even if they are minor. The funny thing is he hasn't been very friendly to me over the past few years and I thought it was because I left MORE but it was the opposite - he was mad at MORE. I explained there are some great new people in MORE who have changed the chemistry.

In my April 2019 piece I cited above I asked this Post-election question:

Will New Action still be alive and can some alliance between them and Solidarity plus ICEers and other non-MOREs be put together as a serious bulwark against Unity?

Given the MORE anti-working with other caucuses and dim view of the UFT election at the time, I never expected MORE to join a coalition. So win-win. The question for this election is what happens to the UFC post election? That depends on outcomes. If they win some ex bd seats the hope is they work together at UFC instead of caucus focus. Chances? 50-50.

However, who listens to me? Not THE DOENUTS BLOG -- a friend who I have consulted with through the years, despite some rocky moments - after this election I hope we use the favored method of bonding - a beer in a bar.

Here are two posts on splitting the ballot

I agree on Schitzer

Why I support Mike Schirtzer - only if you split the vote he's a must but please don't

I can't vote for Mike since I am doing slate, but if I did split he would get my vote as the only semi-independent on the Unity slate. Mike won with MORE in 2016 and with Unity in 2019 - I couldn't vote for him then because I am not a high school teacher -- but this time he is running for at large -- which I supported him all the way when he proposed it to Unity. Mike has been helpful to the oppo people when we needed a voice on the ex bd without offending his Unity sponsors. And when he made his pitch to Unity leaders he was open about working with both Unity and UFC. When we pushed for electronic voting Mike was there for us.

By the way -- I think Unity wanted Mike to run for HS Ex Bd because he brings some votes - the former MORE I met above was very bothered that Mike wasn't running with UFC - so he has fans. Mike told me beforehand he would not accept a position on the Unity slate if he had to run against his friends. That Unity gave him an at large is a sign of respect.

So if you do split the ballot - Mike is a must. But please don't split the ballot.

Why more splits this year? Dislike of Mulgrew and Unity fatigue but no commitment to UFC yet.

Saying that, I think this year there will be an uptick in split ballots. In the vote count the one page slate votes are counted very quickly while the booklets have to be unstapled and run through machines and can take an entire day.

But lets imagine a close election - take the high schools. There are 7 candidates for each slate. If you look at the past as I reported last night -UFT Elections: Illuminating Stats from the past - 

You will see that total high school votes out of 20k are about 5K -- 25% return. And often roughly evenly split -- separated by a few hundred votes. Skipping the abnormal 2019 votes, you can see that MORE/NA won with about 2350 in 2016 and Solidarity running non slate still got about 250 -- total oppo around 2500. Unity got under 2200.

So start with those numbers as a HS base for each group. If UFC only holds onto that base and Unity goes up, the split ballots could make a difference. UFC would have to surge -- there was a time that New Action topped 3K with Unity almost hitting that number 20 years back. Imagine if both groups rouse their base and 6 or even 7K vote? All bets are off. My ideal -- Unity gets its base and UFC surges toward 3k and wins with over 60%of the vote in the high schools. Am I predicting that? Hell no. But based on the past HS elections over decades, if UFC loses HS it will be slim while the potential to win big is out there. Unity is running a heavy campaign and Janella is popular and should have been the presidential candidate and will probably be next time.

I will do more analysis in the coming days. I may be on another podcast talking about the election and was interviewed by a reporter who is pitching the story.


Just for giggles: 

In my research I came across this 2017 post from a real life fiddler: Unity Fiddles While High Schools Unrepresented - Oct. 2017.

2016 UFT Elections: Winning the High Schools - Part 1

UFT Elections 2016 Historical Analysis: Winning the High Schools, Part 2 - The 2014 MORE Retreat


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