Sunday, June 9, 2024

Can AAA Competence, Management and Reporting Process be Trusted in UFT Elections?

How competent is the AAA to conduct UFT elections with massive numbers of voters? Is there somewhat of an illicit relationship between UFT/Unity leadership and AAA officials? Does the AAA show favoritism to the very people who hire them for every election?
From Hiro Kawahara, elections director at AAA. 
  • He said that they can check to see if individual ballots were received at AAA.
  • He is only authorized to give the returned ballot count to the designated point person from the UFT. 
There are reports of ballots, mailed, being delivered to the address on the back (the voter) instead of to AAA. Here is one: 
So, I pick up the mail today and I find my ballot returned! And, it's postmarked "1 June 2024 PM 6 L --- UFT retiree and RA candidate.
He lives in New York so I suggested he hand deliver but he is not currently mobile enough and AAA doesn't allow for someone else to deliver.  No way to get another ballot in time and assure it will get there in time. And what about people who don't live in NY? There is no way they can get another ballot and have it returned in time. We need AAA and the UFT to tabulate how many late ballots come in each day after 8 AM on June 14. In fact RA should call for late ballots to be counted because of the failures of the AAA.

And then there were those delayed ballot mailings. May 10 became on or about with a lot more about than on.

Ed Notes May 21: J'Accuse: Unity/AAA Delayed ballots suppress the vote
So we were told that ballots were to go out on May 10 but no one we know received their ballot until at least a week later and many haven't gotten it yet. Then when asked, AAA reported "on or about May 10." I asked a former colleague who is a snowbird and up in Boston now and he hasn't gotten his ballot and probably never will unless he contacts AAA and gets them to send to his summer home. I expect we will have loads of people who ask the AAA for replacements and they do la, di, da and it takes a week to get one and another week for it to get back to AAA? Demand they extend the deadline for ballots received to a few extra days to make up for the delayed mailing and other AAA screwups.
But of course that will be rejected, as Unity is all about vote suppression. They are the Republican Party of the UFT.

Unity expects to win this election by bombarding their core with lies and misinformation about the opposition while suppressing the rest of the vote where ever they can.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

How competent is the AAA to conduct UFT elections with massive numbers of voters? Is there somewhat of an illicit relationship between UFT/Unity leadership and AAA officials? Does the AAA show favoritism to the very people who hire them for every election?

Over the elections for the past decade I have noticed changes in how the AAA deals with the various parties in the election. 
If RA wins, what are the chances Unity protests and calls for a new election?
Here are some thoughts:
What data does AAA have during balloting process and how much is shared with UFT/Unity? 

We can now confirm that the AAA scans in the cover envelope as the arrive and thus have data on everyone who has voted -- and by subtraction, everyone who has not voted. 
When I asked someone from AAA this same question they said, "No. We scan the day the balloting ends." I didn't see how that made any sense.
Now, imagine if someone had this information every day to check on their own core voters and contact those who didn't vote yet? Do we think that UFT/Unity, which hires AAA, would be denied this data? 

This would be collusion. We need inside leakers to actually tell us they saw this data in the past. Feel free to comment anonymously.

What data does the AAA have on results and how they are reported?
You'll notice on the second point made by the AAA election head that they can only report to a designated UFT rep. This is a big change since the days when AAA reps came out to all observers after each division vote count to inform us of the slate vote totals. LeRoy Barr would represent Unity. Now when we see him huddling privately with AAA people he claims he's UFT not Unity. Thus spoketh the head of Unity Caucus. So in recent elections we get zilch until the UFT decides to release the numbers and put its own spin on them, sometimes delaying things for days.

I raised the reporting issue as a member of the 2022 election committee but was constantly deflected. I also asked for school by school breakdowns on how many people voted as a way to check on the work UFC people were actually doing in their schools. I was turned down. Does Unity get to check on the work their own people are doing in their schools? Imagine a tabulation of returned ballots from oppo schools, with the likelihood of being oppo votes?

I will also note recent signs of a la di da attitude and thus a slowing up the count (purposely to create delays?) I used to walk in at 9 AM in the old days and things were humming. Now when I walk in people are just getting there and unpacking boxes. Then we see breakdowns in scanners, extremely limited ability to observe -- now we watch cameras on 2 out of 6 machines on a big screen with frequent stoppages. 

In the 2022 election they didn't even have cameras and told us we couldn't go beyond the ropes to look at the machines. So I raised hell - what are we observing then? They delayed for an hour to set up some cameras and a feed to the screen.

So is there cheating going on? From what I see I assume AAA conducts on honest count. The questions are how competent are they and their cozy relationship with UFT/Unity officialdom. Imagine if we won and hired another vote counting company? Or went to electronic voting? Our election is a potential threat to the AAA bottom line.

For me the dishonesty is how they pass info to UFT/Unity that other groups do not get. But there were times when the count was at the UFT HQ where the uncounted ballots were left overnight, supposedly with a security guard.

School info on voting is a particular concern
I asked the AAA guy in the past if we can get info on how many people vote in each school and he said they can generate such reports. In fact the AAA knows who in each school voted though not how because of the inner secret envelope. The outer envelopes are opened and are discarded. As a member of the 2021 election committee I made a reso calling for school data to be reported and Unity reps turned it down but agreeing to some kind of district report - which in the end was pretty weak. Spec Rep Patti Crispino was especially vehement in her opposition claiming school reports would "embarrass" people. Damn right. Imagine district reps and Unity ch ldrs being called to account for vote turnouts in the schools? 

I once asked UFT a key UFT election liaison about school data and he said the UFT didn't pay for that data. Yet insiders say I was lied to and they do have the data.
Does Unity have access to school by school data? 
Does Trump ever tell a lie?
Observers used to have free reign, now they are restricted. Why the change?
There have certainly been increasing restrictions on observers (yes, Covid was a reason so we accepted that.) I observed the last RTC count in 2021 and there were so many delays and we didn't get results for days until the UFT released them, a big change since the days of open reporting. YES - this is intentional. 
In last year's special para election they would not tell the two oppo winners the results in terms of counts. Since there were 5 people running, they had no idea how close the ones who lost came -- if they really lost. 

How about those constant jams on the scanners and why don't they have more of them?

So does Unity cheat?
What will they do if they get advance results that they are losing the RTC count June 14) or Para election (count June 13). 

For the June 14 count, will we see slate results that day, especially if the election is close or in doubt? We may have to sleep over.

If you want to read on, below I review my own history of observing vote counts and how the AAA has become more restrictive due to orders by Unity/UFT Officials.

I've been going to UFT election and contract vote counts since the 2004 election (I think I also went to counts in the late 70s) and in recent years have observed disturbing modifications in how the American Abritration Association and the UFT/Unity machine deal with elections.
I was involved in the 2004, 07, 10, 13, 16, 22 UFT elections as an active participant and observer and also observed the 2019 election results. In addition I observed the 2005, 2014, 2018 contract counts. And the RTC chapter 2021and the OT/PT 2023 counts. I don't remember but probably observed in the late 70s.
For major UFT elections through 2013, the UFT and AAA rented ballrooms from hotels on 7th Avenue around 53rd St. The space was wide open to any UFT member who wanted to observe with total access to looking over the shoulders of the AAA workers as they opened envelopes and ran the vote scanning machines. They counted slate votes one division at a time, with the smaller divisions first so we had results. Now they decide to do the largest first.
When each division was completed the AAA guy in charge called all together and gave us the totals for the slates. The booklets with individual votes took a long time and they held that for last -- none of us cared at all about those results. 
LeRoy Barr, Unity head, was often there standing with us. Did he talk to AAA people behind the scenes by switching his Unity had for a UFT official? Let's end the fiction that there's a difference.

I was at the hotel in 2013 and all the MORE people had left to go to a "victory" celebration at a bar on 34th St attended by 100 people. I had the results in hand at around 6:30 - same day as vote began and went down to inform everyone we won nothing -- but they cheered anyway. I bet of those 100 people you can count on one hand how many are still involved in MORE. (When you think of it, MORE is now over 12 years old - no comment in the impact on the UFT so far.)

In the 2014 contract and 2016 election there was a change. The counts were at AAA HQ at 120 Broadway, just a few blocks up from 52. The count took place behind a closed door with a large window for us to look in while observers sat around a large conference table. There was limited space and we submitted names to rotate in if necessary. 
In 2016 I was there until James Eterno arrived to take my place while I went off to an ICE meeting. James called us at the meeting to let us know we won the high schools, which makes the point that we had results the same day.
But we were allowed to go in and look directly at the scanners. Ellen Fox and I would sample a hundred ballots at a time as the day went on and could get a good reading on the ultimate outcome.

So let's jump to the 2019 election when we had 4 caucuses running and lots of observers. Shulman and some NAC, Lydia from Solidarity, Myrie from MORE and I was there I guess as an dishonored guest from ICE which stayed out of the election. I can't remember if we had access to the counting rooms to look over the shoulders of people. We only had a screen with two machine posted and lots of delays and breakdowns.

So the AAA has seemingly become less capable of efficient operation and more tied to the UFT/Unity leadership.

1 comment:

Laura Genovese said...

Thanks for reporting on this critical issue of election integrity, Norm. I knew it didn't feel right when I called AAA to confirm whether they received my ballot and was given this unsatisfying statement, "Sorry, we can't. We've received hundreds of ballots and there's no way to do so." Learning how Unity has behaved in elections, no less the huge contempt they've shown for true unionism and our very lives, this AAA response left me rattled. What you've detailed here validates my concerns and more. You bet I'll be sharing!!