Ensuring Union Election Partner Compliance

What you need to know:

  • Union elections must follow specific standards set by the DOL and LMRDA.
  • The 3 key words to remember are: Secrecy, Observability, and E2E-VIV.
  • How to find an election partner who is in compliance and knows the rules.


More than 14 million Americans are union members in both the public and private sectors. In order for a union to survive and thrive, it needs engaged members to run for leadership positions and vote in elections. And, whether your union offers in-person, mail-in or online ballots, or a combination of options to vote, you’re likely working with a third-party elections partner to help make sure the entire process runs smoothly.

When it comes to union elections, the most important thing to remember is SOE – Secrecy, Observability and E2E-VIV (End-to-End Verifiability).

Just about anyone can be a third-party elections vendor, but it takes a special, next-level organization to be an elections partner. So, how do you make sure your third-party elections partner makes SOE the focus of every election?



  • Ask your elections partner if any voter can be associated with their vote by anyone. If the answer is, “Not one thing is produced that can equate a voter to their ballot,” you’re on the right track.
  • The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) establishes the standards for conducting union officer and delegate elections. It explicitly requires any voter eligibility to be challenged before ballots are cast. Your third-party elections partner should explain that if a voter mis-marks or mistakenly submits their ballot, there is no way to void, change or even identify that ballot. The same applies if the eligibility of a voter is challenged after they have cast an electronic ballot.
  • Your elections partner should explain if any online votes can be associated with the voter. This should never be the case. Voters should not need to enter their names and login information should never be displayed on the same screen as their choices or even a ballot. All online voting credentials should be randomly assigned.

A secret ballot is a secret ballot – whether submitted in person, by mail or online.



  • Your elections partner should have a procedure in place to allow any official observers chosen by the candidates to witness credentials being prepared and the tabulation or count of electronic votes.
  • Your partner should also have a way to generate a list of members who cast their ballots, but that’s all.


End-to-End Verifiable (E2E-VIV)

  • How will voters be able to verify their vote is correctly recorded? How do they know if their vote was included in the final tally? Your elections partner should be able to easily answer these questions. They should also have in place a system to count recorded votes and verify the election outcome.

Some of the security processes and software SBS has in place includes:

  • Field-tested, reliable, hardened and SOC-2 compliant.
  • Constant monitoring and auditing with ongoing vulnerability assessments including daily malware scans.
  • Secure infrastructure managed by highly trained and certified engineers.
  • 24/7 monitoring and response and guarantee immediate response and resolution for any issue that may arise.
  • Regular audits by a third party.
  • Online elections are hosted in Flexential’s data center with more than 99.99 percent availability. Data is co-located in redundant datacenters to ensure power grid distribution protection.
  • Utilize industry-leading encryption and authentication protection.


Don’t settle for anything less.

If your third-party election vendor can’t (or won’t) share their extensive security policies and procedures, it’s time to consider an election partner who will protect your union election.

For more details on the ins and outs of union elections, download our free eBook: The Blueprint to Successful Union Elections.

Have questions about your union election and how to ensure it’s secret, observable and end-to-end verifiable? Contact us, SBS has more than 30 years of experience and we’re here to help.