How to Provide Complete Observability for Your Union Election

What you need to know:

  1. There has been a significant increase in union representation petitions in the last several years.
  2. Union elections must maintain ballot secrecy, observability, and end-to-end verifiability.
  3. Innovative technology can provide complete observability

Union representation petitions filed with the National Labor Relations Board have increased nearly 60 percent in the first two quarters of 2022, according to recent NLRB data. This increase in union interest has been sparked by many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, political climate, and younger generations entering the workforce. Now, it’s necessary for unions to nurture that momentum with elections that offer a wide range of voting opportunities for members of all ages and abilities – whether that’s in-person, mail-in, online or a combination; all while remaining compliant with OLMS standards.

Maintaining ballot secrecy, complete observability, and end-to-end verifiability is essential for any election.

To maintain secrecy, nothing should be produced that can equate a voter to their ballot. Any voter eligibility must be challenged before ballots are cast as there is no way to void, change, or identify the ballot. This is true for both physical paper ballots along with online votes. SBS ensure this by:

  • Voters not being prompted to enter their names or organizational log-in information when using an SBS online balloting system, as voting credentials are randomly assigned.
  • Voter eligibility must be challenged prior to the election per LMRDA requirements, in an effort to avoid nulled votes due to mis-marked ballots, or incorrect ballot submissions.
  • These efforts are best practices for ensuring voters are registered properly, and that their identities cannot be traced back to their individual ballot.

Another important aspect of managing a verified election is maintaining top-notch security. SBS prides itself on our security infrastructure, which includes:

  • Co-located tier 4 data center
  • Symantec TLS encryption
  • SOC-2 Type 2 compliance
  • 24/7 system monitoring

Unions can be assured that your election, and its results are secured end-to-end.

There should be a system in place to count recorded votes and verify the election outcome, as well as for voters to be able to verify their vote is correctly recorded.

SBS exemplifies these abilities with remote ballot scanning live stream capabilities.

Importantly, a procedure must be in place to allow for any official observers chosen by the candidates to witness credentials being prepared, and the tabulation or count of electronic votes. There should also always be a way to generate a list of members who cast their ballots (not who ballots were cast for).

Our solution involves our team setting up a live stream ballot processing area, including private viewing rooms for in-person observers, scanners, multiple camera angles, and a private stream link for virtual observers.

Before this innovative live stream, the SBS team does the following:

  • Ballot check-in (if applicable)
  • Opening ballot envelopes
  • Ballot/envelope signature review (if applicable)
  • Ballot preparation for scanning
  • Set up of private and secure training area within SBS

Organizations can see their ballots being processed in real-time, and can be assured that their results have been attained in a secure and efficient way.

Have questions about how SBS and our election technology can make your union election a success? Contact us any time, we’re here to help.