Dear Board of Directors:
While we've made great strides in recent years with
regard to our Election Process, it seems we may be
backsliding to the kind of problems that have characterized
our past elections. I am writing to warn that this
must not happen.
This year’s first major error was that multiple
proxy ballots were mailed to shareholders with breakthrough
apartments. This mistake had been made in previous
years – how could our Election Chair and General
Manager not catch it? Upon realizing this error, Kate
Nammacher sent out a message saying:
“Breakthroughs did mistakenly get a proxy
for each apartment. Election America now has the corrected
list and on the back end knows which apartments are
linked. A communication will be going out soon to
those with breakthroughs to clarify the situation.”
I have no way of knowing whether “the corrected
list” was sent to Election America, but I know
that the promised communication to Shareholders with
breakthoughs DID NOT go out!
Furthermore, there is evidence that Election America
STILL did not have proper Shareholder lists –
early on election day, at least two Shareholders were
improperly turned away! (It turns out that Election
America’s list included only one name for each
apartment; this problem was reported at about 7am
and was remedied by about 8am.) How could our Election
Chair and General Manager not catch this in advance?
Now there is uncertainty about proxy receipts. I
know two people who voted by proxy ballot on or about
June 5. One voted by paper ballot and received a receipt
in the mail on June 13. The other voted online and,
as of this writing (evening of June 17), has not received
a receipt. One would expect that sending receipts
for paper and online ballots would follow the same
time-table! To investigate this, I tried to call Election
America, using the phone number they included on the
receipt for the paper proxy ballot. Wrong number!
So I called the number printed on the memo that was
distributed on a memo from our Board. I left a message
this morning, and did not receive a response by the
close of business today.
I totally appreciate that our volunteer Directors
apply their “best efforts” to conducting
our Co-op’s business, and also that “honest
mistakes” can be made. But this litany of errors
rises to the level of incompetence. This lack of process
invites fraud! We face problems in our elections year
after year, and I can no longer accept that our process
is still characterized by such a lack of diligence.
I hereby challenge any of our Directors to respond
to the following essential questions:
At what point were receipts to be sent – upon
receipt of the ballot by Election America or upon
the votes being included in the official tally?
How many receipts should be received by people who
submitted more than one ballot (ie, one paper and
one online)? If more than one, what indication will
there be that only one ballot was counted?
Will people still receive receipts if they overrode
their proxy ballot in a voting booth?
Some shareholders with breakthroughs will be using
multiple ballots (at a minimum, I asked some to do
so for control purposes); how many receipts should
these Shareholders receive?
Our Directors receive their mandates through our
elections, and the decisions they make touch upon
every facet of living here. The results of past elections
have turned on a single vote. It is wholly unreasonable
for our elections to be riddled with irregularities
year after year. So, I call for all our incumbent
and incoming Directors to be on notice: each of you
has the fiduciary obligation to see that our present
election is completed properly and that our future
elections are planned and executed in a thorough,
robust and diligent manner.