Possible Tampering in Ohio Vote

Int’l union election officer Stephen B. Goldberg impounded ballots and ordered a new election at two Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am. locals in the Columbus, Ohio, area due to possible ballot tampering. LIUNA Locals 216 and 423 recently completed an election for delegates to attend LIUNA’s convention this fall in Las Vegas. Twelve were nominated for nine slots. Nine were local bosses running as a slate.

Goldberg ruled June 21 that, while he could not determine whether there was an intentional effort to tamper with ballots, there were numerous violations of election rules that “cast substantial doubt on the validity of the election.” He cited several violations, including the fact that ballots were picked up early from a post-office box and left at a candidate’s office, and that far more ballots than needed were printed. He added that the problems raise concerns about the locals’ future ability to conduct fair elections.

Goldberg ordered the reg’l election coordinator in Pittsburgh, Michael J. Healey, to conduct another election with mail-in ballots. Healey said dates for the new election haven’t been set but that members would receive an election packet in July.

“Whether this was a comedy of errors or purposely done, it casts the entire union election process in a bad light,” said Jeff Nourse, one of three Local 423 members who ran the election.

The problems are just the latest for Local 423. Its election for vice president was overturned and repeated by the Dep’t of Labor in 1998 because the local illegally elected a convicted felon.  [Columbus Dispatch 6/23/01]