you do not have an Election Committee; it is wise to select
one. There are a lot of legal requirements concerning
the conduct of elections, so to have someone who can manage
this important task for the Local is key to substantially
reducing the number of problems that can result if these
requirements are not followed.
Ballots need not be
mailed to the members’ homes, but if you do not, you are
still required to mail an Election Notice to every member’s
home not less than 15 days before the election.
If you mail ballots,
it’s a good idea to obtain a second mail box solely for
election ballots to maintain security and to ensure ballots
can be retrieved separately if returned during the conduct of
One of the Local’s
obligations is to update the membership mailing list on a
regular basis, especially before an election.
It is best to require
completed Nomination and Nomination Acceptance Forms to be
returned to a secure location or a member of the Election
Committee. Several Locals allow these forms to be
returned to an Executive Board Member, but several times these
persons may actually be running for office and should not be
part of the Local’s election procedures.
It is important to
validate the eligibility of each member receiving and
returning a ballot and to ensure that only one ballot is
returned for each member. Many Locals validate ballots
with a numbering system. Validation through signatures
on the outside of the return envelope is not a sufficient
method of validating membership status unless the Local uses a
“signature key” for each member for comparison. DoL
specifically recommends Locals not institute procedures
requiring members to sign the outside of the Return Envelope.
There should be enough
time in between the Posting of Nominations and the
distribution of ballots for candidates to campaign. We
recommend a minimum of 3 weeks for this purpose as DoL does
not identify what constitutes a reasonable amount of time for
The Local must comply
with a candidate's request to distribute campaign material to
members at the candidate's own expense. Additionally,
the Local must refrain from discriminating against any
candidate with respect to the use of membership lists.
Candidates have the right to inspect a list containing the
names and addresses of members subject to a union security
agreement within 30 days prior to the election. Whatever
rules the Election Committee establishes for the purpose of
providing candidates access to member mailing lists should be
published and provided to all candidates.
supporters are prohibited from using Union funds or equipment
to prepare or distribute campaign material. That
includes the use of computers, copiers, or printers. It is
imperative as well to avoid the use of agency equipment and
funds too, including copiers.
The following linked
documents should assist any Local Election Committee in
ensuring your Local complies with all necessary requirements
concerning Local elections. Double-click on the link