UAW Election Results Delayed Due to Challenged Ballots
Results of the United Auto Workers (UAW) presidential runoff election are being delayed so that a federally appointed monitor can look into challenged ballots. The union’s Election Vendor began mailing ballots to members in January. However, the race has been extremely close, with Shawn Fain leading incumbent Ray Curry by several fractions of a percent and there are now concerns over unresolved ballots.
On Saturday, tabulations were paused in Dayton, Ohio, after the office of the monitor (New York attorney Neil Barofsky), the UAW, and election vendors suggested more time would be needed. There are reportedly concerns that some of the voting members may not be in good standing with the union or that some of the votes may have been counted (or submitted) incorrectly.
All told, more than 1,600 ballots are being challenged. But the margin for victory is much tighter than that – with Fain’s lead representing fewer than 700 votes.
The monitor had previously planned to resume the vote count on Thursday but recently confirmed that things will remain delayed until March 16th.
"Given the time-consuming nature of collecting information to resolve questions as to the eligibility status of the individuals who voted the challenged ballots, the monitor has determined that the vote count will not reconvene on March 9, 2023, as originally contemplated," explains the union’s voting website. "Instead, the monitor, UAW, and election vendor will continue the information gathering process until a sufficient number of challenged ballots have been resolved. In light of the remaining work, we now expect to reconvene the vote count with observers present on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at a place to be determined in the Detroit metropolitan area."
The union has been at the center of swirling corruption scandals these last few years, so some voters are seeking a change. Fain is an international administrative representative for the Stellantis Department and has been running on the Unite All Workers for Democracy Caucus backed by the Members United slate. His supporters believe his presidency represents the end of the Reuther Administrative Caucus’ decades-long influence over the union.
Meanwhile, a Curry win would show that the Administrative Caucus still has some fuel left in the tank. Despite establishment candidates seeing heavy losses in the union’s previous election cycle, he has signaled an eagerness to move past the UAW’s back-to-back financial scandals involving former union presidents. Though his previous role as the group’s secretary-treasurer has rubbed some voters the wrong way – especially considering federal proof resulted in 11 UAW officials (past and present) being struck with criminal charges.
Is Fair the better option or really less of an insider than Curry? We haven’t the slightest. But pushing the vote assessment back for at least another week seems a little extreme and will probably lead to some members questioning the validity of the outcome, regardless of the outcome.
For those interested in tracking the UAW’s election progress, its voting website will continue updating local and national results.
[Image: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock]
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