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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

Number: 01-11

January 10, 2011

OLMS News 01-11:  Guidelines for the Use of Electronic Voting Systems in Union Officer Elections

On January 11, 2011, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) will publish in the Federal Register a Request for Information (RFI) notice seeking public comment to assist the Department of Labor (Department) in issuing guidelines concerning the use of electronic voting systems in union officer elections.  See  “Electronic voting systems” is meant to include: (1) electronic voting machines used for casting votes at polling sites; (2) electronic voting from remote site personal computers via the Internet; and (3) electronic voting from remote site telephones.  “Electronic voting systems” is not meant to include electronic tabulation systems where votes are cast non-electronically but counted electronically (such as punch card voting or optical scanning systems).

Title IV of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) establishes democratic standards for the conduct of union officer elections.  The LMRDA does not, however, require a particular method or system of voting.  Labor organizations are free to establish their own methods or systems of voting for officer elections as long as they are consistent with lawful provisions in the union’s constitution and bylaws and the provisions of Title IV of the LMRDA.  Labor organizations and other interested parties have sought guidance from the Department regarding the LMRDA compliance of electronic voting systems.  This request for information seeks public comment to assist the Department in the consideration and issuance of such guidance.

The comments from interested parties, including unions, union members, union officers, technology experts, academics, election service providers, public interest groups, and the public will help the Department issue guidelines describing minimum standards that electronic voting systems must meet to comply with the provisions of the LMRDA.  In addition, the comments should help determine what issues should be addressed and what specific standards should be included in the guidelines.  These guidelines and standards are intended to assist the Department in its obligation to ensure compliance with the LMRDA.

Comments must be received on or before March 14, 2011.

Electronic comments may be submitted through http://www.regulations.govTo locate the proposed rule, use RIN 1245-AA04 or RIN 1215-AB84.  Follow the instructions for submitting comments.  Written comments can also be sent to Stephen J. Willertz, Director of the Office of Enforcement and International Union Audits, OLMS, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N-5119, Washington, DC 20210.  Because of security precautions, the Department continues to experience delays in U.S. mail delivery.  Commenters should take this into consideration when preparing to meet the deadline for submitting written comments.

OLMS recommends that you confirm receipt of your delivered comments by contacting (202) 693-1182 (this is not a toll-free number).  Individuals with hearing impairments may call (800) 877-8339 (TTY/TDD).  Only those comments submitted through, hand delivered, or mailed will be accepted.  Comments will be available for public inspection at, and during normal business hours at the above address. 

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Last Updated: 01-11-11