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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

Guidelines for the Use of Electronic Voting Systems in Union Officer Elections

On January 11, 2011, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) published 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.

The comment period closed on March 14, 2011, and OLMS is currently reviewing comments received. 

Last Updated: 03/22/11