e-Card Check in the Works?

As we’ve noted previously, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has requested information on electronic voting systems. The Wall Street Journal notes our anxiety that such systems could place the integrity of the current secret ballot union representation election process into question. They write:

Some business groups and business-side lawyers have expected the Democrat-controlled labor board to make changes to the election process through rulemaking after a controversial union-backed bill, the so-called card-check bill, which could have eased union organizing rules, failed to gain traction in the Senate.

While the request for information solicited by the NLRB is quite broad, we are concerned with their interest in securing “remote electronic voting technology” that would allow union representation elections to be performed outside of the workplace and outside of the supervision of NLRB monitoring. Allowing the use of electronic voting devices that aren’t supervised by NLRB observers could create a system of “electronic card check” that could expose employees to intimidation and coercion.

The NAM isn’t the only group uncomfortable with the idea of electronic voting systems as labor unions have also expressed concerns with utilizing electronic voting systems in political elections. The AFL-CIO has noted the flaws of electronic voting numerous times on their website:

One Person with a Blackberry Could Swing a Vote by James Parks on 6/30/2006

…three major electronic voting systems used in the United States—optical scanners, touch screen with paper trails and those without paper trails—have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities.

The major vulnerability in the voting machines is the wireless components, according to the Brennan Center study. A person with a wireless communication device could easily send a software attack program or another corrupt software to the machines and alter the vote count.

AFL-CIO Executive Council Statement 6/27/2005

Countless citizens were denied their constitutional right to vote as a result of failed voting systems, flawed processes, and—by some accounts—deliberate intimidation and chicanery. The failure of voting systems around the country disproportionately disenfranchised people of color, people with disabilities, the poor, and older Americans. Ultimately, these failures cheated us all.

Voting Rights Groups on Guard for Dirty Tricks, Could Be Harbinger for 2008 by James Parks on 11/6/2007

Voting rights groups are monitoring the handful of states that have off-year elections today, looking out for how voter identification laws are enforced, officials who won’t follow federal election law and electronic voting machine failures. Some political observers say the obstacles to voting that occur today may be a precursor for the 2008 presidential election.

AFL-CIO My Vote, My Right Campaign Set to Counter Republican Election Tricks by James Parks on 9/17/2008

The AFL-CIO’s 2008 Voting Rights Protection Program, My Vote, My Right, is helping to ensure that votes cast at the ballot box are properly counted, especially those in communities where the public’s political will repeatedly has been compromised by failings in our election system.

Union-Backed Candidates Win Major Primaries by James Parks, 9/13/206

Maryland voters also faced extensive problems in casting their ballots—highlighting the nation’s continuing voting irregularities with new technology. Voters were turned away at some polling places because new electronic voting machines did not work or poll officials had not shown up.

Despite the Media Hype, Thousands WERE Disenfranchised Nov. 7 by James Parks on 11/17/2006

Despite media reports that everything went well on Election Day, the reality on the ground was that thousands of people were disenfranchised because electronic voting machines failed…

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