The Sioux Falls Argus Leader in South Dakota has a new statewide poll out showing broad support for a state constitutional amendment meant to require secret ballot voting in union representation elections. Respondents supported Amendment K by a margin of 53-23 percent, with 24 percent undecided. The text of the amendment:

§ 28. The rights of individuals to vote by secret ballot is fundamental. If any state or federal law requires or permits an election for public office, for any initiative or referendum, or for any designation or authorization of employee representation, the right of any individual to vote by secret ballot shall be guaranteed.

South Dakota is one of four states where voters will have an opportunity to reaffirm the principle of the secret ballot, the others being Arizona, South Carolina and Utah.

Although the anti-democratic Employee Free Choice Act is a frequent topic at Shopfloor, our focus has always been on the legislation’s prospects in Congress and, more recently, the possibility of the National Labor Relations Board enacting its provisions through rules and case decisions. Union elections fall under federal labor law, which would we would guess — it’s a guess! (if somewhat informed) — that the state measures would not stand a challenge in the courts.

But the state votes on these “Save our Secret Ballot” measures will still send a powerful message, one that members of Congress need to take seriously. Among the original co-sponsors of H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act, when introduced into the House in February 2007 were the Arizona Democratic Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, Raul Grijalva, Harry Mitchell and Ed Pastor, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, and Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah.

If the above House members are re-elected next week even as the state secret-ballot measures win approval, the voters will have put them on notice: Do not EVER support the Employee Free Choice Act again.

The Wall Street Journal commented on the initiated measures in an Oct. 21 editorial, “Card Checkmate — Voters in four states head to the polls to preserve honest union elections.

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