Receipt of a properly filed election protest from a member of your union will prompt an investigation. Check your constitution and bylaws, or check with your international union representative to find out who is responsible for investigating election protests. As with any investigation, you must answer the basic questions:
First, read the protest carefully to get an understanding of what is being alleged and how it may have affected the outcome of the election.
Second, interview the member who filed the protest to make sure that you understand the full scope of the violations being alleged. Determine whether the member is in good standing and eligible to file a protest. Make sure that the protest was filed on time and according to the procedures required by your constitution and bylaws. Document any extenuating circumstances that might affect whether the protest was filed properly. Get a full explanation as to what happened and who was involved. Ask for any documents that might support the allegations, and ask for names of witnesses to the events that occurred. Finally, ask the member to explain how the alleged violation may have affected the outcome of the election.
Interviewing the member who filed the complaint is an important step, but it may be just the beginning. It is very likely that you will have to review election records and interview people who witnessed the events that took place. Preparing a plan to help guide your investigation is essential. As you conduct the investigation, take care to document your findings in writing as you go along. You will find that memory may fail you after reviewing many documents and interviewing many people.
The results of your investigation will be used to determine whether it is necessary to conduct a new election. Ask for help if you need it because the results will be significant to your union's future. The suggested steps outlined above are just the tip of the iceberg. BallotPoint Advisory Services is available to help if you need us.
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