As defined by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), "Secret ballot" means the expression by ballot, voting machine, or otherwise, but in no event by proxy, of a choice with respect to any election or vote taken upon any matter, which is cast in such a manner that the person expressing such choice cannot be identified with the choice expressed.
The LMRDA does not specify procedures for ensuring a secret ballot just as it does not require a specific form of ballot, such as a paper ballot.
With a manual paper ballot conducted at a polling site, unions must provide voting booths, curtains, screens, partitions, separate rooms, or separate voting areas. In addition, unions must make sure that voters actually cast their votes in secret.
With a paper ballot election conducted by mail, unions must take appropriate steps, such as using a double-envelope system for the return of ballots, in which the voter's identity is shown only on the outer envelope.
Both polling place and mail ballot elections using paper ballots require a significant effort by your union to ensure a secret ballot. In our electronic voting system, BallotPoint helps you by including measures designed specifically to provide a secret ballot:
- Voter identities and votes cast are stored on separate secure servers that are housed in separate physical locations.
- Our software is designed not to release member-identifying information in a way that could be used to associate a particular vote with a named voter.
- Our servers are protected by high strength firewalls similar to those used by the Department of Defense.
- Communication between the voter's computer and the BallotPoint election server is via secure socket layer (SSL) in the members' browser and on the server.
- If voting by telephone, the voter has control over when and where the call is placed, thus assuring privacy when voting.
- If voting by internet, the voter has control over selection of the computer from which votes are cast and can select appropriate antivirus software and firewall protection.
When choosing a voting method, don't be misled by claims that paper ballots are the most secure way to vote. Evaluate the protections afforded by each method yourself.
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