Vote counting halted in union election

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The most contested leadership election in a union representing UC academic student employees has been shrouded in another layer of controversy after two days of vote counting plagued by breakdowns, partisanship and allegations of election fraud resulted in an estimated 1,500 votes not being counted.

Vote counting for the statewide tri-annual leadership elections for the United Auto Workers Local 2865 - which represents nearly 12,000 graduate student instructors, readers and tutors - began Friday, but after ballots from many of the campuses were challenged by both sides, it was pushed into Saturday. A day of counting Saturday ended with a vote by the union elections committee to certify the only a portion of the ballots and adjourn the vote counting, pushing back consideration of votes from three campuses - UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Merced - until the union's next Joint Council Meeting in July.

According to a letter addressed to the union membership from chair of the elections committee Travis Knowles, challenges to the election results were what determined in part the decision to adjourn and "given the serious nature of some of these charges and the heated and turbulent atmosphere of the counting room, the elections committee referred the matter to the Joint Council."

However, the decision to end the counting before all votes could be tallied has been met with serious controversy, with some asserting that vote counting was ended unilaterally and improperly, risking disenfranchisement of voters at three of the nine UC campuses that voted.

Aaida Samad is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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