Wil Okabe: HSTA Elections
Statement Attributable to Wil Okabe
President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA)
REGARDING THE HSTA CANDIDATE ELECTIONS
I am extremely disappointed that some candidates running for HSTA offices have chosen to violate HSTA’s procedures and protocol with their recent public announcements. And instead, have chosen to disrespect the decision made by their fellow teachers on the HSTA board.
The HSTA Board of Directors did not certify the results of the earlier vote because of serious discrepancies that were reported in the election and voting process. Numerous reports were provided to HSTA staff and board members that teachers did not receive their ballots either by mail or e-mail. This included several board members who personally reported that they did not receive ballots.
In addition, potential violations in the way that candidates conducted their campaigns were also reported. And errors occurred in handling the ballots including the premature release of the e-mail ballot count, and not giving candidates the opportunity to visually observe the vote count, which is their right according to our election rules.
A board meeting was held on May 16 to consider the certification of the vote. After more than 12 hours of deliberation, the board felt that the election was seriously flawed. As is their right, the board chose to not certify the vote. And subsequently, by a 2/3-vote of 21 to 8 (out of 29), decided to hold a re-vote to help ensure that all teachers had a fair opportunity to participate in the election process.
A process for the re-vote was developed that would allow for a fair election. This includes operating voting locations across the state on June 2. In addition, any teacher that is unable to go to one of the polling locations can submit an absentee ballot. This process is similar to the system used by HSTA for contract ratification votes and has resulted in a high level of participation by teachers.
I know that this has been a difficult situation for the candidates, the HSTA board members, and all of our member teachers. And I understand the frustration felt by everyone involved. But I want to assure everyone that the HSTA board is acting in the best interests of their fellow teachers to ensure a fair election. And I encourage all of our members to participate in the upcoming re-vote on June 2.
Stryker Weiner & Yokota
Stryker Weiner & Yokota