It all hit the fan yesterday in the Aloha State as the challengers in the recent Hawaii State Teachers Association elections went to the press to make their case. Each of the media outlets had its own details and takes on the situation.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser story gave us information about the vacated results:
Rosenlee said he won the top post along with his running mates, King Kamehameha III Elementary teacher Justin Hughey for vice president and Mililani High teacher Amy Perusso for secretary-treasurer. Rosenlee said he and Perusso each won their races outright by more than 150 votes, noting that only 26 percent of members voted. Hughey, meanwhile, won a runoff election against current HSTA Secretary-treasurer Colleen Pasco, but Rosenlee said the union hasn’t released that vote count.
It is significant that the challengers all won, but a 150-vote margin among 3,300 ballots cast is still pretty close.
Honolulu Civil Beat reports the challengers may file for an injunction against any new election. They also claim HSTA’s allegations of voting irregularities lack evidence.
When asked by email why the union is not releasing more specifics on the number of teachers who complained about missing ballots or why the election issues weren’t addressed before holding the runoff, Okabe said only “it is an internal matter.”
Rosenlee — who was present at the board meeting and voted in favor of certifying the election — and his running mates argue that the “only verified claim” involved complaints from approximately a dozen teachers who said they did not receive a ballot.
“In each instance, it was acknowledged that HSTA staff had promptly rectified the situation by providing a ballot and the member was able to cast a vote,” their press release said.
“Despite being requested to do so, HSTA has refused to release any information regarding any of these allegations,” the release said. “The manner in which these concerns about the election were raised and considered violated the HSTA’s Bylaws.”
At a press conference Thursday evening, Hughey said that the company hired to conduct the election sent a letter to the union saying it stood by the election results.
The HSTA Board of Directors is responsible for certifying election results but, as Labor Notes reports, some of the board members who voted on the certification were candidates, and voted after knowing the results. This is reportedly a violation of the union’s bylaws.
The KHON-TV broadcast presented the official HSTA line and gave short shrift to the challengers.
Hawaii News Now went in the other direction, focusing on the challenger’s charges, and offering the HSTA position as a sidebar.
It’s hard to imagine that this will end well for the HSTA incumbents, even if a new election goes forward, but we will keep you updated as circumstances warrant.