Monday, May 2, 2011


The previous post detailed some of the more absurd claims that USEJ has leveled at UWDU over the past few days. One of them was a picture sent out by Daraka Larimore-Hall, accusing a member and poll worker at Berekely of tampering with the ballots. Below is that person's response to the accusations. His name is of course used by permission.

I am the person in the picture.  I would estimate that it was taken around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27.  It could be a little before or after; I wasn't keeping track of the exact time.  I was setting up the polling place at Sather Gate on Wednesday morning.  This is a picture from just before I opened up the poll.  I had tested the ballot box, and the way the slot had been cut, you could not get ballots to go in because the second layer of flaps blocked the opening.  So I opened the box to tape those flaps down, then closed it again.  After doing that, I finished arranging the materials on the table and opened the polling place.  My solution to the ballot box design flaw didn't work particularly well, because the flaps inside came un-taped and the ballots got a bit gummed up inside.  But I didn't open it again, because by that point voting had started.

We took the utmost care to make sure that the election was free and fair.  We followed all the union's safeguards to make sure that everyone's vote was accurately cast and safely counted.  We carefully tracked the number of ballots we were given and the number cast so that none would go missing and none be added.  If voters had questions about candidates, we did not give them our opinions but directed them to the candidate statements.  If they asked further, we let them know that representatives from both sides were available to speak to them.  In those cases, I always directed voters to the representatives from both sides, including to Mr. Larimore-Hall.  

I'm sad that there has been either a misunderstanding or a deliberate misrepresentation of this photograph.  If Mr. Larimore-Hall had come to speak to me, I could have shown him the problem with the ballot box and demonstrated that voting had not yet begun.  If he had come to speak to me, he might also have learned that I didn't have a stake in the election and was a first-time volunteer just trying to help out the union.  On the day of the balloting, it would have been all the same to me if Mr. Larimore-Hall had won reelection.  But now I'm not so sure.

Kenneth Fockele, UC Berkeley

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