And then there were none. Tonight’s NENA meeting ran nearly four hours, in part because the people running it decided to make over 120 neighbors sit (muted) through two hours of rudderless procedural theater, before allowing them to comment on THE central issue: the matter of the member vote that effectively recalled five sitting directors.
Ninety percent of almost 800 verified members voted to remove them, but based on their agenda of minor issues, they yet hadn’t gotten the message. By the end of the meeting, they’d lost two more important votes, as board veteran Anne Hausrath and newly elected director Chrystal Allen both resigned their seats. Others resigned from key committees, like recruitment and historic preservation.
Eventually, comments and questions went on for almost two hours, with most neighbors asking the same basic question, each in their own way: “When so many have voted against you, stepped back from working with you, and asked you to leave… why do you insist on staying?” Mostly, the answers given seemed to look back and blame someone else, especially past board members and volunteers.
Some commenters implored the recalled five directors to step aside. Others drew distinctions between what’s technically allowed and what’s necessary to be good neighbors. There was talk about looking forward, the backlog of important work and issues piling up, and provisions in the bylaws for emergency situations, like when there are suddenly no credible board members remaining.
Probably the biggest eyebrow raiser of the night was Sarah Foregger trying to explain why it was okay that she personally fronted some of the money for the legal “expert” the board has relied on to invalidate the member petition and vote. Call it “a donation to NENA” she says, of her generously fronting some of the money for the out-of-town lawyer who says she can keep her board seat. (Uh… thanks, but no thanks?) And, why does his vote count (and cost!) more than hundreds of member neighbors?
The full video should be posted in a day or two on the NENA website, and linked here.
This post reports everything you need to know about the voting results from the NENA Member Vote last Thursday (3/18). See previous posts (scroll down) and the main Member Vote page for more about why the vote was needed and how the vote was conducted, secured, counted and fully documented in objective, tamper-proof tools like Google forms and Zoom recording.
A complete review of the online verification process was conducted Friday night (3/19), confirming that every vote was cast by a unique, verified NENA member. Then the entire process of unsealing and counting paper ballots was fully documented on live Zoom video, with dozens of neighbors signing on to watch the process. See below for online validation counts. Click here to watch almost 3 hours of counting and filming each individual paper ballot.
On Monday morning (3/22), the results of the vote were delivered to NENA’s newly-hired attorney, whose work serves all NENA members, asking her to advise the board of the vote’s implications. Click here to read that letter.
NENA’s bylaws (Article V, ¶ 4) require, “Actions taken by the Board should represent the majority sentiments of the general membership of NENA.” NENA’s two remaining directors now have a responsibility to members to remove the recalled directors from NENA board business and recover any NENA property and accounts access they might have. The removed directors can no longer claim the trust or support of a majority of members and must now step aside.
Who Voted in Thursday’s Member Vote vs. the October Election?
How many voted to recall five NENA board members?
More about Attendance, Verified Members, and Valid Ballot Counts
See the posts below for more about the legal validity of this process and other aspects of how it was organized and conducted…
On Saturday morning, Member Vote organizers will unseal the ballot box, count the paper ballots, and tally the votes for recall of five sitting NENA board members.
Monitor this process live, if you want, via Zoom video. Click here to join Zoom and monitor the unsealing and counting of paper ballots – COMPLETED
Simultaneously, other volunteers will be reviewing the online registration video, double-checking names and addresses against those submitted with online ballots. We hope to be able to announce the combined vote counts by the end of the day.
Hundreds of NENA members cast ballots yesterday (3/18), online and in person, on the recall of five current NENA board members. Vote organizers, like many other neighbors, are looking after jobs and kids and other things today. All the paper ballots are still sealed in the ballot box. The online ballots are secured by Google. The necessary steps to properly unseal, tally and document the results are being taken, with an abundance of care. We expect results will be reported at some point this weekend. Interim updates will be posted here, as they become available. Thank you for your patience!
Here’s what we have seen and learned so far:
A Legal Vote
The vote was organized by dozens of NENA members and volunteers, who submitted to the NENA board, in early January, a petition with at least 134 verified member signatures, requesting a vote on the recall. That request was eventually and improperly dismissed by the current board. In such a situation, Idaho non-profit law and NENA’s bylaws allow for members to organize a meeting and hold the vote.
The meeting called on March 18th for the purpose of voting on the removal of five board members was properly noticed. Written notice was delivered to 5200 North End residences and businesses, 10+ days before the vote. It was noticed in the Idaho Statesman, social media channels, this website, emails and on posters all over the neighborhood.
Online and In-person Crowds
Hundreds of North End neighbors turned out, between 4pm and 8pm on March 18th, and cast thousands of individual votes on the five separate removal questions (one for each of the five board members being considered). Via Zoom and on the patio at Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park, neighbors turned out and patiently waited their turn to sign in and vote. There was a steady stream of neighbors at both locations, for the full four hours. Thanks to Boise PD for monitoring, since nobody knew what to expect.
Quorum Established and Maintained
A quorum of 25 members was established and maintained, to meet requirements in the bylaws. The quorum was established across the two meeting sites, which were linked by Zoom video, before any votes were recorded. Throughout the four hours, online participants numbered 50-70 participants. A steady crowd of in-person voters streamed through the Sun Ray site. Also worth noting, a few voters had to be turned away when they couldn’t wait until the quorum was established, showed up right after we’d adjourned, or tried to vote the day after by email.
Verified and Documented Eligible Voters
Every voter’s eligibility was established by a combination of measures. Pursuant to the requirements in NENA’s bylaws, neighbors were required to show ID and/or other proof of address, and in some cases sign an affidavit attesting to their address (as is done in government elections), in order to meet the boundary and age requirements in the bylaws. Online, every voter showed their face on live video, spoke their name and address, and showed their ID on camera (up close so we could verify addresses). The online ballot contained an affidavit where voters declared, under penalty of perjury, that they were providing accurate information and understood that to do otherwise is a felony. Every voter gave written consent and asked to be included as an eligible voting member of NENA, to meet the requirements of Idaho law and NENA’s bylaws.
Data Security and Documentation
The entire voting process has been secured and documented. Online, the entire Zoom session was recorded. That video of people and IDs will not be made public, but it’s available for review by authorities, if needed. Once signed in, online voters proceeded to a Google form ballot, similar to the October election, where their information, attestation, and specific votes were submitted directly to Google, where the History function clearly shows no changes have been made to that data. At Sun Ray, all paper ballots went into a sealed ballot box, monitored by a member of the Idaho State Bar, and those handling paper ballots will be signing, under penalty of perjury, that they have conducted that counting properly.
Counting the Votes
The online votes have been given a first review. A small number of obvious duplicate votes have been set aside (without altering the original voting data spreadsheet). A few addresses need to be verified (property owners vs. residents, in most cases). The video of IDs needs to be reviewed and checked against the timestamped votes, to confirm everyone’s votes. This process is more rigorous than what was done in October’s board election.
For the in-person, paper ballots, the sealed ballot box will be unsealed, the ballots counted, and the votes tallied on recorded video. Members of the current board have been invited to attend that video session, so they can secure the counting for themselves. The paper counting process can only happen as quickly as the organizers and the current board can schedule that session. For now the box remains sealed, as shown at the end of the Zoom video recording. The unsealing and counting will be shown live and recorded on Zoom.
An Abundance of Care
We have seen an unprecedented turnout, from all across the neighborhood. Obviously many many neighbors really care about what is happening. The organizers of this vote have deep experience in the neighborhood and as NENA volunteers over many years, and are taking every possible step to conduct things as carefully, securely, transparently as possible, documenting the process, even though that makes it take longer. Meanwhile, they are also out cleaning up the neighborhood, taking down the Vote posters – and taking care of jobs, kids, and the rest of life. Updates will be posted here as soon as possible, sometime over the weekend.
NENA MEMBER VOTE TO RECALL FIVE BOARD MEMBERS
TODAY – THURSDAY MARCH 18th – 4pm to 8pm
Vote online via Zoom – everyone will be required to show up on live video to provide their name, address and ID. THEN you will proceed to the online ballot form. You can Zoom/Vote by phone if you like, but NOT by dialing in audio only.
Click here to join the Zoom session and get the online ballot
Vote in-person at Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park – masks and social distancing will be required. Remember to bring your ID.
Other questions or need help voting? Send an email to email@example.com or call 208.590.7447.