First Thoughts on Tonight’s (9/28) NENA Election

UPDATE (10/1): Over 300 ballots were cast in-person and online. Results posted at NENA website. Congrats to Amy Allgeyer, Drew Alexander, Nola Walker, Julie Varin, and Julie Madsen. See below on why 6th place Laurynda “Ryndy” Williams should be named to fill even-year seat vacated earlier this year by our friend Chrystal Allen. Thanks to everyone who stepped forward to run and right the NENA ship!

Thanks to everyone who came out to vote tonight! I know many people stood in line in the cold for well over an hour. I arrived at 6:45, voting started after 7:30, and I was the last person to vote when it must have been after 9:30.

Having run two very clean election processes for NENA in the last year, I asked early on if I could ask some questions of the (unidentified) person hired to run the election. He promised to answer my questions when the voting was finished. But when the time came, he refused to give his name, answer any questions about how the counting would be documented (like we video’d the counting of recall ballots in March), and got hostile even as I repeatedly asked to have a calm conversation about the process.

Then he declared that his contract was with the board, that he would certify his findings to them, and that the only information available about the election would come from the board.

He refused to offer his name, any clarification about his business name, had no business card or website. When we google the business name we find only a “consulting and agriculture” outfit in Idaho, which kind of makes sense as his role is really starting to smell like a ranch, if you know what I mean.

In March, we counted hundreds of recall paper ballots in three hours, in a public place (13th and Alturis, no less), with many people, on video. Fully transparent. Online votes can be counted in minutes, and take a bit longer to double check for duplicate votes, all documented automatically by GoogleSheets.

I can imagine no reason the counting should not be done (and documented on video) by the end of business tomorrow. Yet the results have been promised in a couple, or few, days. I hope it won’t take that long.

I’m especially interested in who will finish in 6th place. There are six open seats, but only five were decided by tonight’s voting. This board will fill that sixth seat – but will they fill that seat before or after they certify tonight’s five winners? Either way, will they vote to ignore the sixth place finisher on hundreds of ballots tonight – and choose somebody else instead?

There were many good people on the ballot tonight. I thank them all for their willingness to run and do the work. I don’t think the neighborhood will lose tonight’s vote – in spite of those running this election, not because of them.

I just hope we can get the name of this mystery vote counter, get his documented results soon, that the previously removed board members certify those five quickly, and that the new members will make quick work of refilling the rest of the board with more good people, prepared to do the work in skillful, transparent and gracious ways the removed five have shown over and over again that they cannot understand, much less embody.

Once seated the new board members should (1) vote to remove, per the bylaws, the two recalled directors who’ve missed three consecutive meetings, (2) vote to stop spending neighborhood money on lawyers working to dismiss the legitimate recall vote (by over 90% of almost 800 members) last March, and (3) vote to accept the results of that recall vote directly. This is how we get a truly clean slate and move on.

Long live NENA and the spirit of the North End, which came out, onsite and online, in droves tonight! Thank you all! –Michael Herman