The Hawaii State Teachers Association says an election held last month for union leaders will not count because some teachers never got their ballots.
So the state’s 13,500 public school teachers will have to vote all over again next month, and some, including the candidates, are not happy about it.
It has never happened before, and angry teachers reached out to KHON2 to find out why.
The election included candidates for union president, vice president, treasurer and several other union officials.
Current president Wil Okabe, who has reached his term limit, told KHON2 there were too many reports of teachers not getting their ballots, either on paper, by email or both.
“The board felt that because of this situation on the items that were discussed that it could affect the outcome of an election,” Okabe said.
In addition to not getting ballots, there were reports of campaign violations by candidates regarding distribution of campaign materials. The company that distributed the ballots also made some errors.
HSTA says there were just too many irregularities that went on in the election, and that’s why it has to be redone.
HSTA says the board voted 21-8 to redo the election, which is more than the two thirds needed to approve it.
Campbell High School teacher Corey Rosenlee, who’s running for president, isn’t happy with the move. His attorney, David Rosen, told KHON2 they haven’t been informed as to how many teachers actually did not get ballots.
In a statement, Rosen said “it is unfortunate that Mr. Okabe is providing information to the media but not members of the board of directors who requested it.”
Former HSTA president Joan Husted says this is the first time an election has been voided.
Part of the problem is that HSTA did not release the information why the election was voided until two days after announcing it.
“Had they done it at the same time, they would have cut off 80, 90 percent of the criticism. By that time the rumor mill had started, the mudslinging had started. I mean, some of these board members were being accused of being bribed,” she said.
A redo election will be held on June 2nd. This time it will be ratification style, meaning teachers will have to vote in person at designated polling sites.