From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is seeking new ways to help unions increase their ability to organize workers. It is doing so by investigating and promoting the possibility of permitting employees to vote via home-based computers and other offsite computers in union representation elections. Electronic voting would clearly hamper goals of management, while significantly broadening the opportunities for organized labor. Here are four problems of electronic voting:

1. Electronic voting would replace paper ballot voting, which is monitored in the workplace. Paper ballot voting has proven successful in eliminating fraud and in preventing union organizers from coercing and intimidating workers.

2. Electronic voting would be a boon to unions, for it would accelerate election procedures and truncate the time during which employers could inform employees of the disadvantages of union membership.

3. If remote electronic voting were to replace paper ballot voting, there would be enormous opportunities for union organizers to coerce and intimidate workers. Furthermore, it would be impossible to determine if people, other than legitimate employees, were doing the actual voting.

4. Votes that have been electronically registered could be altered by hackers, resulting in stolen elections. The introduction of electronic voting may be the NLRB’s first of several steps to sneak elements of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) into the National Labor Relations Act. Such administrative action is a clever way of helping organized labor achieve its goals, two of which are to increase the number of unionized workers and put more money in union coffers.

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