Frequently Asked Questions on Election
Q1: How long does a person have to be a member in order to be eligible to vote in local division elections?
A1: A member is eligible to vote if his/ her dues are paid through the month prior to the month in which the election is held. This means to be eligible to vote in December 2021, a member must have paid dues in October 2021.
Q2: May retired members, or members who have relinquished either their seniority or the right to exercise their seniority, run for office, nominate candidates, second nominations or vote for local division officers?
Q3: May members who do not hold seniority in engine service (e.g., conductors, trainmen, etc.) be elected to a local division office?
A3: Yes, provided they (1) do not hold membership in another organization that purports to represent engineers, (2) maintain seniority in a craft eligible for representation by the BLE-T, and (3) are in continuous good standing and actively employed at the craft for twenty-four (24) month prior to nominations. Payment of a seniority maintenance fee to another labor organization that purports to represent locomotive engineers does not constitute membership in that organization.
Q4: Are retired or honorary members eligible for election to any office in the local division?
Q5: May conductor/trainmen members be elected to the local chairman position?
A5: If they do not hold membership in another organization that purports to represent engineers, and are in continuous good standing for twenty-four (24) months prior to nominations and elections, the answer is yes.
Q6: In a single division GCA, are nominations held for the office of general chairman?
A6: No, unless the applicable division or GCA bylaws provide otherwise. GCR Section 2(a) provides that on a road or system where there is but one (1) division and one (1) LCA, the LCA will be the GCA, with the local chairman serving as general chairman and the first vice local chairman serving as vice general chairman and, the division secretary-treasurer will be the GCA secretary-treasurer. In this circumstance, the member elected as local chairman will be the general chairman, the members elected as vice local chairmen will be the vice general chairmen and the member elected as the division secretary-treasurer will be the GCA secretary-treasurer, unless the GCA has adopted Bylaws approved by the National President that provide for the GCA secretary-treasurer to be elected in a different fashion.
Q7: If only one nomination is received for a particular office, can the person so nominated be declared elected by acclamation?
A7: Yes. The president casts a vote in favor of the sole candidate, and that candidate will be declared elected at the first meeting in December. Therefore, members elected via acclamation must maintain their continuous good standing until the election is complete and reported in December. Also, the requirement to report election results, pursuant to the second paragraph of LDR Section 8(d), applies to all offices including those elected via acclamation. And any member elected via acclamation shall not be installed until the division’s first regular meeting in January 2022.
Q8: Only one person is nominated for a particular office. After nominations and before elections at the first meeting in December, that member becomes ineligible to hold the office for which he/she was nominated. Should nominations be reopened for that office?
A8: Yes. Nominations for that office must be conducted again.
Q9: How would the votes received by the ineligible candidates be treated in tabulating the election results?
A9: If the ineligible candidate received the most votes, the election would have to be rerun with the ineligible candidate stricken from the ballot. If only one candidate remains in the contest after the ineligible candidate is stricken from the ballot, nominations for that office would need to be conducted again.
Q10: Can a person nominate and/or second himself/herself for office?
A10: No. The first paragraph of LDR Section 7(a) expressly prohibits a member from nominating himself/herself and from seconding his/her nomination.
Q11: Must nominations be seconded?
A11: Yes, including written nominations.
Q12: How does a member contest an election?
A12: A member wanting to contest an election must file a protest in duplicate with the local division secretary treasurer and the National President within thirty (30) days of the election. See LDR Section 8(g). It should be noted that any protest that fails to set forth the exact nature and specifications of the alleged irregularity, including a claim as to how it affected the outcome of the election, will be denied by the National President as procedurally deficient.
Q13: Members who are off due to illness or injury are carried by the secretary treasurer on the books as excused members. Do these members have the right to vote for all officers of the local division?
A13: No, unless they pay either full dues or dues at the non-working rate per NDR Section 29(h)(6) in the month prior to the month in which elections are held. If full dues are paid the secretary treasurer should report the member in the appropriate active status.
Q14: Members who are retired due to disability are carried by the secretary treasurer on the books as NDR Section 29(h)(1) members. Do these members have the right to vote for all officers of the local division?
A14: The answer to Q&A13 applies to NDR Section 29(h)(1) members, as well. It should be further noted that a member who has retired due to disability is only entitled to the Section 29(h)(1) exempt status until full retirement age — as defined in the Social Security Act — is reached. At that point, the member’s occupational disability is converted to an age and service annuity; relinquishment of all seniority is part of the conversion process by operation of Railroad Retirement Board regulations. At that point the member’s status must be changed from Section 29(h)(1) exempt to Section 29(i) retired. Retired members do not have voting rights in BLET elections.
Q15: May a member submit his/her ballot by any means other than by government mail?
A15: Yes, a member also may submit his/her ballot by delivering it to the division meeting, in person, prior to the opening of any ballot envelopes.
Q16: May a member change his/her vote after mailing the ballot?
Q17: May a member who was initiated after ballots were mailed out by the Election Committee be allowed to vote?
A17: The member may vote only if he/she paid dues the month prior to the month in which the election is held. If there are more than fifteen (15) days before the election meeting, the new member may request that a ballot be mailed by the Election Committee. If there are fewer than fifteen (15) days before the election meeting, the new member must attend the meeting to receive a ballot and vote.
Q18: A member does not receive a ballot from the Election Committee. How may he/she vote?
A18: If there are more than fifteen (15) days remaining before the election meeting, the member may request that a duplicate ballot be mailed by the Election Committee. The ballot envelope should be marked, “Duplicate Ballot.” If there are fewer than fifteen (15) days before the election meeting, the member must attend the meeting in order to receive a ballot and vote.