K-State voting process lacks transparency, neutral party

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Kansas State University classified employees are scheduled to take an important vote November 19-22 regarding leaving the state Civil Service system or keeping Civil Service protections intact.

The university voting process will be done electronically through the university email and mail system. Many classified employees have concerns about this process, as do our union members who are also classified staff. AFT Local 6400 represents the service and maintenance workers at K-State.

Computers have been known to have problems, including manipulation, crashing and taking data incorrectly. Further-more, the voting process set by the administration has minimal transparency regarding vote tabulations, as there is no neutral third-party monitor or guidelines for a recount process if requested, among other con-cerns.

The internationally recog-nized Carter Center says of e-voting: “By its very nature, e-voting technology limits trans-parency as many aspects of vote tabulation occur invisibly.”

We feel there is a more democratic way for the Civil Service vote that would be fairer and more transparent. One proposal we have is a secret paper ballot that should be sent via U.S. mail to every eligible classified employee — there are about 1,600 at KSU. The employee would mark his or her vote and send this in a sealed envelope to an agreed-upon neutral third party. On an agreed-upon day, the neutral third party would count the votes in the presence of classified staff, union members and administration officials.

The administration is aware of our concerns, and in a response letter said it intends to keep the voting process as planned.

It states that the Office of Planning and Analysis at K-State, which is tasked to conduct the voting process and tabulate the votes, has considerable experience and confidence in the security and accuracy of the administration’s electronic and ballot voting process. We do not.

We encourage all classified staff concerned about the voting process and other issues related to Civil Service protections to attend President Kirk Schulz’s town hall meeting Nov. 15 from 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m. at the K-State Alumni Center.

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