To prohibit scheduling secret ballot elections during Representative Assembly deliberation of new business.

Bylaw 3-15. Voting

No signing of new business items can be conducted in the polling area and voting lines during voting. Secret ballot elections shall not occur at the same time as conducting new business on the Representative Assembly floor.

Impact Statement

Secret ballot elections are conducted at the Representative Assembly for election of candidates to NEA office and on proposed amendments to the NEA Constitution and Bylaws.

Election dates and times are governed by the NEA Standing Rules:

  • Standing Rule 11(B)(7)(b) states that first ballot elections for NEA office “shall be on the second day of the Representative Assembly. Polls for voting on the first ballot shall be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon on election day at such place or places as the President may designate.”
  • Standing Rule 11(B)(7)(i) states that “polls for voting on amendments shall be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon on the third day of the Representative Assembly at such place or places as the President shall designate.”
  • Standing Rule 11(B)(7)(m) states that “The Representative Assembly shall not recess until the results of the election are certified and presented to the Assembly on the day of an election.”

Polls often must stay open later than the timeframe established in the Standing Rules in order to accommodate all voters.

Timing of the consideration of new business items is also governed by NEA Standing Rules. Specifically, Standing Rule 3(D) requires that “items of new business submitted in accordance with these Standing Rules shall be the first business item at all business meetings except the first business meeting of the Representative Assembly. These new business items shall be considered for at least one hour at the second business meeting and for at least 90 minutes at each subsequent meeting.” Under this Standing Rule, new business is considered for at least 90 minutes on the mornings of the second and third days, at the same time elections are conducted pursuant to Standing Rule 11.

If adopted, this amendment would prohibit scheduling secret ballot elections and Representative Assembly consideration of new business at the same time. In 2015, the NEA Representative Assembly spent approximately 14 hours debating 122 submitted new business items. If adopted, the amendment would prohibit secret ballot elections during any of this time.

The amendment would supersede conflicting provisions in the Standing Rules governing the timing of elections and new business. If the amendment is adopted, the NEA Standing Rules would have to be amended to bring them into compliance with the Bylaws and the amendment would be implemented subsequently in 2017.

Submitted By


D. Trevor Shiffermiller, CA

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