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Article XXII: Sector Referenda
SECTION 1. The E.C. shall submit to a referendum vote of TNG-CWA membership:
(a) Any matter which the Sector Conference directs;
(b) Any motion, upon its own initiative, proposing a change in TNG-CWA's Constitution or Sector Conference policy;
(c) Any motion, proposing a change in the TNG-CWA Constitution or Sector Conference policy or the calling of a special Sector Conference submitted by a Local by membership action, and endorsed by membership action by at least twenty percent (20%) or more of the Locals representing twenty percent (20%) or more of the members of the Guild.
SECTION 2. (a) Motions by Locals to submit matters to a Sector referendum shall be mailed to Local presidents and secretaries and printed in the Guild Reporter, with an exact text as furnished to the E.C. by the Locals making these motions, together with the text of the matter sought to be changed, and such motions shall be open for seconds for 60 days after date of mailing. If there are not sufficient seconds, the matter shall be dropped.
(b) Membership in good standing under Section 1 herein shall be as of the first day of the month, computed in accordance with Section 12(a) of Article XVIII, coinciding with or immediately following the publication date of the Guild Reporter in which the text of the motion appears.
SECTION 3. The ballots to be submitted for the referendum, whether initiated by the E.C. or by Locals, shall state the original text of the matter sought to be changed, and the text of the proposed changes. Space shall be provided for a "for" or "against" vote on such a proposed change.
SECTION 4. Whenever a Sector Conference is to be held within three months, no question shall be submitted to a referendum.
SECTION 5. There shall be a Sector Election and Referendum Committee ("SERC") consisting of five members of the Guild selected by the Sector Conference. A separate election shall be held in the same Sector Conference to elect two alternates. An alternate shall serve at the call of the chairperson of the SERC when a committee member is not able to participate in deliberations of the committee. The alternates shall be called to serve in the order of the votes they received in the election. All elections and referenda conducted under this Article shall be supervised and conducted by such Committee. Such Committee shall decide all questions and controversies regarding the conduct of the election or referendum or the counting of ballots in accordance with applicable constitutional provisions. Any member or Local aggrieved by a decision of the Committee may appeal to the E.C., and thence to the Sector Conference. Vacancies in the Committee shall be filled by the E.C. TNG-CWA shall pay the necessary expenses of such Committee members.
SECTION 6. (a) Membership in good standing for the purpose of referenda (except Sector elections) shall be that in good standing as of any of the following dates: the first day of the month in which the referendum is ordered, or the first day of the month preceding, or the first day of the month following, the date on which the referendum is ordered, as shown by remittances postmarked not later than the 15th of said latter month. Not later than the last day of that month, the Secretary-Treasurer shall mail to each Local, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, the list of members so determined, together with ballots equal to the number of members on that list. If no members are in good standing, the Local shall be so notified.
(b) In the case of Sector elections, membership in good standing shall be that in good standing as of any one of the following dates: the first day of the month in which nominations shall close, or the first day of the month preceding, or the first day of the month following, the date on which nominations shall close, as shown by remittances postmarked not later than the 15th day of said latter month.
(c) Not later than the ninth day of the month following the last month in which good standing may be determined, the Secretary-Treasurer, under the direction of the SERC, shall mail to each Local, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, the list of members so determined together with ballots equal to the number of members on that list. If no members are in good standing, the Local shall be so notified.
(d) Immediately upon receipt of ballots or notice that no members are in good standing, the Local shall protest, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or confirmed telegram or mailgram, or confirmed facsimile message, alleged inaccuracies therein. Protests regarding voter eligibility with all supporting documentation must be received at TNG-CWA headquarters by not later than the end of business on the third day preceding the official six-day voting period. Protests and supporting documentation received after the deadline shall not be considered. The SERC shall rule on each protest, and in the event the protest is sustained, shall amend the good standing list and send any necessary additional ballots, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.
(e) In the event a member's dues and assessments are checked off under Guild contract or have been paid by the member to his or her Local, but remittances for him or her have not been timely received by TNG-CWA, the SERC shall consider his or her eligibility upon receipt of a statement, signed by the Local Treasurer or any two officers of the Local, showing in detail the member's checkoff status or actual payment and the reason his or her remittances have not been received by TNG-CWA. If the SERC finds that the member is in good standing under Article XIII, Section 4, and Article XVIII, Section 11, and that there is valid reason why his or her remittances have not been received, it shall certify such member as eligible. The statement must be received not later than the 15th day of the last month in which good standing may be determined, except that the Local may upon receipt of the eligibility list provided by Article XXII, Section 6(c), submit further such statements as a part of any Local protest to the eligibility list. All such statements shall be part of the election record.
(f) Each Local after receiving its ballots shall initiate an election, which shall be by secret ballot at a designated polling place or places, or by mail, or both, and shall be conducted by the Local Elections Committee. The SERC shall set a period, not to exceed six consecutive days, and between 15 and 30 days from the date when the ballots were mailed to the Locals, during which each Local shall, at its discretion, establish a day or days for voting. Ballot boxes shall be opened and ballots counted only during the two days following the last day of the six-day voting period. Ballots to be returned by mail may be distributed or mailed prior to the six-day period, but shall be opened and counted only during the two days following the last day of the period. Only members on the good standing list shall be eligible to vote; except that members not on the good standing list, claiming eligibility to vote, may cast challenged ballots under SERC rules.
(g) After polling, the Local committee conducting the referendum shall tally the ballots and the results shall be certified to the Sector Headquarters on a return provided for that purpose by the Sector Election and Referendum Committee.
The return shall be signed by the Chairperson and at least two other members of the Local Elections Committee, or if the Local Elections Committee consists of only three members, by the Chairperson and at least one other member.
(h) All returns shall be sent to Sector headquarters postmarked not later than midnight of the fourth day after the close of the six-day voting period.
No later than the fourth day after the date by which returns must be postmarked, the Secretary-Treasurer shall notify, by confirmed telegram or mailgram, all Locals from which no returns have been received.
The Local Elections Committee shall forthwith transmit to the Sector Election and Referendum Committee at TNG-CWA Headquarters, all ballots, valid, spoiled and unused, and all eligibility and voting lists and all other election records other than the official return. After their receipt at TNG-CWA Headquarters, the election records shall remain sealed in their original envelope or other container, which shall be opened solely by the SERC or members of the Committee delegated to perform that function.
(i) Returns from the Locals shall be opened and tabulated 40 days from the date on which Sector headquarters sent out the ballots, or such earlier date as all possible returns have arrived at Sector Headquarters, by the Sector Election and Referendum Committee, the results certified and the election or referendum declared closed. A detailed result of the vote shall be published in the first issue of the Guild Reporter thereafter.
(j) No returns postmarked later than the fourth day after the close of the six-day voting period shall be opened and tabulated. In case of a controversy over date of mailing, the date shall be ascertained only by reference to a postmarked envelope or wrapper or to a receipt for registered or certified mail. In the event a return cannot be counted because it bears a late postmark, or no postmark, then the returned ballots shall be counted instead, unless there is evidence of fraud in the voting.
(k) The Sector Election and Referendum Committee shall have authority to remove from the list of eligible voters the names of any who have died, or have withdrawn from the Guild, or who have been expelled or dropped from the Guild.
(l) Wherever in Section 6 it is provided that the Secretary-Treasurer shall perform a mailing by registered or certified mail, he/she may, in an emergency, upon consultation with the chairperson of the SERC, perform the mailing by some other method appropriate to the circumstances.
(m) This section shall be interpreted and applied liberally to ascertain the actual intent of the voter and the true result of any election, and shall not be interpreted or applied so as to unnecessarily disqualify eligible voters for immaterial irregularity.