Feds challenge secret ballot measures in four states

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January 18, 2011

Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah: The United States federal government is challenging not one but all four voter-approved ballot measures that related to secret ballots. The four measures appeared in four different states - Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah - on November 2, 2010 general election ballots. They asked voters to decide whether or not secret ballots should be fundamental rights in determining if workers are represented by a specific labor organization.

However, on January 14 officials of the National Labor Relations Board said the measures are unconstitutional and that the U.S. plans to invalidate the laws. Specifically, officials argue that the approved measures conflict with federal law and argue the case based on the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.[1] According to reports, currently the National Labor Relations Act allows for employees to use two methods to choose a union: a secret ballot election conducted by the board or by asking an employer to recognize a union following majority support with signed authorization cards.[2]

Attorney generals in all four states were notified of the board's conclusion and were given two weeks to respond before federal lawsuits are filed.[2]

In South Dakota, Attorney General Marty Jackley said, "South Dakotans have spoken on this issue with the passage of a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote by secret ballot. As attorney general, we will vigorously defend our South Dakota Constitution as we have done in the state court challenge to this constitutional amendment."[1]

See also

Ballotpedia News

Approveda Arizona Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment, Proposition 113 (2010)
Approveda South Carolina Secret Union Voting Amendment, Amendment 2 (2010)
Approveda South Dakota Vote by Secret Ballot, Amendment K (2010)
Approveda Utah Vote by Secret Ballot, Amendment A (2010)

References