Hello. My name is Nicholas Pisacane. I have lived at 353 West 11th Street for 35 years. I’m a member of the Election Committee, and I would like to make some very brief remarks about the election process and, certainly, not about any of the candidates. And I want to make it very clear that I am speaking only for myself, and not for any of the other Election Committee members. I volunteered for the election committee in the hope of making this year’s election more open, transparent, and inclusive than last year’s, and, like Caesars wife, beyond reproach. Last year’s election resulted in a lawsuit that was dismissed on a legal technicality, but the substance of the suit was never adjudicated. I wanted to try to ensure that this year’s election would not end up in court, as well. Nine months ago, Tatiana Carryannis and Charles Weisman were asked by the BOD to research and suggest ways to improve the electoral process. They created an Election Observers Handbook. It outlined, recommended and suggested many ways to improve our electoral process and enumerated many of the responsibilities of the Election Committee. Just a few of these were:
- That the Election Committee should vet commercial polling companies and make a recommendation to the BOD.
- Develop and publicize the electoral timetable.
- Ensure clear, written guidelines for the election inspectors.
- Draft and disseminate voter education materials to shareholders throughout the electoral process to minimize confusion, disqualified ballots, etc.
- Ensure clear ground rules for disqualifying ballots.
- Make sure results are posted ASAP after the election is concluded.
None of these measures were adopted for this election. There were dozens more that were similarly rejected, but time is too short to recount them all.
In addition the Election Committee itself, had a few recommendations. Among them were:
- That absentee ballots be given out in addition to proxies, to encourage the greatest participation in the process.
- That True Ballot positions itself on stage during the voting and tabulation, in plain sight and for all to see, and display the election results as soon as the count is completed.
These recommendations were not adopted, either. And lastly, a brief recollection of a personal experience bordering on farce.
After being told that True Ballot would be conducting the election, I was asked by the Election Committee to get in touch with them, and to ask them to send us a brochure describing their capabilities, procedures and experience.
I called True Ballot, telling them who I was, that I represented the Election Committee, and what I needed.
I spoke to an officer of the company who was extremely helpful and cooperative and who suggested that he send me the proposal that True Ballot had made to the Board, describing what they would do and how they do it etc. I replied that that would be great, and to please send it to me, ASAP.
Fifteen minutes later my phone rings and this same gentleman tells me he cannot send me anything, and that only the Board can send the proposal to me. I thanked him, called management to ask for a copy of the proposal and was told that I could not yet get it because the Board had not yet seen it.
Not being incredibly bright, it took me a few minutes to ask myself the obvious question, “If the Board had not yet seen the proposal from True Ballot, how could they have already been hired to run the election?
Upon further inquiry I was told by management that the Board had, indeed, not yet hired True Ballot.
The only problem with this response was that it later proved to be chronologically incorrect. True Ballot had been hired weeks before.
Unfortunately, my recent experience on the election committee has done nothing to assure me that this year’s election will be any more open, transparent or inclusive than last year’s. In my opinion, a real opportunity for reform has been missed.
It has been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant.
I must sadly conclude that this year’s election, like last year’s, will be conducted more in shadow than in sunlight.