Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Secret Ballot As A Requirement For A Free Election

Nlrb Columbine Cable Co., 351 NLRB No. 65 (Nov. 30, 2007), is an important case because it reminds us that a secret ballot is a requisite for a free election. In this case where the election was decided by one vote,  two voters cast their ballots where they were observed voting by the Board agent and the Observers. Significantly, there was no evidence that any one actually saw the vote that the employees cast. That however, is not the standard. If the circumstances raise doubts concerning the integrity and secrecy of the election, it will be found objectionable. That is what happened here.

Somewhat surprisingly, Member Walsh dissented. He believes that the NLRB voting process does not require perfection and that perfect laboratory conditions are not always attainable. He would over-rule the objections because there was no reasonable doubt established as to the fairness of the election.

I think the majority is right on. The Secret Ballot process is a core part of the NLRA. If there are doubts about the secrecy of the election, it should be set aside.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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