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September 2003

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Teamsters Vote Count (Arlene Ellis)
Vote Counts & The League: A History of Service (Terza Meller)
Bus Saga Outlined (Charles Carole)
Particular Point of View: A Cheap Transit Solution (Charles Carole)
Planning Committee Report: Update of City's Development Plans (Charles Carole)
Welcome New Members

VOTE COUNTS & THE LEAGUE

A History of Service

The vote count service the LWV today offers a manual yet sophisticated service under the leadership of Arlene Ellis. Over the years we have conducted vote counts for many, many public organizations including the Carpenters Union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the Laborers Union, the Inland Boatman's Union of the Pacific, the Teamsters, the Screen Actors Guild, the Neighborhood Boards, as well as the contested election of Local 5 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Workers.

Each election required individual adjustments to the processes and on the spot innovation to case the workload while maintaining the integrity of the process. With experience we have learned careful and efficient methods.

From the back of the files I pulled a narrative report written by Terza Meller in 1972 that relays her vote count activities. She says, " I met with Mr. Henry Epstein of the United Public Workers to discuss the League's supervising the balloting of the referendum, which would have ratified a proposed increase in UPW dues, and to set the machinery in operation... Mr. Epstein showed me the facilities in the office, the addressograph plates bearing the members names and addresses, and we talked about how the ballots could be mailed out ... After leaving Mr. Epstein, I went down to the downtown post office to see if a P.O. box was available, and was told there were none. The man in charge then checked with other post offices conveniently located for me, and we found that the Waikiki branch could give us a box. It was a large one and came to $6.00 for two months. I signed the necessary papers, and was later reimbursed by UPW.

"The following Monday morning, along with some helpers (Rhoda Miller, Helen Fredericks, Mable Keesling, Diane Hasten) we spot checked the sealed envelopes against the master membership tapes to make sure that only members were being mailed the ballots...

"(Returned) ballots started arriving within two or three days in huge bags (impossible, of course, to put into any size post office box). For three or four days, thousands of envelopes were returned. I brought them home, put them alphabetically in zip codes, and worked daily trying to keep the arranging of envelopes current. When the bulk of mail had been received about a week before the Dec. I 1 counting day, I checked each envelope off against the master membership tape. The tape itself, because it was in a roll, had to be cut and stapled onto large sheets, to make it easier to use. I used news roll ends having no print, which I obtained from the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

"...The actual counting of the ballots was done when all the ballots for a county were assembled, and double checked by different counters. UPW had three observers watching us, and Mr. Epstein also came in during the course of the day...

"...The approximate number of hours I put in (aside from the paper work that had to be done after the Dec. 11 balloting), came to 99 hours and 30 minutes. Other combined women power equaled about 80 hours, making a total of 179 hours, 30 minutes."

Signed Terza Meller (1972)

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