There is a trial going on in Houston, Texas that brings to mind just how vulnerable union supervised voting systems are to manipulation; and might go a long way in explaining why some union officials seem to be elected for life.
The former president of Houston’s largest Teamsters local — Charles Crawley, Local 988 — is on trial in federal court on charges he fixed his 2002 re-election.
How did he supposedly do it? According to an article by Cindy George in the Houston Chronicle, Crawley used the union’s computer system to create phony ballots. Then, he and another union executive, Gary Kyle, “formed an assembly line, Kyle said, where Crawley chose members from the roster he predicted would not vote and marked phony ballots for them.” Then Kyle admittedly “placed each ballot in an envelope, sealed it, and placed a postage stamp on it.” Then, off to the mail.
They seem to have made one error. The return envelopes they used didn’t have the words: “PLACE FIRST-CLASS POSTAGE HERE” and the real ballot’s return envelopes did.
Crawley seems to have been caught by a minor detail. But unfortunately, it is a detail others might not have missed.