Secret ballots

SECRET BALLOTS…. When criticizing the Employee Free Choice Act, conservatives tend to argue that the legislation would “eliminate secret ballots” for union elections. It doesn’t; it’s just another bogus talking point intended to scare people.

In fact, it came as a very pleasant surprise to see the Wall Street Journal editorial page, of all outlets, concede today that the bill “doesn’t remove the secret-ballot option from the National Labor Relations Act.” This comes as a welcome and rare example of honesty from the WSJ editors on the issue. It was, after all, the same editorial board that argued just nine days ago that EFCA would “eliminate secret ballots for union elections.”

But in a fun little twist, Greg Sargent notes that the Republican National Committee — which levies the bogus EFCA argument in its party platform — itself “forbids the ‘secret ballot’ as a way for the committee to make many of its own decisions.”

From the party rules:

No votes (except elections to office when properly ordered pursuant to the provisions of Robert’s Rules of Order) shall be taken by secret ballot in any open meeting of the Republican National Committee or of any committee thereof.”

To be sure, this is fairly standard for committees like the RNC. But the point here is that even the RNC is implicitly acknowledging that the “secret ballot” is not the only fair or Democratic way to make decisions by vote. And yet the sanctity of the “secret ballot” is one of the RNC’s central arguments against Employee Free Choice.

Good point.