5.3.1 Objections - Investigation - Hearing
Upon receipt of the objections and other parties' responses to the objections, the Division determines whether the objections merit further proceedings. 456 CMR 14.12(3). The Division may dismiss some or all of the objections if it does not find probable cause to believe that the alleged conduct occurred or that the alleged conduct materially interfered either with the conduct of the election or with the results of the election. 456 CMR 14.12(3). If the Division concludes probable cause exists, it will investigate further or schedule a hearing. If there are undisputed material facts, the Division may issue a decision without further fact-finding. 456 CMR 14.12(3). See, e.g., City of Springfield, 14 MLC 1010, 1013 (1987). If, after hearing, the Division finds that the objections have merit, it will set aside the results of the election and direct that the election be re-run. However, if the Division concludes that the objections are without merit, it will issue a Certification of the Results of the Election.
5.3.2 Examples of Objectionable Campaign Conduct
1. Inaccurate eligibility lists. If a voter eligibility list contains enough inaccurate names and addresses or omits enough names and addresses, thereby interfering with the ability of the parties to an election to communicate with the voters, the Division may set aside the election. City of Springfield, 24 MLC 109 (1998); City of Springfield, 14 MLC 1010, 1013 (1987); Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 9 MLC 1842 (1983). However, the Division has declined to set aside an election absent evidence that an inaccurate voter list worked to the advantage or disadvantage of any party to the election. City of Springfield, 24 MLC 109 (1998); Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 7 MLC at 1306.
2. Facsimile Ballots. The Division will set aside an election if a party has distributed a facsimile ballot that could have led voters to believe that the Division endorsed one party to the election over another. See, e.g., Town of Barnstable, 15 MLC 1069 (1989); Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Unit 7), 10 MLC 1053 (1983); Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Unit 1), 7 MLC at 1294 (1980); Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Unit 4), 2 MLC 1261 (1974).
3. Misrepresentations. The Division will overturn an election based on misrepresentations by a party during the campaign if: 1) a party has misrepresented a highly material fact of which only the party making the misrepresentation knows the truth; 2) the voters have no independent knowledge or intelligence with which to evaluate the misrepresentation; 3) the timing or nature of the misrepresentation precludes an effective response by another party; and 4) the misrepresentation had a substantial impact on the outcome of the election . See, e.g., Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 22 MLC 1569, 1604 (1996); Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 16 MLC 1293, 1303 (1989); Boston Water and Sewer Division, 13 MLC 1071, 1073-74 (1986); Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Unit 5), 3 MLC 1067, 1071 (1976).
4. Denial of Access. The Division may set aside an election if an employer has unduly restricted a union access to employees during the election campaign. See, e.g., Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Unit 7), 9 MLC 1842, 1848 (1983).
5. Conduct of Election. The Division may set aside an election if there has been sustained conversations or campaigning in the polling area that could have affected how employees voted. See, e.g., Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 16 MLC 1292, 1307 (1989); Boston Water and Sewer Division, 13 MLC 1072 (1986); Vinfen Corporation, 11 MLC 1481 (1985). In addition, the Division may set aside an election if the conduct of the Division agent has violated the neutrality of the election, disenfranchised a substantial number of voters; or failed to maintain the secrecy or security of the ballots.