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FAQ on 2021 elections

The following FAQ answers common questions about UFT chapter elections and how they will be modified in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

School-based chapter elections

How will school chapter leader elections be different this year to accommodate those working remotely? 

Because of remote schedules, voting will be conducted by phone rather than using ballots in person for school chapter elections. Each school must select an election committee chair to oversee the unique circumstances of this year's chapter elections. 

Will paper ballots be provided this year for school-based chapter elections? 

Paper ballots will not be issued for school-based chapter elections this year. Voting will be conducted by phone.

How will we receive access to vote by phone in a school-based election? 

The American Arbitration Association will send each member instructions via email and regular mail that include a unique PIN number to participate in the telephonic voting process.

What if we do not receive a PIN number needed to vote telephonically in our chapter election? 

A member who does not receive voting information should contact the American Arbitration Association at 800-529-5218 so it may reissue voting information for that member.

What chapter positions will members be voting for this year? 

Members in each school will vote for a chapter leader, delegate(s) and paraprofessional representative.

How many delegates will be chosen per school? 

It depends on the number of UFT members at your school. One delegate is elected for every 60 members. 

Who is eligible to run for a school-based chapter position? 

Any full-time UFT member may run for a position if they are on the school’s permanent table of organization or assigned to the school on the first Monday in May of an election year. All members may nominate, run and vote for the chapter leader position. Only teachers are eligible to nominate, run and vote for school delegate. Only paraprofessionals may nominate, run and vote for paraprofessional representatives. Additional chapter election rules can be found on the UFT website. 

What is the deadline for school-based chapters to select an election chair?

Election chairs must be chosen by March 25, 2021. 

What is the process to be nominated and get on the ballot? 

If members are interested in running for a school-based position, they should notify their school’s election committee chair in writing or via email including the nominee’s name, email and UFT ID number. If members are interested in running for functional chapter positions, they should fill out the digital nomination form or the paper nomination form sent to their home. Nominations must be submitted to the UFT by April 19, 2021. 

What happens if only one person wishes to run for the chapter leader position at our school? Must an election still be held?

If nominees run unopposed, the election committee must still certify and complete the official chapter certification data form and submit that document to the UFT Membership Department. 

What happens if a staff member who is not a UFT member wishes to run for chapter leader?

All nominees must be UFT members in good standing on or before March 15, 2021.  

Can a member of the school election committee also be a candidate for a chapter position?  

No, they cannot. 

What is the window during which voting will be conducted for school-based chapter leader elections? 

Elections will be coordinated with the American Arbitration Association and will begin no earlier than May 15 and conclude no later than June 18. 

How will we be notified of the date of our election?

Members voting in school-based chapter elections will receive notification of the date of your chapter’s election from the American Arbitration Association via email and regular mail along with instructions for voting by phone. In addition, the date will be posted on the Notice of Election located on the UFT bulletin board at your school.

What hours will we be able to vote? 

Voting will take place on one day between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.  

Functional chapter elections

How will functional chapter leader elections be conducted?

Paper nominating forms and ballots will be mailed to members directly. For chapters which require petitions for nominees, there will also be a digital process established to collect signatures remotely. Paper petitions will also be available either at UFT borough offices, on the UFT website or mailed to members directly upon request.

Will paper ballots be provided this year for functional chapter elections?

Yes, functional chapter elections will be conducted via paper ballot. Members of functional chapters will receive ballots in the mail sent to the home address that is on file with the UFT. 

Who is eligible to run for a functional chapter position? 

Individuals who are UFT members at least 60 days prior to the election.

Which functional chapters require petitions to qualify as a nominee for a position?

The following chapters require nominee petitions for members who wish to run for a chapter position: Retired Teachers Chapter, school secretaries, paraprofessionals, attendance teachers, school nurses and administrative education officers and analysts. 

For chapters which require nominating petitions, how can they be obtained? 

Petitions are available at UFT borough offices for members of the retiree, paraprofessionals and school secretaries' chapters. Members of the attendance teachers, school nurses and administrative education officers and analysts' chapters will have petitions mailed to their home address on file with the UFT. Petitions will also be available on the UFT website. 

For functional chapters that do not require petitions for nominees, how do members indicate that they wish to run for a position? 

They would need to submit a paper or digital nominating form before the deadline posted for their chapter. 

When are nominating forms for functional chapter positions due? 

Nominations for all functional chapter members should be submitted by April 19, 2021 to the UFT. 

How can I find out which positions my functional chapter will be voting on this year? 

Check your functional chapter's web section at www.uft.org/chapters for a list of vacant positions or speak with your current chapter leader. The positions will also listed on the nominating form.

Paraprofessionals Chapter elections

What are the positions to be filled within the Paraprofessionals Chapter? 

This year, paraprofessionals will elect the following positions: officers (chapter leader, first vice chairperson, second vice chairperson, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer), five borough coordinators, 15 members of the executive board-at-large, 32 district coordinators and a paraprofessional representative from each school site. The paraprofessional representative will be elected as a part of school-based chapter elections.

Who is eligible to run for officer positions in the Paraprofessionals Chapter?

You must have been a UFT member of the paraprofessional chapter for two years prior to your date of nomination. 

Who is eligible to run as a borough coordinator in the Paraprofessionals Chapter?

A candidate for borough coordinator must have been a member of the paraprofessional executive board for two years. In addition, nominating forms must be signed by at least two paraprofessional district coordinators from the same borough or at least one from Staten Island. 

Who is eligible to run for executive board member in the Paraprofessionals Chapter? 

Candidates must be UFT members for 60 days prior to April 14, 2021, which is the final date nominations may be received. 

Who is eligible to run for paraprofessional district coordinator? 

Members must meet one of the following qualifications: 

  1. Present or past paraprofessional representative for at least one year
  2. Present or past Paraprofessionals Chapter executive board member for at least one year
  3. You must be a paraprofessional working in a school within the geographic boundary of the school district you are running to represent. 

In addition, nominating forms must have the signature of at least two paraprofessional representatives from the same district. 

Who is eligible to run for a paraprofessional representative position?

You must be a UFT member for at least 60 days prior to April 14, 2021 and a working paraprofessional. 

When are nominating forms due for paraprofessional district and borough coordinators?

Nominating forms must be received at the respective UFT borough office by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 5, 2021.

When are nominating forms due for officers, executive board members and delegates? 

Nominating forms must be received by April 14, 2021. 

What is the deadline for the receipt of ballots? 

Ballots must be received by the American Arbitration Association, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271 by 8 a.m. on June 15. 

General questions

Do I need to be a UFT member to vote in chapter elections? 

Yes, only UFT members as of March 15, 2021 may vote in UFT elections. 

How long do members serve in elected chapter positions? 

Chapter positions have a term of three years. Members elected this year will start July 1, 2021 and will complete their terms on June 30, 2024. 

How can I update my mailing/email address with the UFT to ensure I will receive chapter leader election materials?

Contact the UFT at 212-331-6311 and ask to speak to the UFT Membership Department to update your personal information. You can also update your information on the UFT website on the My Account page if you have already set up a UFT account.