Election results from are in from seven SAG-AFTRA locals, and the winners, yet again, are incumbents and apathy– which should be good news for the guild’s current leadership in their ongoing campaign to retain control. Low voter turnouts tend to favor incumbents and could bode well for SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard and his Unite for Strength slate of running mates in the national and L.A. races.
In the latest results, only one in five eligible members cast ballots in San Francisco, Chicago, Houston-Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, while 23% cast ballots in Miami and nearly 28% voted in New Orleans. Altogether, 13,876 members at the six locals were sent ballots, but only 2,883 (20.8%) bothered to vote. Even so, that’s better than nine of the union’s other locals, where 104 candidates were elected “without the necessity of a membership vote” because they all ran unopposed.
SAG-AFTRA Members Grumble Over Union's Uncontested Elections
In Houston-Austin, Pamela Weaver was re-elected President with only 92 votes, defeating challenger Michelle Robinson, who received just 81. The local has 959 eligible members, but only 176 voted, and three didn’t vote for either candidate. With only 69 votes, Weaver also won a seat on the SAG-AFTRA national board of directors, even though only 7% of the local’s eligible members voted for her. She beat her next nearest rival by eight votes.
In Miami, incumbent president Steve Gladstone narrowly defeated challenger John McKarthy, 393 to 364, and incumbent vice president Ellen Wacher beat challenger Michael Bienvenu 420 to 317. Incumbent national board member Nancy Duerr ran unopposed. Of the local 3,321 members, 768 voted.
In San Francisco, incumbent president Katheryn Howell cruised to an easy reelection, winning nearly 75% of the vote, while in Dallas-Fort Worth, Reis Myers McCormick was elected 2nd vice president with 138 votes in a race in which the incumbent did not seek reelection. Of the local’s 4,029 members, 776 voted.
In Chicago, local president Craig Dellimore ran unopposed, and SAG-AFTRA national vice president Ilyssa Fradin was elected to a four-year term on the national board, with incumbent John Carter Brown winning a two-year term on the national board. Of the local’s 3,854 members, 799 voted.
There was only one contested election in New Orleans, where which Richie Montgomery beat Eugene Brezany, 119-93, in the race for a local board seat. All the other officers and board members, including incumbent national board member Charles Ferrara, ran unopposed. Of the local’s 766 members, 212 voted.
The deadline for voting in the national races, in which Ken Howard and his running mate Jenny O’Hara are squaring off against Patricia Richardson and Jane Austin, is August 20. Voting is still being conducted in numerous other locals as well, including Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, New England, New Orleans, Ohio-Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Washington-Mid Atlantic.
Nine other locals didn’t have to send out any ballots because all the candidates ran unopposed: Arizona-Utah, Atlanta, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Portland, Missouri Valley, New Mexico and Twin Cities.
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