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April 18, 2011

Dear Senator,

Elections in our nation operate by a fairly basic principle – count the ballots actually cast. Yet a
provision in the House of Representatives’ version of the FAA Reauthorization legislation,
currently waiting to be reconciled with a separate Senate version of the legislation through the
conference committee process, would eliminate these fair election standards for aviation and rail
employees’ union elections, overseen by the National Mediation Board (NMB).
The House version of the legislation, which passed that camber on April Fool’s Day, would count
eligible voters who did not participate in the election the same as having voted “no.” – an
undemocratic and unfair standard different from every other American election. The Senate version
of the FAA legislation, which already passed that chamber, does not contain the anti-worker, unfair
elections provision. Already, the Obama Administration has threatened to veto the FAA bill if the
unfair elections provision remains in the legislation after conference negotiations.

Since the House is proposing such an inherently skewed election standard for NMB elections, we
thought you would be interested to see how elections for U.S. Senate would proceed if they were
conducted under these proposed rules. If congressional elections proceeded under the proposed
rules for the NMB elections, in which non-participants were counted as votes for the opponent,
then none of the current Senators would have won election in 2010.

The report on the following pages highlights the consequences of holding Senate elections like
proposed NMB elections.

The current rule is working and brings NMB elections in line with basic democratic tenets of fair
elections. Don't hold union elections for aviation and rail employees to a different standard than
any other American election. We hope the Senate will help ensure that the proposed repeal of the
current NMB elections standards does not advance through Congress and that all elections in this
nation remain fair and democratic.

Sincerely,

Communications Workers of America


What if Senate Elections Were Like Proposed NMB Union Elections?

If Unfair For Senators, Rules Are Unfair For Airline/Railroad Workers

Elections in our nation operate by a fairly basic principle – that we only count ballots actually
cast. Eligible voters who choose not to vote in an election certainly do not have their vote
preferences assigned in one direction or another. These are fundamental cornerstones of
elections that we consider fair and democratic. Yet a provision in the House of Representatives’
version of the FAA Reauthorization bill, currently waiting to be reconciled with a separate Senate
version of the legislation through the conference committee process, would eliminate these fair
election standards for airline and railroad union elections overseen by the National
Mediation Board (NMB).

The House version of the legislation, which passed that chamber on April Fools’ Day, would count
eligible voters who did not participate in an election the same as actually having voted “no.”
Needless to say, counting non-voters as “no” voters is a flagrant violation of fair election standards
and would stack the decks against unions.

The Senate version of the FAA legislation, which already passed that chamber, does not contain
the anti-worker, unfair elections provision. Already, the Obama Administration has threatened to
veto the FAA bill if the unfair elections provision remains in the legislation after conference
negotiations.

Applying the Proposed Standard to Senate Elections

As this battle over basic fairness moves to the conference committee process, and since some in
Congress are proposing such an inherently skewed election standard for NMB elections, we
thought it would be interesting to see how their elections would proceed if we adopted these
Members’ approach. What would the electoral impact be for Senators if they faced the same
standards some of them are proposing for NMB elections?

If Senate elections proceeded under the proposed rules for the NMB elections…

Zero current Senators would have won their last election under this election
standard. As with House Members, not a single Senator would have been elected in their
last election using the proposed NMB election standard. Under these egregious election
standards, votes for their actual opponent(s) in their previous election are tallied together
with non-voting eligible voters, as non-voters are counted as “no” voters for the
incumbent.

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The average Senator would have only received 29.18% in their election. For the
Democratic Senate caucus, the average Senator would have only received 30.07%; for
Republicans, the average Senator would have only received 28.17%. Only 11 Senators
would have broken 40%, while 37 Senators wouldn’t have even broken 25%.

Even Senators elected during higher-turnout presidential years would fail to be


elected: The Senators last on the ballot in 2008 – a presidential election year with heavier
turnout – fared better than Senators last elected in either 2006 or 2010, yet still would not
be elected under this standard. The 11 Senators who would come closest to election were
each last on the ballot in 2008, as were 17 of the 20. Yet no Senator broke 50% under these
election standards.

The House of Representatives’ version of this report is accessible here.

While this may seem a ridiculous model for conducting a Senate election, that’s exactly the
point. If the NMB elections provision remains in the larger FAA bill, union certification for airline
and railroad workers will rely on just such a standard. Non-voters in the election will be counted
as “no” votes and tallied the same as voters who actually voted “no.” If such a standard is unfair
and ridiculous for Senators and Members of Congress, it is unfair and ridiculous for all
elections in our nation.

The only votes that should count in an election are ones that are actually cast. This is not ideology,
this is common sense. Keeping airline and railroad elections fair isn’t inherently pro-union. But
ensuring that unions can’t win elections is inherently unfair and un-American.

What it Means and Why it’s Important

The National Mediation Board (NMB) adopted a rule change in 2010 to bring NMB elections in line
with the same democratic principles as we use in all other American elections: only count the
ballots of those who vote. Updating NMB’s elections standards received bi-partisan support in the
111th Congress, with 13 House Republicans sending a letter of support to the NMB.

On April 1, 2011 in the House of Representatives, an amendment sponsored by the bi-partisan duo
of Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Jerry Costello (D-IL) and seeking to strip the provision from the
larger FAA bill was defeated by a 220-206 vote. Despite the votes of every House Democrat and
16 Republicans House Members, who viewed the issue through the proper lens of fairness, not
partisanship, Republican leadership and their ideological benefactors went to extreme lengths to
ensure that Congress was the latest front in the ongoing attack on workers’ rights that we have
seen throughout 2011.

Beyond ideological opposition to unions, it’s hard to find a reason or rationale for wanting to
return to such an egregiously unfair election model. In fact, since last year, when airline and rail
workers’ election rules were brought in line with every other election we hold in our democracy,

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successful and unsuccessful unionization votes have been split roughly 50-50 – it’s not an inherent
advantage for unions for elections to be fair.

The same election standards we use for congressional elections, not to mention workers covered
under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), should be used for aviation and rail workers as
well. This is not a pro-union way to conduct an election. It’s a common sense, pro-
democracy way to conduct an election, independent from ideology or party.

As the House and Senate prepare to negotiate the different versions of the FAA bill during the
upcoming conference process, we hope and expect they will remove the egregious NMB elections
provision from the larger legislation.

In the remaining pages, we include Senator-specific information that shows what would
happen to their elections if they were conducted under the proposed NMB standard. All
Americans should oppose measures to conduct any election in our country – union or non-union –
under such an unfair standard.

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What Would Happen if Senate Elections Were Governed By Proposed NMB Elections Standards?

Methodology: The House's proposed election standard for NMB elections would do the following for union elections: count “yes” votes for
union organizing as “yes,” count “no” votes for union organizing as “no,” and, egregiously, also count non-participating eligible voters as
having affirmatively voted “no.”

Using this standard, in which non-participating voters are counted as “no” voters, we proceeded as follows to calculate Senate elections
conducted under the NMB standards.

To assess the vote against the Senator, we combined the actual votes cast against the Senator in their last election with the total of eligible
voters in the state who did not vote during that election. We used the Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimate from the Census
American Community Survey (5 year average from 2005-2009) as a proxy for eligible voters within the state, and relied on publicly available
data sources (listed below data table) for election turnout information.

The House of Representatives’ version of this report is accessible here.

Projected % Senator Projected % That Would


Would Have Won In Last Have Voted Against Senator
Citizen Actual Vote Actual % Won Election If It Had Been During Last Election If It
Voting Age Year Last For Senator by Senator In Governed Under Had Been Governed Under
Population Elected Or In Last Re- Last Re- Proposed NMB Election Proposed NMB Election
State Senator Estimate ** Re-Elected Election Election Standard Standard
AK Mark Begich 479,940 2008 151,767 47.9% 31.62% 68.38%
AK Lisa Murkowski ^ 479,940 2010 101,091 N/A 21.06% 78.94%
AL Jeff Sessions 3,430,111 2008 1,305,383 63.5% 38.06% 61.94%
AL Richard Shelby 3,430,111 2010 964,329 65.3% 28.11% 71.89%
AR Mark Pryor 2,067,620 2008 798,085 79.4% 38.60% 61.40%
AR John Boozman 2,067,620 2010 447,562 58.0% 21.65% 78.35%
AZ John McCain 4,087,550 2010 926,372 59.3% 22.66% 77.34%
AZ Jon Kyl 4,087,550 2006 607,778 52.77% 14.87% 85.13%
CA Barbara Boxer 21,942,928 2010 4,377,730 52.1% 19.95% 80.05%
CA Dianne Feinstein 21,942,928 2006 4,193,833 59.42% 19.11% 80.89%
CO Mark Udall 3,364,438 2008 1,230,994 52.8% 36.59% 63.41%
CO Michael Bennet 3,364,438 2010 799,072 47.7% 23.75% 76.25%
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Projected % Senator Projected % That Would
Would Have Won In Last Have Voted Against Senator
Citizen Actual Vote Actual % Won Election If It Had Been During Last Election If It
Voting Age Year Last For Senator by Senator In Governed Under Had Been Governed Under
Population Elected Or In Last Re- Last Re- Proposed NMB Election Proposed NMB Election
State Senator Estimate ** Re-Elected Election Election Standard Standard
CT Richard Blumenthal 2,460,489 2010 627,085 55.1% 25.49% 74.51%
CT Joe Lieberman 2,460,489 2006 563,725 49.81% 22.91% 77.09%
DE Chris Coons 623,673 2010 173,900 56.6% 27.88% 72.12%
DE Thomas Carper 623,673 2006 170,544 70.20% 27.35% 72.65%
FL Bill Nelson 12,534,073 2006 2,854,036 60.31% 22.77% 77.23%
FL Marco Rubio 12,534,073 2010 2,615,262 48.9% 20.87% 79.13%
GA Johnny Isakson 6,475,882 2010 1,462,823 58.1% 22.59% 77.41%
GA Saxby Chambliss* 6,475,882 2008 1,228,033 57.4% 18.96% 81.04%
HI Daniel Inouye 907,520 2010 276,928 74.8% 30.51% 69.49%
HI Daniel Akaka 907,520 2006 210,118 61.34% 23.15% 76.85%
IA Tom Harkin 2,206,632 2008 941,665 62.6% 42.67% 57.33%
IA Chuck Grassley 2,206,632 2010 714,667 64.5% 32.39% 67.61%
ID James Risch 1,036,206 2008 371,744 57.6% 35.88% 64.12%
ID Mike Crapo 1,036,206 2010 318,704 71.1% 30.76% 69.24%
IL Richard Durbin 8,733,407 2008 3,616,210 67.8% 41.41% 58.59%
IL Mark Kirk 8,733,407 2010 1,765,594 48.2% 20.22% 79.78%
IN Richard Lugar 4,607,963 2006 1,155,577 87.18% 25.08% 74.92%
IN Dan Coats 4,607,963 2010 950,244 54.6% 20.62% 79.38%
KS Pat Roberts 1,983,023 2008 727,121 60.2% 36.67% 63.33%
KS Jerry Moran 1,983,023 2010 578,768 70.3% 29.19% 70.81%
KY Mitch McConnell 3,174,289 2008 953,816 52.9% 30.05% 69.95%
KY Rand Paul 3,174,289 2010 755,061 55.8% 23.79% 76.21%
LA Mary Landrieu 3,229,245 2008 988,298 52.1% 30.60% 69.40%
LA David Vitter 3,229,245 2010 715,304 56.6% 22.15% 77.85%
MA John Kerry 4,621,481 2008 1,971,974 65.8% 42.67% 57.33%
MA Scott Brown # 4,621,481 2010 1,168,178 51.83% 25.28% 74.72%

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Projected % Senator Projected % That Would
Would Have Won In Last Have Voted Against Senator
Citizen Actual Vote Actual % Won Election If It Had Been During Last Election If It
Voting Age Year Last For Senator by Senator In Governed Under Had Been Governed Under
Population Elected Or In Last Re- Last Re- Proposed NMB Election Proposed NMB Election
State Senator Estimate ** Re-Elected Election Election Standard Standard
MD Barbara Mikulski 3,933,011 2010 1,055,387 61.8% 26.83% 73.17%
MD Ben Cardin 3,933,011 2006 894,830 54.45% 22.75% 77.25%
ME Susan Collins 1,019,489 2008 444,300 61.5% 43.58% 56.42%
ME Olympia Snowe 1,019,489 2006 398,723 74.35% 39.11% 60.89%
MI Carl Levin 7,327,818 2008 3,038,386 62.6% 41.46% 58.54%
MI Debbie Stabenow 7,327,818 2006 2,148,637 56.88% 29.32% 70.68%
MN Amy Klobuchar 3,761,628 2006 1,279,515 58.00% 34.01% 65.99%
MN Al Franken 3,761,628 2008 1,212,431 42.0% 32.23% 67.77%
MO Roy Blunt 4,370,002 2010 1,051,495 54.3% 24.06% 75.94%
MO Claire McCaskill 4,370,002 2006 1,047,049 49.53% 23.96% 76.04%
MS Thad Cochran 2,125,339 2008 766,111 61.7% 36.05% 63.95%
MS Roger Wicker 2,125,339 2008 683,409 55.3% 32.16% 67.84%
MT Max Baucus 728,994 2008 349,394 72.9% 47.93% 52.07%
MT Jon Tester 728,994 2006 198,302 49.07% 27.20% 72.80%
NC Kay Hagan 6,458,600 2008 2,249,311 52.7% 34.83% 65.17%
NC Richard Burr 6,458,600 2010 1,448,003 55.0% 22.42% 77.58%
ND John Hoeven 488,833 2010 181,409 76.2% 37.11% 62.89%
ND Kent Conrad 488,833 2006 149,317 68.81% 30.55% 69.45%
NE Mike Johanns 1,268,687 2008 455,854 57.6% 35.93% 64.07%
NE Ben Nelson 1,268,687 2006 371,777 63.78% 29.30% 70.70%
NH Jeanne Shaheen 986,395 2008 358,438 51.7% 36.34% 63.66%
NH Kelly Ayotte 986,395 2010 272,703 60.2% 27.65% 72.35%
NJ Frank Lautenberg 5,812,473 2008 1,951,218 55.6% 33.57% 66.43%
NJ Robert Menendez 5,812,473 2006 1,165,596 53.16% 20.05% 79.95%
NM Tom Udall 1,348,771 2008 505,128 61.2% 37.45% 62.55%
NM Jeff Bingaman 1,348,771 2006 383,228 70.55% 28.41% 71.59%

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Projected % Senator Projected % That Would
Would Have Won In Last Have Voted Against Senator
Citizen Actual Vote Actual % Won Election If It Had Been During Last Election If It
Voting Age Year Last For Senator by Senator In Governed Under Had Been Governed Under
Population Elected Or In Last Re- Last Re- Proposed NMB Election Proposed NMB Election
State Senator Estimate ** Re-Elected Election Election Standard Standard
NV Harry Reid 1,625,603 2010 361,655 50.2% 22.25% 77.75%
NV John Ensign 1,625,603 2006 321,186 55.35% 19.76% 80.24%
NY Chuck Schumer 13,106,002 2010 2,710,735 65.4% 20.68% 79.32%
NY Kirsten Gillibrand 13,106,002 2010 2,519,806 62.0% 19.23% 80.77%
OH Sherrod Brown 8,563,318 2006 2,133,705 55.93% 24.92% 75.08%
OH Rob Portman 8,563,318 2010 2,123,851 57.3% 24.80% 75.20%
OK James Inhofe 2,602,317 2008 763,375 56.7% 29.33% 70.67%
OK Tom Coburn 2,602,317 2010 716,347 70.5% 27.53% 72.47%
OR Jeff Merkley 2,663,100 2008 864,392 48.9% 32.46% 67.54%
OR Ron Wyden 2,663,100 2010 775,569 57.2% 29.12% 70.88%
PA Robert Casey 9,411,473 2006 2,357,058 58.69% 25.04% 74.96%
PA Pat Toomey 9,411,473 2010 1,995,026 51.0% 21.20% 78.80%
RI Jack Reed 759,502 2008 320,644 73.3% 42.22% 57.78%
RI Sheldon Whitehouse 759,502 2006 205,274 53.48% 27.03% 72.97%
SC Lindsey Graham 3,241,214 2008 1,076,534 57.6% 33.21% 66.79%
SC Jim DeMint 3,241,214 2010 792,133 62.4% 24.44% 75.56%
SD Tim Johnson 591,067 2008 237,889 62.5% 40.25% 59.75%
SD John Thune ** 591,067 2010 227,947 100.00% 38.57% 61.43%
TN Lamar Alexander 4,534,358 2008 1,579,477 65.2% 34.83% 65.17%
TN Bob Corker 4,534,358 2006 929,835 50.73% 20.51% 79.49%
TX John Cornyn 14,896,394 2008 4,337,469 54.8% 29.12% 70.88%
TX Kay Bailey Hutchison 14,896,394 2006 2,658,657 61.68% 17.85% 82.15%
UT Mike Lee 1,703,978 2010 360,130 61.6% 21.13% 78.87%
UT Orrin Hatch 1,703,978 2006 344,416 62.62% 20.21% 79.79%
VA Mark Warner 5,498,721 2008 2,369,327 65.0% 43.09% 56.91%
VA Jim Webb 5,498,721 2006 1,172,671 49.60% 21.33% 78.67%

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Projected % Senator Projected % That Would
Would Have Won In Last Have Voted Against Senator
Citizen Actual Vote Actual % Won Election If It Had Been During Last Election If It
Voting Age Year Last For Senator by Senator In Governed Under Had Been Governed Under
Population Elected Or In Last Re- Last Re- Proposed NMB Election Proposed NMB Election
State Senator Estimate ** Re-Elected Election Election Standard Standard
VT Bernard Sanders 479,715 2006 170,866 65.48% 35.62% 64.38%
VT Pat Leahy 479,715 2010 148,444 64.4% 30.94% 69.06%
WA Patty Murray 4,533,605 2010 1,172,924 51.9% 25.87% 74.13%
WA Maria Cantwell 4,533,605 2006 1,097,931 56.80% 24.22% 75.78%
WI Herb Kohl 4,155,117 2006 1,436,623 67.37% 34.57% 65.43%
WI Ron Johnson 4,155,117 2010 1,125,637 51.9% 27.09% 72.91%
WV John Rockefeller 1,414,322 2008 447,560 63.7% 31.64% 68.36%
WV Joe Manchin 1,414,322 2010 280,771 53.5% 19.85% 80.15%
WY Michael Enzi 389,899 2008 189,046 75.8% 48.49% 51.51%
WY John Barrasso 389,899 2008 183,063 73.4% 46.95% 53.05%

2006 Election Results from the Associated Press (via NPR),


2008 Election Results from the CNN, accessed 4/11/11
2008 Election Results from the New York Times, accessed 4/11/11
2010 Election Results from the Associated Press (via Politico), accessed 4/11/11
** CVAP (Citizen Voting Age Population) Estimate from the Census American Community Survey (5 year average from 2005-2009)
* 2008 Run-Off Results
^ 2010 Alaska Senate results from Politico, 12/30/10
# 2010 MA Special Elect Results from MA Secretary of State, accessed 4/11/11
** 2010 SD Results from SD Secretary of State, accessed 4/11/11