This past Thursday, the ballots for the SAG-AFTRA election were counted. The ballot count was at the SAG-AFTRA offices starting at 9am and originally we were told that we would hear results around 5 or 6pm.
As much as I would have liked to be there in the morning, I had to work. So as soon as work was done at 3pm, I headed to the offices to wait for the results to be announced.
At first, I just waited outside the counting room. I knew I couldn’t use my phone inside the room and I was helping to update a lot of people who couldn’t be at the count. But some of my fellow candidates encouraged me to go inside, so I did.
I have to say, watching the counting was pretty cool. The main counting was done so I never got to watch the counting machines in action. But what I did get to observe was the counters hand counting questionable ballots. Those questionable ones were ones where people might have over voted (or over voted and then crossed some things out) or where the bubbles weren’t filled in in a method that the counting machines could recognize. It was pretty cool seeing these people analyzing what the intention of the voter was. It’s impressive to see how seriously they take their jobs and I feel very comfortable with the integrity of the count. If you ever have the opportunity to do something similar for a ballot count, I highly recommend it.
6pm came and they were saying we were still hours away from the results. So my slate went next door to Marie Callendars to eat and wait (too bad I already used my birthday coupon!). Ken Howard, who was running for National President, was going to get a phone call when the national results were in (we knew those would be first). Every time his phone rang, everyone got quiet and waited to see if it was “the call”. Finally, it was and Ken got the happy news that he was re-elected as president! But then we had a twist: his running mate for Secretary/Treasurer was not elected but instead the candidate from the other slate one that position. Everyone in the room was celebrating when we heard that Ken won, but then went into shock when we heard that Jenny O’Hara lost. I was really hoping for Jenny to win. I had gotten to know her really well while campaigning and I felt like she would be so amazing in that position. But now I must have faith in our new Secretary/Treasurer Jane Austin.
After Ken’s win, we heard that it might be another hour or two for the rest of the results. Many people decided to go home, but I figured I might as well stick it out as long as I could.
Since the restaurant closed, we all went back to the offices and hung out in the counting room. We kept watching for signs that the count was done. We had been told that if we were still in the room when it was done, they would let us go in and meet with the election committee one by one in private and they would tell us our results. If we weren’t there, we would get an email (actually, we’d get an email either way but finding out in person was going to be first).
I knew I couldn’t sleep until I knew so I waited it out. And finally around 11:30pm we were told to line up. There were a couple of people in front of me and some of them didn’t get elected for everything they ran for. I was so incredibly nervous and when it was my turn the nerves were even worse.
The room that we had to go into for the results felt like a judging. It was as conference room with about 10 people and you had your name and what you were running for announced so they could all check their information. It felt like forever before they could find my name. And when they did, I got the happy news that I won my convention delegate seat!
I went outside and waited for everyone else from my slate to get their results. There were some surprises on some losses, but in the end my slate has maintained the majority that we had before. And I think that maybe having the national positions split will help bring the two slates closer together and the next election won’t be as nasty.
I went to bed as soon as I got home and had this email waiting for me when I woke up in the morning.
It all feels real now! And I’m getting emails about joining committees and other things. I’m seriously so excited! While I haven’t been treating my career as a hobby, I think that maybe I have been treating my union membership as one. I’m so excited to be more involved from now on with the union and hopefully make a difference in our working conditions, pay, and other issues that I and all SAG-AFTRA actors deal with.
Thank you to all of you who voted for me! I’m so excited to serve you as a convention delegate for the next two years! And who knows, maybe in 2 years I’ll be running for a board position too!