SNA Election Update

2018-07-06

As the School Nutrition Association (SNA) prepares to commence its 72nd Annual National Conference (ANC), the Board of Directors has received the report of the investigation into alleged impropriety in voting conduct during the 2018 election. As previously communicated to the membership, the Board of Directors in March approved the hiring of a forensic investigative firm. The firm analyzed the election data, which revealed anomalies indicating improper voting conduct. However, after careful review, it was concluded that removing the votes in question would not change the results of the election for any of the successful candidates.

Despite this conclusion, the investigation did identify 379 incidents of voting irregularities. While these occurred in multiple states, a significant number were clustered in four states. One of these was Ohio, and the director of one of the districts involved, Jessica Shelly, MBA, SNS, had been elected to the position of Secretary/Treasurer. When briefed on the findings, Shelly apologized for the actions discovered in her district and submitted a resignation letter to SNA on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. In her letter, Shelly stated, “I believe it is in the best interest of SNA to withdraw prior to being installed [at ANC] as an officer, as I do not want this matter to impugn the integrity of our Association.”

In accordance with Article III, Section 5 (Vacancy) of SNA’s Bylaws, the vacant position of Secretary/Treasurer-elect was filled by the Board by giving first consideration to the other candidate who was on the ballot for that office. Jill Kidd, RD, SNS, Child Nutrition Director, Pueblo City Schools, has accepted the Board’s appointment.

The SNA Board of Directors is currently meeting to begin discussions of the report’s findings, not only as it pertains to recommendations to improve security of the voting process and ethical voting conduct in future elections, but also related systemic, educational, cultural and leadership issues.

Through data analysis, the forensic investigation discovered anomalies that included the use of the same username and password patterns, implausible voting time stamps and some common IP addresses. Forty-three interviews were conducted with members in some of the states where patterns were identified. The report documents testimony from members who stated they did not vote but that someone who had access to member IDs, user names and passwords used that information to vote without their knowledge or consent, thus creating the opportunity for voter fraud. The states with the greatest number of anomalies were Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey and Ohio.

SNA will continue to keep the membership updated on the outcomes that are related to this investigation.

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