- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2002

LOS ANGELES — The Screen Actors Guild will have to hold another round of elections for its top three offices because of questions about voting procedures.

A union committee said late Monday that administrative oversights caused problems in the voting process and may have affected the outcome of some or all of the elections. The committee voted unanimously to have the elections for the positions of president, treasurer and secretary rerun, but the results for the 12 vice presidential posts and the national board seats will remain official.

"Little House on the Prairie" star Melissa Gilbert won easily over "Rhoda" star Valerie Harper in a high-profile race for president. Her winning margin was 1,588 votes. Kent McCord was elected treasurer, and actor Elliott Gould won the spot as secretary over Renee Aubrey and Kevin Kliner.

Neither Miss Gilbert nor Miss Harper was available for comment. Miss Harper, Mr. Gould and Mr. McCord contested the election results.

"My motive in challenging was to right the wrongs I saw," said Mr. McCord, who won by 34 votes.

The five-member committee criticized polling administrator Sequoia Voting Systems and top union executives for rule violations. Some of the problems included a two-day extension for New York members to mail in their ballots.

"It is regrettably the case that all those who ran for office were the innocent victims of these two groups, namely SAG staff and Sequoia representatives," the panel said. "These problems arose because SAG senior staff and Sequoia representatives treated the election in New York as an entirely different election than the one in the rest of the country."

Miss Gilbert will remain as union president for the next three months, a union spokeswoman said. Voting is set tentatively for March 15 to April 10.

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