Doing a nonpartisan job in a hyper-partisan world
Elections officials work to put job over politics

For 11 years Sherre Toler made sure the residents of Harnett County, N.C. had everything they needed to cast a ballot on (or before) Election Day.

She enjoyed the work she was doing and although one can never tell what the future may hold, she could have envisioned herself retiring from there someday.

But on January 3, 2012 Toler resigned from a job she loved because she could no longer remain impartial. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was set to appear on the May 2012 primary ballot.

In today’s society when everyone seems to wear their emotions and beliefs on their sleeve — or express them in 140-characters or less — how do elections officials put whatever feelings they may have aside in order to conduct fair and efficient elections?

“Not only is it possible for election administrators to be nonpartisan; it should be a job requirement,” said Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California as well as editor of the Election Law Blog.” Read More…

(Editor’s Note: In Focus This Week is a repost from February 2012. Electionline rarely, if ever, reposts stories, but given the fact that this story is probably more true today than it was four years ago — and that we’re a bit under the weather this week — we thought it would be a good idea to share again. All other sections of the newsletter are new this week. Thank you for your understanding.)