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electionlineWeekly--August 4, 2011

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • Mississippi held a primary this week and the news of how things went on election day in the Magnolia State was mixed. Besides the heat, few problems were reported in Hancock County. In Jackson, several polling places failed to open on time and three major races were left off a ballot in one precinct. According to a local paper, the Tuesday primary was “relatively snafu-free” in DeSoto County. Two days after the election, officials in Hinds County were still trying to figure out why voting machines malfunctioned. Current Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann won the Republican nod for re-election. No Democrat is running for secretary of state although the Reform Party is considering putting a candidate on the ballot in November.
  • Wisconsin isn’t the only state staggering under the weight of multiple recall elections. In Michigan the number of pending recall elections has state officials questioning the law that permits them. Shiawassee County Clerk Lauri Braid told The Flint Journal she would like to see the law tightened. Shiawassee has had five recall petitions this year and three last year. “There should be more specific reasons (to recall officials) not just because (residents) didn’t like how they voted on a vote. There should be some criminal action,” Braid said. “If (elected officials) don’t feel free to make a suggestion that you might get recalled for, why would people want to put themselves through that?” Special recall election could cost municipalities thousands of dollars, possibly $10,000 or more if it’s a larger jurisdiction. Tom Frazier, legislative liaison with the Michigan Township Association said MTA supports what it calls the Wisconsin Model, which reduces the time period recall organizers have to collect signatures from 180 days to 60 days; prohibits recall attempts for those in office less than a year (instead of the current six months) and would hold a single election to recall an official and allow others to run against him to fill the seat.
  • Two counties are grappling with the way they run their elections. In Allen County, Ind. county commissioners acted on a new law that gives them the authority to abolish the independent voter board and transfer the responsibilities of voter registration to either the election board or the county clerk. However, this week the election board could not agree to take over the duties and responsibilities of voter registration, so what happens next falls to the Allen County commissioners. And in Richland County, S.C., board members for the county’s newly merged election and registration office aren’t convinced the agency needs a full-time position to educate voters.
  • File this one under “why wasn’t this already a law,” but late last week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation into law that would prevent registered sex offenders in California from hosting polling places at their homes. The bill was introduced after it was revealed that at least 19 polling places in the Bay Area were listed as the homes of registered sex offenders. Approximately 10 percent of California polling places are in private homes.