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electionlineWeekly--June 16, 2011

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • Next week's hearing on Charlie White's eligibility to serve as Indiana Secretary of State will be streamed online, the Indiana Recount Commission decided this week. White had asked in a motion filed last week that TV cameras be kept out of the hearing. His attorney had claimed that TV cameras might make witnesses uncomfortable sharing personal information, such as where they slept at particular times. The commission said today that White's hearing will last only one day. Each side will get four hours to present its case. The commission will rule on the Democrats' election challenge by June 30. White’s criminal trial is scheduled for Aug. 8. If he's convicted of any of the seven felony charges pending against him, he will be removed from office. In a somewhat strange twist of events in the situation this week, White’s mother Margaret White, announced plans to sue the prosecuting attorney in her son’s case for $750,000 or more for “emotional distress”.
  • A Colorado grand jury cleared Saguache County Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers of any criminal wrongdoing in the November election, according to a report released through the Colorado Attorney General's Office this week. "The results of the 2010 general election were a product of the votes of the citizens of Saguache County and were not affected by individual violations of the procedural rules by the clerk and others," the report concluded. Myers said in a written statement she hoped the findings would put the election controversy to rest and provide citizens with confidence that the will of the voters was reflected in the election. Controversy flared over the election after personnel in Myers office conducted a second count of the ballots because of an operating error with the county's vote scanning software. Not everyone is happy with the results of the grand jury though, including an Aspen voting rights activist who said that the grand jury did not have all the necessary information to form a proper conclusion.
  • Voter ID update: This week the North Carolina Senate approved voter ID legislation — that includes photo ID — along a party line vote. The legislation now moves back to the House for an agreement on minor changes. The bill is expected to get final approval this week before moving to the governor’s desk. It is unclear if Gov. Bev Perdue will sign the legislation. Although both the House and Senate in Missouri have approved photo ID legislation, at press time Gov. Jay Nixon had yet to sign it. Nixon is on the record as being opposed to photo ID, however the legislation also includes allowing for early voting in the Show Me state — something that Nixon supports. Voter ID legislation won final approval from the Alabama Senate on the last day of the legislative session. Although Alabama voters have long had to show some type of ID at the polls, beginning in 2014 — if Gov. Robert Bentley signs the legislation — voters will have to show a government-issued photo ID.
  • News of the obvious: According to The Monitor, Voters seemed reluctant to head to the polls this week in Mercedes, Texas after an incident last week in which officers arrested a man for having a gun at the location. Poll workers reported 54 people had voted as of 2 p.m. Monday. Previous days had seen an average of 96 to 99 voters by that same time. Police officers have been stationed at the doors to City Hall since the incident, but there have been no more problems. It is illegal to have a gun within 1,000 feet of a polling location on Election Day or during early voting.
  • Personnel news:After 26 years serving the city of Kenai, Alaska, City Clerk Carol Freas is retiring. Part of Freas’ job is to oversee the cities elections including most recently a move to electronic acceptance of absentee ballots. In the lower 48, longtime deputy Village clerk Sue Glavin is set to retire after 28 years of helping the residents by doing everything from answering phones to helping with voter registration and absentee voting. Patrick Kriner, chairman of the Lucas County Board of Elections, officially resigned Wednesday, leaving the panel without a Republican member and without a quorum to conduct business.