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electionlineWeekly--May 5, 2011

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • The Virginia Board of Elections will issue a letter of censure to the Montgomery County Electoral Board and voter Registrar Randy Wertz for violations that occurred in last November’s election. The state board decided on the action after receiving a report from Senior Assistant Attorney General Joshua Lief, who conducted an investigation of mistakes that led to a handful of Montgomery voters casting ballots at the wrong precinct on Election Day. According to the Roanoke News, Lief recommended the censure letter. “It is clear that a violation of election law occurred in the county on Nov. 2, 2010,” Lief said in his report to the three-member board. “It is also clear that it was not an attempt to corrupt the election, alter the results or allow non-registered voters to vote.” Lief said the circumstances of the violations did not warrant criminal prosecution by the attorney general’s office. The three members of the state board discussed whether a letter of censure was too severe before opting to follow Lief’s recommendation
  • At press time, the Florida Senate was expected to vote on sweeping election reform legislation that would limit the number early voting days, makes it more difficult for citizen groups to register voters and forces most voters to cast a provisional ballot if they have to change their registration address on Election Day. Democrats and advocates have blasted the legislation as an effort to suppress voters. According to the Herald Tribune, Senate Democrats spent more than an hour on Wednesday fighting the bill, prolonging the debate as they tried to attach 13 different amendments that would have nullified much of the legislation. All of the amendments were easily defeated by Republicans, who moved the bill into position for a final vote Thursday. The Senate is expected to pass the bill and send it to the House, where the Republican leadership has agreed to pass the Senate's version.
  • The Indiana Recount Commission said that it will announce its decision on the fate of Secretary of State Charlie White by June 30. A hearing on the case has been scheduled for June 21, and the commission will issue its findings within the week. The commission also told White's office to give the attorney general's office a report that former Secretary of State Todd Rokita compiled about White's voter registration. Democrats have wanted to see the report for months and could get their hands on it after the commission reviews it and determines whether it's relevant to their complaint.
  • Personnel News: Marvin McFadyen began work this week as the new New Hanover County (N.C.) director of elections. Previously McFadyen served as the deputy director for the Pitt County board of elections and as a project manager for Microvote. After interviewing dozens of applicants and narrowing the final pool down to six, the Rutherford County (Tenn.) election commission voted 3-2 this week to hire Nicole Lester as the new elections administrator. David F. Ferrucci and Christopher Powell were both recently appointed to the Gloucester County (N.J.) board of elections. After 21 years on the job, Barbara Thomas is stepping down as the director of the Saratoga County (N.Y.) League of Women Voters.
  • Voter ID Update: In a 99-52 vote, the Missouri House approved legislation that would require voters to show a photo ID and establish requirements for early voting. The Senate passed a similar bill in February and now the two chambers must reconcile the legislation. The New Hampshire legislatures approved voter ID legislation this week by a 243-111 vote. The legislation will now return to the Senate for review of changes made by the House. The Oklahoma Supreme Court failed to intervene in a Tulsa County lawsuit that is challenging the states new voter-approved voter ID law. A Rhode Island Senate committee approved photo ID legislation which would go into full effect in 2014. A Wisconsin Assembly committee approved photo ID legislation this week in a 5-3 party-line vote after about four hours of debate. The legislation now goes before the full Assembly.