Page 2 of 4
II. Election News This Week
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has agreed to reconsider its decision to strike down Arizona's requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A three-judge panel of the Appeals Court ruled in October that the National Voter Registration Act pre-empts Arizona's Proposition 200, which was passed by voters in 2004 and requires residents to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote and voters to show proof of identity at the polls on Election Day. On Wednesday, the court agreed to rehear the case "en banc" before an 11-judge panel of the court. A hearing date has not been scheduled.
- The Louisiana auditor released a report this week saying that the state had spent more than $1 million on special legislative elections in the past five years. In response, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said his office is pushing several pieces of legislation that would limit the number of special elections permitted. Schedler told The Advocate he is seeking a proposed state constitutional change that would allow for temporary appointments when there are legislative vacancies. Under the change, elections to fill vacancies would then be held on the next regular scheduled election date. “We’ve cut back employees here. They ask us repeatedly to come up with ways to save. It’s an easy way for us to do so,” said Schedler. Louisiana had more special elections than any other southern state between 2005 and 2010, the audit report said. Louisiana had 32 special elections — six more than the next highest southern state, Florida. North Carolina and South Carolina had no special elections. All of the Louisiana elections were for legislative seats.
- Recount: After the Government Accountability Board laid out the rules, the recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race got underway late this week. In Waukesha County, which was at the center of the controversy, the process got off to a bit of a rough start when a numbered seal on the first bag of ballots did not match the number recorded for that bag. Fond du Lac County anticipates that it will cost the county an additional $5,000 to conduct the recount. County clerks throughout the state expressed concerns about being able to complete the recount in the amount of time allotted by the state. In Dodge County, where turnout was particularly high, the clerk anticipates the county taking time to count right up till the deadline.
- Tennessee Personnel Issues: If it’s springtime in Tennessee, then it must be time for a new round of hirings and firings of county election administrators. In Cumberland County, Suzanne Smith was returned to her position of election administrator after being fired from that same position two years ago. After receiving only one application for the job, the Putnam County election commission voted to re-appoint Debbie Steidl as election administrator. In Knox County, Clifford Rodgers was chosen to replace long-time administrator Greg MacKay who was fired on April 15. And in Rutherford County, the search for a new administrator has been narrowed down to six applicants.