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electionlineWeekly--April 14, 2011

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • This week, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted released a report stating that 18,460 that the Ohio Department of Health lists as deceased remain on voter rolls throughout the state. In an attempt to maintain an accurate voter database statewide and diminish the opportunity for fraud, Husted compared the death rolls with the voter rolls and sent his findings to the county election boards with instructions to examine each voter record to determine whether it should be removed because the voter is dead. Husted's report includes information on in-state and out-of-state deaths that matched active voters listed in the statewide voter database. "The integrity of voter data is critical from a cost, quality and confidence standpoint," Husted told the Columbus Dispatch. "We must take advantage of all information available to us and be vigilant throughout the year, not just during election season." The report showed that Franklin County's active voter rolls included 1,189 people the Department of Health lists as dead. Hamilton County had the most with 1,653, followed by Mahoning County with 1,498. Ohio's largest county, Cuyahoga, had 492. County election officials explained the discrepancies on data entry and the amount of time it takes to review voter rolls.
  • The chairman of Lancaster County's Board of Elections (Pa.) said this week that the media will not be barred on election night from the county's "election central." “It was never the intent of the director of elections, or of this board to keep the media away," Chairman Terry Kauffman told the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. In the coming weeks before the May 17 primary, Kauffman said the board plans to review the county's policies regarding media access on election night to "codify" the election board's intention of allowing all access guaranteed under the state's Election Code. Election central is a warehouse in Burle Business Park on New Holland Avenue, where election results from the county's 235 polling places are delivered for tabulation by county elections staff. Previously, the media was provided a work space in the warehouse. The election board at its April 6 meeting approved an addendum to its election night policy, which designates the business park's cafeteria as the media area. The cafeteria is in a building next to election central. The policy addendum does not state the media cannot still access the warehouse to observe the gathering of election results.
  • With controversy still swirling around the results of a Supreme Court judge’s race in Wisconsin, the figure at the center of that storm — Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus — this week ignored calls for her resignation. "I will serve the remainder of my term," Nickolaus said in awritten statement. "I understand why people are upset and I am taking this matter seriously. Again, I am sorry for my mistake." Nickolaus was first elected county clerk in November 2002 after winning a Republican primary race against former deputy county clerk Kathy Karalewitz. She was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008 without opposition, when state law was changed and made the term four years. Her current term expires at the end of 2012. Both campaigns and state election officials from the Government Accountability Board have since pored over her canvass report and municipal vote-tallying machine tapes to verify the results. No recount can be requested until every county has certified its results to the state, which is expected to be finished by Thursday or Friday. On Tuesday, Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the Government Accountability Board, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that while nothing criminal has been observed so far, Nickolaus' business practices "need to be changed to bolster public confidence."