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II. Election News This Week
- While many states have gotten away from holding two primaries in 2012, circumstances around redistricting are forcing Ohio to schedule a presidential preference primary and a state primary. The primaries will be held in March and June. Upon the announcement, local elections officials quickly listed the impacts two primaries will have on voters and elections officials. Franklin County estimates a second primary will cost the county an additional $1M. The overall estimated additional cost to taxpayers statewide is $15M. Officials in Columbiana County fear that two primaries will confuse voters and ultimately drive down voter turnout in one of the primaries.
- Voters in New Mexico’s second largest county will be using vote centers for the 2012 primary and general election. This week the Dona Ana County commission voted 5-0 to make the switch to eliminate the state’s 82 remaining polling places and replace them with 39 at-large voting centers. It’s estimated the move will save the county $170,000 in the first election year.
- New Smyrna Beach High School [Fla.], civics teacher Jill Cicciarelli didn’t end up in the principal’s office, but she did end up at the center of a political storm when she helped her students pre-register to vote. Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall is no fan of the new Florida law that requires third parties that help voters register so when she heard the story about Cicciarelli, she knew she would have to report the teacher. "This isn't someone who was going to commit fraud," McFall told The News Journal. "She was doing a good thing. New Smyrna Beach High School was doing a good thing." According to the paper, since the law took effect in July, the state Division of Elections has issued only warnings. No incident has been turned over to the attorney general's office for enforcement, said Chris Cate, a spokesman with the secretary of state's office. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has entered the fray as well.
- File this one under, well I’m not really sure what to file this one under. Officials in the Maine town of Sanford were recently faced with quite a quandary when they realized that a banquet hall used as a polling place was also being used for monthly sex parties. Ultimately the town made the choice to move the polling place for the upcoming Nov. 8 election. “Not knowing what might be present or how clean the hall might be, we moved the polling place in case anyone might be uncomfortable voting there,” Town Clerk Sue Cote told The Portland Press Herald.
- Honors & Awards: Seminole County, Fla. Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel has been awarded an Innovator Award from Campaigns and Elections Magazine. The Utah Lieutenant Governor’s office has been recognized with a Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government for the state’s online voter registration system. Marshall County, Tenn. Elections Administrator Tristan Arnold has passed the Certification Exam for Administrators of Elections.
- Personnel News: Clifford Tatum has been named the new executive director of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Tatum takes over for Paul E. Stenbjorn who has served since the summer resignation of previous director Rokey W. Suleman. Stenbjorn is leaving to run the U.S. operations for Scytl, a Spanish company specializing in election technology. Incumbent Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler narrowly defeated Jim Tucker in Saturday’s primary. Harry D. Butler has been appointed to a second term as chairman of the Etowah County board of registrars. The list of candidates seeking the Missouri secretary of state’s seat is getting longer. This week, Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) formally announced his candidacy. Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is once again putting forth a nominee for the city’s board of elections and ethics. This time the nominee is former city auditor Deborah Nichols.