Page 2 of 5
II. Election News This Week
- This week, the Aspen Election Commission voted 3-0 to take “no further action” on the request by former candidate Marilyn Marks to review the ballots cast during her election. Recently the courts had ruled that Marks’ and others must be given access to the ballots and the city is challenging that court ruling. Commissioner Ward Hauenstein told The Aspen Times, that while he favors an open and transparent government, he received outside advice from a Denver attorney who said the election commission could not rule on the matter because it isn't the custodian of election records.
- The Florida League of Women Voters and the National Council of La Raza have subpoenaed 11 members of the Florida legislature in the federal lawsuit over the state’s new election reform law. According to the Miami-Herald, the subpoenas order the lawmakers to produce “all documents” related to the election law changes at issue in the suit. Rep. Dennis Baxley, House sponsor of the elections bill (HB 1355) has consistently said the law was necessary to reduce chances of voter fraud and improve public confidence in elections. “I think we appropriately conducted ourselves to protect the elections process from mischief and mishap and make it credible to the public as to its results,” Baxley told the paper.
- The Occupy movement hasn’t made too much news on the election administration front until this week. In San Diego, an activist was arrested on Tuesday when he set up a voter registration table on the city’s Civic Center Plaza without a permit. In Michigan, Occupy Detroiters, who were recently removed from their encampment, plan on spending the upcoming weekend registering voters at the city’s large holiday celebration. But whether or not the Occupy movement’s participation in elections continues remains to be seen. A recent report by NPR highlighted the conflicts within the movement about the groups’ participation in the democratic process.
- Polling place location (or lack thereof) can be a passionate topic and recently in Reading, Penn. the president of the county’s library board of trustees resigned over the issue. In October, the board voted not to allow the county to use the library as a polling place, but when the county failed to relocate the polling site, President Ronald Hatt and others vowed to keep the county out, but the county contacted the city who actually owns the building and the site was used as a polling place in November. Hatt and others had expressed security concerns over using the library as a polling place.
- Personnel News: The Merced County, Calif. board of supervisors has removed the county’s registrar of voters Karen Adams, after an independent investigation detailed inappropriate workplace language and behavior. Director Robin Burden and Deputy Director Megan Hilliard of the Champaign County board of elections are both stepping down from their duties to pursue other opportunities. Although only a year into his new term, William “B.J.” Livesay has announced that he will step down as the Greenbrier, W.Va. clerk. Livesay was appointed to the position in 2001 and re-elected in 2004 and 2010. Garfield County, Okla. election board secretary Lue Ann Root is retiring at the first of the year. Bend, Ore. City Recorder Patty Stell is retiring. Stell has been with the county for 30 years.