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II. Election News This Week
- Since July 1, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Justice has issued more than 9,000 photo IDs to be used for voting purposes. Driver licenses centers are open the first Saturday of every month for the express purpose of issuing voter photo IDs. "I am encouraged by the number of photo IDs issued for voting purposes since July 2011. We have several options available to make photo IDs available for those who need them, including our Saturday business hours and county clerk partners," Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons told WTVF.
- While most of us were sleeping or burning couches to celebrate a football victory, legislators in North Carolina met in special session at 1 a.m. Thursday to consider overriding several of Gov. Bev Perdue’s vetoes, including a veto of voter photo ID legislation. While rumors swirled throughout the day whether or not voter photo ID would be part of the special session agenda, the legislators ultimately only voted on non-elections measure.
- Absentee issues: With absentee ballots starting to make their way to voters’ mailboxes across the country, besides concerns about absentee voting in Florida, issues about absentee voting have popped up in other states as well. In Kansas, a new law requiring county elections officials to decide whether the signature on a request for an advance ballot matches the person’s previous signature on a voter registration form or other type of identification is raising concerns and questions. Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, told the Lawrence Journal World the law and its accompanying rules and regulations failed to prescribe how much of an effort the county election official must make to track down the potential voter and clear up the dispute. “This gives a lot of leeway to the election officer,” Trimmer told the paper. And in Michigan, those wishing to vote absentee must provide proof of citizenship when requesting an absentee ballot and that only those 60 and over or permanently disabled may be placed on the permanent absentee list.
- Update: On Wednesday, Marion County, Ind. Judge Louis Rosenberg agreed to delay his order invalidating Charlie White’s election pending an appeal from White and the state’s attorney general. “Important decisions might be twice reversed causing confusion on many important issues," Rosenberg said. According to the Northwest Times, he urged the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court to expedite its review of his ruling. White faces a January 30 trial on several counts of voter fraud. Should he be found guilty and neither the Court of Appeals or state Supreme Court have ruled, Gov. Mitch Daniels will appoint a successor.
- Personnel News: After 28 years of running the elections in Manatee County, Fla. Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat announced this week that he would not seek another term in office. While Sweat may not be seeking re-election, another Florida elections supervisor is. Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter has signed up to run for a third term. After running the elections in Bangor for the past seven years, Patti Dubois is back to counting ballots in Waterville, Maine. Dubois had previously served as Waterville clerk from 2004 to 2007. Dianne Lovejoy will serve as the Bangor interim clerk. With almost 30 years on the job, including more than 20 as the director, Wayne County, Ohio’s Director of Elections Patty Johns retired at the end of 2011. Just a few years shy of 40 on the job, Raynham, Mass. Town Clerk Helen Lounsbury retired at the end of 2011. Lounsbury, 83, saw a lot of changes during her tenure in office including the introduction of automated ballot machines. Mariah Votel has been selected to fill the vacant position on the Brown County, Ohio board of elections. Auditor Shirley Forslof, who spent more than half a century working on elections in Whatcom County, Wash. including 24 in the top spot, retired at the end of 2011.
- In Memoriam: Lib Culp, former Alamance County, N.C. board of elections director died last week. She was 95. Culp was director for 15 years and served on the board for many years following her tenure as director. Culp was recognized as a stickler for the rules while on the board of elections and was recognized as an authority on the political procedures.