Wisconsin clerks prepare for April 3 primary
On-again, off-again voter ID law, other issues complicate prep
Election years are busy for everyone who works in the field of election administration, but for the city and county clerks in Wisconsin, 2012 is presenting a new set of challenges in addition to regular preparations.
“It has been an interesting four months preparing for our presidential preference primary on April 3rd,” said Kathy Nickolaus, Waukesha County clerk. “We have had new statutory requirements on the administration of elections, new rules from the Government Accountability Board and also laws that no longer were required and I am speaking specifically about the Voter photo ID law, which was ruled unconstitutional.”
At the forefront of this is the state’s on-again, off-again voter ID law. Currently the law is not in effect following injunctions by two judges. But that could all change before polls open on April 3 so clerks are preparing for every scenario.
“We have trained clerks, who have then trained election inspectors, for both having to provide ID and not having to provide it. They will be able to handle whichever is in effect on election day,” said Karen Peters, clerk for Dane County.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeals certified both pending voter ID cases to the Supreme Court, which according to Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the GAB, could rule before 7a.m. on April 3.
Kennedy said that his office has done extensive communications to municipal and county clerks to keep them apprised of the latest developments.
In Rusk County, the changes have meant additional dollars in already tight budget times.
“It has caused us to back track on a lot of things, we've had to change our training materials for election workers making the election process even more costly then it already is,” said Denise Wetzel, Rusk County clerk. “We've had to try and do press releases to keep the public informed, change information on many different web pages, pull publications, etc. that also leads to added cost of wages for people to do all this. “
According to Ginny Dankmeyer, the clerks in her county used 2011 to prepare for 2012.
“We had several elections last year when our poll workers asked for the ID during the soft implmentation. So to go back to not having to ask is minor. Not knowing if the injunction will be overturned before the April election is probably more of a concern.” Dankmeyer, La Crosse County clerk said. “The biggest issue is the confusion it is causing with the public. We worked hard to make sure they were educated and informed on this new law only to have it reversed. We are getting calls asking for clarification on the injunction and what parts the injunction affects.”
Nickolaus noted that although preparations for the upcoming election did not change much after the ruling against the photo ID requirement, she echoed Dankmeyer’s concerns about the impact it may have on voters.
“I believe voters which had an election in February — when voter photo ID was required — may become frustrated with the on-again/off-again requirements,” Nickolaus said. “In the portion of Waukesha County that had an election in February only one person forgot their photo ID and voted provisionally.”
For the clerks in Milwaukee County, while the change in voter ID law has played a role in preparations, other factors like redistricting and new bilingual requirements have added additional work this cycle.
“It was more time-consuming determining ballot styles based on the recent redistricting due to the fact that most of the voter data bases have not yet been updated reflecting the new districts,” said Lisa Catlin Weiner, administrator of elections for Milwaukee County. “Also, it took additional time to prepare the City of Milwaukee's ballot as they are now required to provide ballots in both English and Spanish based on the recent census results.”
And once the clerks get through the April 3 primary, it’s not over. In addition to the November general election, there are several recall elections on the horizon including a statewide gubernatorial recall tentatively slated for June.
“With all the changes back and forth this has been an extremely busy time for the clerks and I feel they deserve much more credit than they are getting for all their hard work and dedication,” Peters of Dane County said. “They are truly amazing.”
Colorado: Voter ID
Georgia: Voter ID
Iowa: Voter ID
Maryland: Early voting
Mississippi: Voting Rights Act
New Hampshire: Voter ID
New York: Vote count
North Carolina: Voter ID
South Carolina: Open primaries
Tennessee: Election date
Texas: Voter ID
Utah: Voter turnout
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Administrator, Bureau of Elections, Bernalillo County, N.M.-- Under the assigned supervisor, responsible for the election operations section of the Bureau of Elections, manages the voting machine warehouse and directs the functional operation of the voter registration section. Supervises training of personnel in related areas. Responsibilities include: Direct the functions and activities related to the conduct of elections under the jurisdiction of the County Clerk; review the State Election Code and Federal Voting Rights Compliance Act to ensure proper procedures are followed by the County; assist in preparing instructions on the conduct of elections for election officials; responsible for polling locations and ensure election personnel are sufficient in number and well trained; oversee the preparation of lists of registered voters, absentee voters, election officials, polling places, and voter signature rosters; responsible for the purchase and distribution of election supplies and equipment prescribed by the State Election Code and other legislative mandates. Maintain a perpetual inventory of all election supplies, voting machines, parts and accessories; assure that voting machine technicians are trained in the programming and maintenance of the various types of voting machines used by the County. Coordinate an on-going maintenance program of all machines. Minimum Qualifications include: Bachelor Degree in Business, Public Administration, Government, Political Science or other or related field plus seven (7) years experience in a professional administrative/management capacity; knowledge of the New Mexico Election Code and Federal Voting Rights Compliance Act and principles, practices and procedures of election administration; advanced computer technology experience and skills. Application: For more information and how to apply, click here. Deadline: March 30, 2012.
Computer Engineer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Washington, D.C. — incumbent will assist with and consult on technical reviews, and is directly responsible for assisting with and consulting on technical reviews of documentation submitted by manufacturers and test labs during the testing of voting systems applying for EAC certification. This includes review of (1) Technical Data Packages, (2) Test Plans, and (3) Test Reports. In addition, the EAC will work with the laboratories as they develop test methods and specific test cases for manufacturer specific electronic voting systems. Reviews shall ensure that a plan was in place to properly test each voting system to the applicable voting system standards, that these test were properly performed and documented, and that the test results demonstrate conformance with applicable voting system standards. As the employee develops expertise in this area, he/she may also be tasked with serving as the EAC program manager for specific voting system test engagements. Experience in: computer architecture, testing methodologies and network principles; technical standards and standards sett; voting system testing and/or election administration practices. Salary: $59,383-$91,801. Application: For the complete job listing and how to apply, click here. Deadline: April 30, 2012.
Deputy Election Director, Board of Elections, Montgomery County, Md. —employee will be directly responsible to and supervised by the Election Director. The employee must have in-depth knowledge of the conduct of elections and Federal and State election laws and provide high quality services to the approximately 600,000 registered Montgomery County voters. Duties include: exhibit and attain a comprehensive knowledge base of election administration; collaborate with and support the Election Director, Board and all sections on election matters; provide substantive input on upper-level policy issues, decisions and operational decisions; collaborate on resolutions of complex problems; function in a highly visible environment; coordinate, initiate and implement the selection process for all appointments and the procurement, production and deliveries of State mandated sample ballots; coordinate precinct redistricting resulting from boundary changes; provide senior level collaboration on county, state and federal legislative issues; coordinate county resources to aid in the conduct of elections; approve purchases; research and respond to public inquiries and reporting of agency performance measures. Other duties include using the operative computer systems, e.g., the statewide election management system for voter registration, absentee data and campaign finance; evaluate election procedures and propose improvements; use Microsoft Office and Oracle databases; cooperate and collaborate with county and state election employees in the administration of elections; handle complex details with high accuracy, including proofing and editing voter information; handle extended periods of stress and multiple task workloads with changing priorities and tight deadlines under minimal supervision. The employee will also supervise the Election Operation Manager and other employees in a secure environment; handle sensitive equipment, software, data and related security; contact and present information to other local, state, national election officials, contractors of related products/services, agencies; share and collect information; follow officially prescribed and recognized election procedures; ensure the integrity of the entire election process, including voting days, post-election audits and assessments. Experience: Five years of progressively responsible professional experience in conducting, planning, and/or managing the conduct of federal, state and/or local government elections. Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's Degree. Salary: $63,411 - $115,901. Application: To view the entire job announcement and to apply, click here. Deadline: March 30, 2012.
Senior Election Planning Specialist, IFES, Iraq — since September 2003, IFES has assisted, advised, and supported Iraq’s electoral and legislative authorities in the preparation, organization, and administration of elections and referenda. With the Elections Support Project, IFES will continue to provide assistance to the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) through strengthening its strategic planning monitoring and evaluation capacity, as well as its internal management processes and systems, and through improving IHEC’s capacity to manage external affairs with key electoral stakeholders. Responsibilities: Provide technical assistance to the IHEC, through advice and assistance to the relevant IHEC divisions in the operational planning and implementation of electoral activities; work with the IHEC Operations Division and other actors to develop the operational plans of electoral activities including voter registration, elections and/or referenda; provide advice, assistance and coordination with regards to general operational planning within the IHEC; provide support in the development of capacity-building activities with the IHEC and GEOs on relevant activities; work with the COP to plan and implement comprehensive strategic planning activities for the IHEC; assist the COP and DCOP in the coordination of the activities of all other technical staff and consultants working with the IHEC; assist in the preparation of work plans, progress reports, M&E data and reports, and other documentation or reports as required; other duties as assigned.Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required; Master's Degree in Political Science, Public Administration or related field; minimum of 7 years experience with election administration; demonstrated operational planning and implementation experience; proven track record with democracy and governance programming in developing countries; demonstrated experience in monitoring and evaluation; familiarity with political, economic, and social issues in Iraq and the region and ability to work in a post conflict environment; experience organizing and leading trainings; fluency in English (oral and written) required; familiarity with the Middle East region highly preferred; Arabic language skills highly desirable; excellent interpersonal and mentoring skills; strong diplomatic and negotiating skills; ability to detect problems and produce acceptable solutions. Application: Applications will be accepted online only, through the IFES website. To apply visit our careers website at http://www.ifes.org/About/Careers.aspx. Then follow the instructions on how to upload your resume and answer prescreening questions. A cover letter is welcome and can be placed in the applicant notes section.