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electionlineWeekly — April 19, 2012

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • Officials in Alaska are continuing to sort out the ramifications of the ballot shortfall during the April 3 election. The clerk’s office has completed the election canvass and according to a press release, the total absentee and questioned “envelopes” that will be counted for this year’s election came to 13,434 — enough to change the outcome of some races. The Anchorage assembly delayed certifying the election until at least April 24. The postponement will allow officials to count the remaining ballots. Although the city assembly had previously said that it would not approve an independent investigation, according to KTUU, some members say that the matter will come before the assembly next week where it will likely seek the investigation. The assembly may also consider firing Municipal Clerk Barbara Gruenstein.

  • Turns out that two ballots that showed up after the counting was done in a Tulsa, Okla. House race, were actually counted — twice. On election night Democrat Dan Arthrell won by three votes but Republican Katie Henke asked for a recount. According to the Tulsa World, when the sealed boxes of ballots were opened for the recount, officials found four fewer ballots than originally reported. The recount resulted in a one-vote margin for Henke. But county officials subsequently found two ballots for Arthrell in election equipment — enough to swing the margin back to him. It appears that human error by election volunteers resulted in single votes in two precincts accidentally being counted twice, state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax confirmed. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court stopped any further action on the election by the Tulsa County Election Board, the state Election Board or Tulsa County District Court. The high court scheduled the dispute for oral arguments before a referee next Wednesday.

  • This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling on Arizona voters showing photo ID to vote. However, the 11-judge panel overturned the lower court’s ruling on proving citizenship to register to vote—if they submit the federal voter registration form. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne told the Arizona Republic that he was not surprised by the decision. "We always expected the U.S. Supreme Court to have to decide this one," Horne told the paper, adding that he expects the high court to uphold the entire law. The ruling was not unanimous. Judge Harry Pregerson agreed with the majority ruling that Prop. 200 violates the National Voter Registration Act but disagreed that requiring ID at the polls does not result in discrimination.

  • Personnel News: Newly appointed Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson has announced that she will run for a full-term on the job in 2014. Fred S. Wilcoxon, a Polk County, Tenn. poll worker has resigned after an inquiry into the alleged use of a racial slur during the recent primary. Tom Pizano has been named the interim elections director for Luzerne County, Pa. Kristi Geiser, who has worked for six election deputies and secretaries of state Dean Heller and Ross Miller is stepping down from her job in the Nevada secretary of state’s office after 15 years.

  • Get Well: electionline wishes a speedy and full recovery to Deborah Marshall, Columbia County, Ga.’s elections director who underwent emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor. Marshall has worked in the elections office since 1984 and has been director since 2000. According to The Augusta Chronicle, doctors have expressed confidence in her recovery.