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electionlineWeekly — May 10, 2012

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • The Palm Beach Post wrote a series of articles this week detailing the issues that Florida counties — especially Palm Beach County — have struggled with in the 12 years since the infamous Bush v. Gore. The stories covered defects in voting machines, major fumbles since 2000, Sequoia Voting Systems, the repercussions Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho faced after allowing a hacker to test the county’s system, and ongoing problems with vote counting that many counties have faced. The series also included several stories about simple ways to fix many of the issues still being faced in some counties.

  • The Ohio House voted this week to repeal a controversial election reform law initially approved in 2011. The law is subject to a referendum in November, but lawmakers want it gone before it comes up for a vote.

  • This is why you need to be careful what you post on Facebook, no matter what: Officials in Mississippi are expressing their concerns that the state’s voter ID law will get an objective and proper review by the U.S. Department of Justice after a DOJ employee referred to the state as “disgusting and shameful” on her Facebook page. Stephanie Gyamif, a civil rights analyst for the department made the comment in relation to University of Southern Mississippi fans asking a player for an opposing team, who is Puerto Rican, for his green card during the NCAA tournament. The comments were made on Gyamif’s personal Facebook page. In a letter, DOJ said they reviewed the incident and confirmed that Gyamif doesn’t deal with Mississippi issues so there will not be a problem. Hosemann doesn’t agree. "I think when you read comments like the comments this DOJ person posted on Facebook, I think anybody with any common sense can realize that there's a culture of prejudice there in the Justice Department against Southern states and against Mississippi," Hosemann said at a press conference this week.

  • Sacramento County voters will get a newly designed “I Voted” sticker after they cast their ballot on June 5. The winning sticker, created by an area high school student in the County’s first “I Voted” sticker contest, is also featured on the cover of the June 2012 sample ballot booklet. Voter Registration and Elections invited students from five area high schools to design a new “I Voted” sticker. The response was overwhelming with 76 entries submitted. “The goal of the contest was to engage high school students’ talent, while at the same time encouraging their participation in a civic activity by creating a new “I Voted” sticker for the voters of Sacramento County,” Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine told From The Capitol.

  • Personnel News: Anchorage Deputy Clerk Jacqueline Duke was fired by the Anchorage Assembly this week.

  • In Memoriam: Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, who helped write the Voting Rights Act, died this week. He was 90.

  • Available Grant: The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has issued a call for proposals for projects that will pursue accessible election technology research and development. ITIF will grant up to $750,000 for projects that focus on: solving specific accessibility problems identified in their design plans; solutions that can be integrated into existing voting systems; and/or focus on disabilities that received less focus in previous research, such as cognitive and age-related disabilities. Applicants may request funding up to $500,000 in total costs over a period of 6 to 18 months. ITIF expects to make between five to ten awards in the range of $20,000 to $200,000; however, ITIF may deviate from the planned number of awards and award amounts at its discretion.Preference will be given to applicants that are public or private institutions of higher education. Others, including businesses, independent researchers, non-profit organizations, and state and local government agencies, who are interested in applying for grant funds are encouraged to collaborate with a college or university as the primary recipient. Applicant organizations must be based in the United States.The deadline to submit a proposal is June 1, 2012.A direct link to the announcement (PDF) can be found here.