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II. Election News This Week
- This week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Maryland law that allows the state to count prisoners at their last known address instead of at the prison address when redistricting. The 2010 law differs from the U.S. Census Bureau’s policy of counting inmates at the prison address. According to The Washington Times, critics of the federal policy say it has artificially inflated the populations and voting power of the often-rural districts that contain prisons, while reducing the influence of urban areas where many inmates formerly lived. The Court issued its decision without hearing oral arguments.
- Last week Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers was under fire for not stepping down from his role as the state’s chief elections official while running for the U.S. Senate and this week his office is back in the news for running low on voter registration cards used by third-party voter registration organizations. According to the Bangor Daily News, office policy statewide candidates and political parties can request up to 2,000 cards per week, with a 10,000-card limit for the election cycle. But when a candidate for state senate called last week to request 250, she was told she could only have 50 because of the shortage. Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn told the paper that more forms will be available the second week in July. “It caught us a little unaware that folks would want to be going out this soon before the November election doing these drives,” she told the paper.
- Jasper County, Mo. has joined a growing list of states and counties using electronic poll books to check in voters. County Clerk Bonnie Earl is ordering iPads to use in each of the county’s 50 polling places. Earl told The Joplin Globe she expects using the devices will reduce waiting by voters because election judges will not have to look up voters’ names in polling books. “I think this will just eliminate any concern about voter fraud, because the iPad will take a picture of a voter’s information, and it will bring it up automatically, so things will go much faster,” she said. Earl told the paper she plans to purchase up to 100 iPads, at a cost of more than $112,000, including licensing and software. She said costs will be covered by a $40,000 state grant and $65,000 that she has saved in her election budget.
- The D.C. Board of Elections no longer has any ethics. Earlier this year they city enacted a new ethics law that creating a Board of Ethics and Government Accountability and since then the DCBOE(E) has slowly been getting rid of that extra E on everything from its website page, to letterhead to its Facebook page. “It became official when the law became official, but really we’re just rebranding things when we get around to it,” board spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin told The Washington Post. McLaughlin the paper the board is not spending money on a “PR campaign” or other efforts to change the name — it will be changing signs, logos and letterhead as they would otherwise be normally replaced to keep costs down.
- Personnel News: Kim Webb, an administrative assistant with city of Prescott, Ariz. will serve as the interim clerk through the summer while the city conducts a search to replace Clerk Elizabeth Burke who resigned to make the move to Flagstaff. Matthew P. Tlachac has been named the new director of the Clark County, Ohio board of elections. Tlachac previously served as the Madison County BOE deputy director. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Colleen Pero to the board of state canvassers this week. Pero replaces Jeff Timmer who recently resigned. Daniel Teed has been appointed to serve as the new Harrison County, Texas elections administrator. Columbia County, Ga. Elections Director Deborah Marshall is home from the hospital where she was being treated for a brain tumor since April 6. Electionline wishes Marshall a continued, speedy recovery.