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II. Election News This Week
- Using words such as “fiasco” and “catastrophe,” to describe the vote count following the June 26 primary, the New York City Board of Elections met this week to certify the results of the much-maligned election and to discuss what happened. According to The New York Times at the meeting members said they believed that the vote-counting process had been unfairly characterized by the news media. “I think September will be a public-relations nightmare,” Juan Carlos Polanco, a board member from the Bronx said at the meeting. At the heart of the matter is how the ballots are counted. In New York City, poll workers print out paper records from ballot scanner, cut the paper into sections by election district, add the district votes and then provide the totals and the flash drive to a police officer. In all other New York jurisdictions poll workers simply remove the flash drive from the ballot scanners and deliver the drives to a central counting location.
- Voter ID is now the almost law of the land in New Hampshire after Gov. John Lynch allowed the law to go into effect late last week without his signature. The law still must withstand review by the U.S. Dept. of Justice because New Hampshire must submit election law changes to the department in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.
- Talk about a glitch! During the recent Texas primary, a computer glitch in Brooks County listed several voters as being 112 years old. According to Solia Cavazos, assistant to the elections administrator, the voters in question registered to vote in the 1970s when birth dates were not required on registration forms. The voters are at the center of a lawsuit filed by Jim Wells and Brooks County District Attorney Armando Barrera alleging voter fraud. Barrera lost the May 29 primary by 19 votes.
- While much attention is placed on getting young people to register to vote, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mercer County Clerk Chris Horn recently made the effort to get someone else registered — 105-year old Margaret Harris. Harris, who was born 14 years before women had the right to vote has only cast a ballot once in her life in 1928. “Mrs. Harris has been a fixture in her community for nearly a century, and by voting in the upcoming election, she will add to her already impressive legacy for its future,” Grimes told the West Kentucky Star. “I hope her example inspires others to take an active role in elections and shaping the path of our state and nation.”
- Personnel News: Pat Powers, a long-time member of the South Dakota secretary of state’s office resigned this week. Union County, N.J. Clerk Joanne Rajoppi has been named president of the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers. Trumbull, Conn. Democratic Registrar Jane Aiello resigned this week following the completion of redistricting. Also in Trumbull, Assistant Republican Registrar Kathy Miranti was terminated. Former Sedgwick County, Kan. Election Commissioner Bill Gale has been hired to serve as inspector general for Kansas’ Medicaid programs. Gale served on the election commission from 2003 to 2011.
- In Memoriam: Former Lafourche Parish, La. Registrar of Voters Sterling Diaz died on July 1. He was 87. Diaz served as the parish’s registrar from 1982 till his retirement in 2010. “I was completely impressed by his professionalism,” Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre told Houma Today. “He explained the election process and showed me the boundaries of the precincts. I was struck by the enthusiam, pride and precision with which he represented his office.”