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II. Election News This Week
- A lawsuit was filed in Memphis, Tenn. this week that if successful would have prevented state officials from disallowing library-issued photo cards as a form of identification for voting. According to the Commercial Appeal, Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins has said that the library cards do not count as ID because they are issued by the city and not the state or federal government. On Wednesday, a judge denied the temporary restraining order.
- Pennsylvania’s ongoing and increasing loud debate over voter ID headed to the courtroom this week with lawyers from the ACLU and other groups arguing that the law would disenfranchise thousands of Pennsylvanians. The ACLU is suing on behalf of 10 residents who do not have driver’s license. In advance of the hearings, the state has said that it won’t present “any evidence or argument” that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur if the voter ID law isn’t enacted.
- There’s big trouble brewing on the Big Island of Hawai’i. On Monday, with no notice, the Hawai’I County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi closed the elections office in Hilo. While the Kono office remained open a sign on the door in Hilo said the office was closed for an audit. The closure of the office less than three weeks before the state’s primary raised concerns. Kawauchi initially refused to answer questions about why the office was closed, but then told West Hawai’i Today that she wanted to give the voter rolls a thorough review. “We’re looking at the list to make sure it’s clean and accurate,” Kawauchi told the paper. “We’re trying to be as thorough as possible to run a fair and well-run election. … This is part of us making sure we’re doing everything we can to make that happen.” On Wednesday, in a move the Big Island News Center called “unprecedented,” Scott Nago, chief elections officer for the State of Hawai’i sent Kawauchi a letter condemning her handling of the situation and calling her to answer a number of questions and accusations.
- Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been working overtime breaking ties from the Summit County Board of election. When a vote at a county board of elections ends in a tie, it’s the responsibility of the secretary of state to break those ties. The Summit Board has recently sent Husted eight tie votes from two meetings to break. Two of the most recent ties were votes over whether to allow citizens to speak at elections meetings or not.
- Personnel News: Long-time Saline, Mich. Clerk Dianne Hill was recently honored as 2012 City Clerk of the Year by the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. Also receiving honors this month is Snohomish County, Wash. Auditor Carolyn Weikel who was recently recognized as Washington’s 2012 Auditor of the Year. Friday marks the last day for Matt Morse in the Elections Initiatives section of the Pew Center on the States. After Friday Matt will spend some time traveling and then will be hanging out his own shingle as a consultant. Electionline certainly wishes Matt the very best (lunch at Busboys soon!).