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electionlineWeekly — August 30, 2012

Table of Contents

II. Election News This Week

  • Elections officials are some of the most organized, prepared folks I know. But no matter how prepared and organized they may be, even they can’t compete with the wrath of Mother Nature and that’s why several cities in Alabama had to postpone municipal elections this week when Hurricane Isaac threatened to throw a wrench in the works. At press time, most of the postponed elections had been rescheduled for later dates in September, although some localities were still working out the logistics. Not all affected polling places were closed though. In Saraland and Satsuma voters braved the wind and rain to cast their ballots.

  • A federal judge ruled this week that boards of elections in Ohio must count defective ballots if the mistakes were caused by poll workers’ errors. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the lawsuit in revolves around a 2010 legal agreement that ensures defective provisional ballots would be counted if a poll worker’s mistake is to blame and the voter used the last four digits of their social security number as identification. The judge also ordered Secretary of State Jon Husted to issue a directive to all county boards of elections that they cannot reject provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 6 election in the wrong precinct due to poll worker error.

  • A circuit court in Kentucky ruled this week that military and overseas voters may cast ballots in a November 6 special election. Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes and two county clerks took the issue to court because while federal guidelines require ballots to be mailed 45 days before an election, the state’s special elections law allows candidates to file as late as 28 days before the election. The judge issued an order to move the filing deadline for the special election to Sept. 10 to comply with the federal deadline.

  • If you wonder just how popular online voter registration is, look no further than the state of New York. On August 16, Gov. Andrew Cumo announced that residents in the Empire State would now be allowed to register to vote, update their voter information or change their party affiliation through the DMV’s website. A little over a week later 3,474 New Yorkers had used the site including 1,028 first time voters.

  • Personnel News: Retired Judge Joseph A. Goeke was dismissed from his post as St. Louis County, Mo.’s Republican elections director. Goeke had been on the job since 2005. According to the St. Louis Beacon, the county’s board of elections commissioners approved the termination 2 to 1 in a closed-door meeting. Following hearing last week, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted fired Montgomery County board of elections members Thomas Ritchie Sr. and Dennis Lieberman.

  • In Memoriam: Former Hawaii County elections warehouse manager Glen Shikuma died last week. Shikuma was one of four county elections employees fired in January following an investigation into alcohol storage and private business activities allegedly conducted at an elections warehouse in Hilo. In April, Shikuma and two of the three fired sued the county for $1.5 million and a public apology. Shikuma received an outpouring of sympathy on local blogs and in local media following his death. “It is so sad that Glen had to leave this good earth with all this fiasco at the elections office,” Lorraine Inouye, a former state senator and Big Island council mayor wrote on a local blog. “I can just imagine what this turmoil did to his self-esteem, to see his hard work go amiss.” Ed Kozohara, Shikuma’s former boss went so far as to say that none of the recent election-day problems would have occurred had Shikuma not been let go.
  • Award Nomination: IFES' Joe C. Baxter Award recognizes the contribution of a professional whose skills, dedication and sacrifices to the field of election administration epitomizes the mission of IFES and embodies the spirit of former IFES Senior Adviser for Election Administration Joe C. Baxter.We encourage you to submit a nominee for the 2012 Joe C. Baxter Award. IFES looks for an individual whose work has focused on building local ownership and capacity; improving election administration procedures; and creating sustainable democratic processes. This year's award will be presented at a special reception on Monday, November 5, in Washington, D.C.Submit a name for the 2012 Joe C. Baxter Award. The nomination period closes on September 19 at 9:00 a.m. EST.Learn more about IFES' Baxter Award.