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II. Election News This Week
- Two pieces of legislation signed into law this week should make it easier for Californians to cast a ballot in future elections. On Monday Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1436 into law, which beginning in 2015, will allow residents of the Golden State to register to vote on election day. The law can’t take affect until the secretary of state certifies VoteCal, the state’s new statewide voter registration database. Nearly half of all California voters vote-by-mail and another piece of legislation signed into law by Brown was AB 2080 will simplify who may turn in a vote-by-mail ballot. According to the Palo Alto Patch, currently, family members or persons in the same household can return ballots of vote-by-mail voters only "due to illness or other physical disability," as noted on the ballot envelope. AB 2080 eliminates this requirement, allowing a vote-by-mail ballot to be returned for any reason, without compromising existing safeguards.
- The state of Florida released a final list of 198 names of noncitizens registered to vote in the Sunshine State. This number is much lower than the 2,600 Gov. Rick Scott had alleged when this process began.
- File this one under oops! Apparently some Ohio residents are throwing out their absentee ballot applications thinking that it’s junk mail. "Some people were calling us and asking if we could send them an absentee application," Bill Shubat, Belmont County Election Board Director told WTRF. "And we'd certainly be happy to do that. But we reminded them that the attorney general already sent them one. They indicated that they threw it out, and one person had shredded it." Fortunately, unlike a ballot itself, the county can send residents a new application.
- Last week we reported some impressive numbers of new/updated voter registrations in Maryland and New York since those two states went online with their voter registration. This week we have a report from Nevada, which went live statewide with online voter registration earlier this month that new registrations are averaging 550 per day.
- This week, Facebook gave its users the ability to add when and where they registered to vote on their profile’s timeline. According to The Hill, in a blog post, Facebook said it believes the new timeline feature and its "I'm Voting" app with CNN "will result in a more involved and informed citizenry ahead of Election Day."
- Congratulations to TurboVote who this week signed up their 100,000th voter. The site, which electionlineWeekly featured back in July now has 57 college partners across the country with nine schools having signed up more than 20 percent of their student population with the voting site.
- Personnel News: Following his arrest for a probation violation, Fulton County, Ga. Elections Director Sam Westmoreland resigned this week. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Registration Chief Sharon Mitchell, who has been with the county for about a year and has a decade of elections experience, will serve as interim director. Embattled Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi hired Elizabeth Lehau Iopa, an elections specialist who has been with the department for four years to serve as the temporary elections administrator for the Big Island. Michael F. Colley recently resigned from the Franklin County, Ohio board of elections. Colley, who did not cite a reason for resigning, although he has been battling Parkinson’s, served on the board since 2003. Late last week, the Shelby County, Tenn. election commission voted unanimously to suspend Richard Holden, administrator of elections, for three days in October followed with six months of probation. According to the Commercial Appeal, Holden was suspended because of “personnel issues in the office” and problems with the August 2 primary.