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II. Election News This Week
- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider eliminating the 1965 Voting Rights Act in a case brought forward by Shelby County, Ala. The court last considered the VRA in 2009, but did not act. According to the Associated Press, Shelby County’s case argues that state and local governments covered by Act have made significant progress and should no longer be forced to comply with oversight from the federal government. In choosing to hear the case, the court said it would examine whether formula under which states are covered is outdated. The AP said the case will most likely be argued in February or March with a decision to come by late June 2013.
- After experiencing web problems on Election Day, the Chicago Board of Elections website was down once again this week, although the site was down because the BOE shut it down after it was revealed that sensitive information of more than one thousand people who had applied to work on Election Day was easily available online. A computer security firm — Forensicon — said the security lapse left 1.7 million people vulnerable, but the city countered that it was only 1,200.
- KanVote, a voting advocacy group, is calling for the resignation of Secretary of State Kris Kobach saying that the partisan, out-of-state work he has done on immigration left him “out of touch” and led to problems on Election Day. This is not the first time that Kobach has been challenged. In October, activists filed a recall petition for Kobach.
- The New Mexico attorney general’s office has initiated an investigation into voting problems in Rio Rancho on Election Day. In a statement announcing the investigation, AG Gary King said the long lines on Election Day were a “debacle” and a “near meltdown of voting procedures.”
- With paper ballots still being counted, the attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands announced that he would be investigating allegations of improprieties on and leading up to Election Day. Some of the alleged improprieties include St. Thomas-St. John not certifying voting machines until about 12 hours before the polls opened and on St. Croix, public access was “severely restricted” to the room where votes were being counted.
- Eight days later and following several court rulings, the results finally arrived in Richland County, S.C. around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday night. According to The State, although the results are now in — and scheduled to be certified by 8 a.m. Friday — it is still unclear what exactly caused the Election Day chaos that saw voters waiting in line for hours and the county unable to count votes when the polls finally did close.
- Personnel News: Charlie Smithson has joined the Iowa secretary of state’s office as the office’s legal counsel. Smithson previously served as the Iowa House’s chief clerk and executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. Linda Dowdy Martin won a write-in vote to serve on the Pontotoc, Miss. election commission. Elaine Carr, Macon-Bibb County elections supervisor plans to retire at the end of the year. Carr has been with the board of elections for 26 years and the elections supervisor for 12. She was will be succeeded by current Elections Secretary Jeanetta Watson. Diana Bradick has joined the Whatcom County, Wash. auditor’s office as chief deputy auditor. Bradick started work on Oct. 8 and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the office.