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II. Election News This Week
- Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp was forced to make a rare use of his subpoena powers this week when the Fulton County board of elections refused to turn over requested documents. Fulton was plagued with problems during the 2012 election season and Kemp is trying to get to the bottom of what happened. Specifically, Kemp is trying to find out whether 19 people received requested absentee ballots and, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, whether the county ever notified voters who were forced to use paper ballots if their votes got counted. An attorney for the county said that it’s working to comply, but that Kemp is fast-tracking the review with a hearing set for Jan. 31.
- Although Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut did not serve as a polling place for the community, Pettis County, Mo. is consolidating polling places and moving them out of the county schools citing practical, logistic and public safety concerns. “Brad [Pollitt, assistant school superintendent] contacted me after I was elected and raised some concerns, so we have actually been working on this for a while,” Nick La Strada county clerk told the Sedalia Democrat. “After the shootings, we looked at the safety of our children along with some of the other issues like parking, and it just seemed like the right move to make.” Pollitt told the paper that the move was regrettable, but necessary. “We were happy to host when we could. I wish times were such we could still do that, but in this day and time it is probably better to get polling stations out of our schools. I am sad things turned out the way they have turned, but we have to keep up with the times,” Pollitt said.
- The Minnesota secretary of state’s office will be honored by Independent Lifestyles at it’s annual meeting this week for the office’s work on providing accessible polling places. Independent Lifestyles is a center for independent living. “We’ll recognize our staff and board and community partners but especially the Secretary of State’s Office because they have been influential in getting accessible voting places and helped us train hundreds of people to be comfortable with the process of voting,” Independent Lifestyles Executive Director Cara Ruff told the St. Cloud Times.
- In other accessibility news, several New York counties have recently come to agreements with the law enforcement officials to make voting more accessible to all New Yorkers. In Allegany County, the county has agreed to work to ensure that polling places are ADA complaint. And in Dutchess and Putnam counties, elections officials have agreed to ensure that ballots and all voting materials are accessible in both English and in Spanish.
- Personnel News: Edith King was recently sworn in as the Democratic registrar of voters in Litchfield, Conn. Brad Anderson, who directed President Barack Obama’s campaign in Iowa has announced that he will run for secretary of state. Roderick Edmond, chairman of the Fulton County, Ga. registration and elections board resigned late last week. Scott A. Krahling, former Dona Ana County, N.M. commissioner has been named the new supervisor of elections for the county. Also in New Mexico, Secretary of State Dianna Duran has appointed former state Senator Rod Adair to oversee the elections in the state. Adair is not replacing the current director of elections, but will head a newly created division within the secretary’s office. After 25 years on the job, Guilford County, N.C. Elections Director George Gilbert is set to retire on March 1. Mahoning County, Ohio’s Elections Director Joyce Kale-Pesta has been named the Democratic Ohio Election Official of the Year by the secretary of state’s office. Juneau, Alaska resident Dr. Carolyn V. Brown has been elected to the League of Women Voter’s national board. Doylene Cunningham has been appointed as the secretary of the Garvin County, Okla. election board. U.S. Virgin Islands Elections Supervisor John Abramson, Jr. recently announced that he will retire effective at the end of May. Abramson has run the territory’s elections for almost 20 years and in 2011 had his contract renewed for another eight years. Also in the Virgin Islands, the recently formed St. Croix District BOE nominated Adelbert Bryan to serve as the group’s new chairman. Tim Vocke, a retired judge, has been selected to serve as the chair of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Craig Manseau, the top election official in the city of Newton, Mass. is retiring. Before running the elections in Newton, Manseau was the executive director of the Worcester election commission. Derinda Sherman was not reappointed by the Essex County, N.Y. GOP to serve as a county election commissioner. Tracy Walters will be the new director for the Polk County, N.C. board of elections effective March 1. She is replacing Dale Edwards who will retire on February 28. Debbie Quivey, director of the Athens County, Ohio board of elections, was named Republican Volunteer of the Year by the Ohio Association of Election Officials.
- ElectionlineWeekly is sad to report the retirement of Columbia County, Ga.’s Elections Director Deborah Marshall. Marshall had been recovering from surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor and unfortunately was not able to return to work. “It’s unfortunate,” Board of Elections Chairman Larry Long told The Augusta Chronicle. “She’s loved by everyone. It’s been tough. It’s been tough for everyone. She was a mainstay in this county. She was a good friend to a lot of folks, a good friend of mine. It’s just sad.” We wish her well in her continued recovery.