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II. Election News This Week
- Although voter photo ID has been a law on the books in Mississippi for almost a year, the state has yet to conduct one election where voters are required to present ID because the state is still awaiting approval from the U.S. Dept. of Justice. This week Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann submitted a set of proposed rules for how the state will implement the law. Under the proposed rules, any voter who lacks and ID can get a free one from the circuit clerk’s office. “Our agency is proposing procedures to ensure every eligible voter who does not currently have acceptable photo ID will be able to obtain an ID easily and free of charge,” Hosemann said in a news release.
- With a special election looming to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Lawrence, Mass. City Clerk William Maloney says the city is not prepared to conduct the election because the voting booths are in such poor repair. Although county inmates attempted to repair about 175 of the city’s voting booths, Maloney said although well intended, the booths were “poorly constructed…that simply were not durable.” According to the Eagle Tribune, Maloney said the city needs to purchase new voting booths or there will be a repeat of November 2012 when there was a line of about 400 people waiting to cast their ballots at 8p.m. simply because there weren’t enough voting booths.
- Like Jason Voorhees, just when you think there can be no more stories about the much-loved lever-voting machines in New York, they’re back. Counties in New York are now trying to figure out what to do with the antiquated machines. Warren County has 72 of the machines that it no longer uses and although some towns still use them for school and fire district elections, it’s not really a sellers market. The county is considering giving them away to the towns, selling them on eBay, or selling them for scrap, which could bring around $50 to $100 per machine.
- Personnel News: Alabama State Rep. John Merrill has launched a bid to become secretary of state. In other secretary of state news, Guillaume de Ramel has announced his plan to run for secretary of state in Rhode Island. J.P. Sipp has announced that he will be stepping down as the Republican commission on State Island, N.Y.’s board of elections. Beleaguered Teller County, Colo. Clerk JJ Jamison announced that she will resign effective Feb. 1. Jamison was facing a recall spearheaded by two county commissioners and told The Mountain Jackpot that “I have been beat up too much and I’m not being allowed to make it right.” The Hawaii Elections Commission ruled that Chief Election Officer Scott Nago should not be fired over a series of Election-Day mishaps that led to ballot shortages and long lines. After 14 years of overseeing the elections in hotly contested Clark County, Nev. Larry Lomax has announced that he will retire. No timeline has been set for his last day. At 86, Bill Willis is retiring after 30 years of service as an election official/poll inspector for Sequoyah County, Okla. Christopher Thomas, elections director for the state of Michigan was recently sworn in as the new president of the National Association of State Election Directors. Nicholas Yingst, director of elections and voter registration in Lebanon County, Pa. is stepping down in order to become the township administrator in Anville.
- In Memoriam: Former Rhode Island Secretary of State Barbara Leonard died last week. She was in her late 80s. Leonard served one term as Rhode Island’s secretary of state from 1993 to 1995.