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II. Election News This Week
- In the hipster epicenter of New York City where everything old is trendy again, so too may be the city’s lever voting machines. The city’s board of elections is not ruling out bringing back the much beloved machines if the dates for upcoming elections. The board argues that it cannot hold an election on September 10 and a runoff election two weeks later with the current electronic machines because of the time it takes to tally the votes. Of course lever voting machines are just one alternate plan the board is considering if the dates don’t change. Other possibilities include instant runoff voting, and using ballots that do not have names on them. According to WNYC, under this scenario the ballots would just have letters A and B. Then for the runoff, voters would take a guide into the privacy booth that would explain which letter corresponds with which candidate.
- A new report from the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board said that eliminating same-day registration would end up costing the state $14.5 million. The GAB initially estimated that it would cost about $5 million to eliminate same-day registration, but according to The Associated Press, the new cost includes estimated expenses from four state agencies affected by doing away with same-day registration, which would trigger implementation of federal voter registration requirements.
- Elections officials in Douglas County, Neb. violated federal law during the November election when they failed to allow dozens of voters to cast a provisional ballot when the voter didn’t show their voter ID number. Attorney Rob Kinsey was appointed by Secretary of State John Gale to oversee a hearing that examined whether Douglas County poll workers violated the Help America Vote Act of 2002 in the Nov. 6 election. In his seven-page report, Kinsey not that neither federal nor state election laws require voters to give voter ID numbers to vote provisionally. He ordered the county election commission to remove voter ID numbers from instructional materials and to offer more training to poll workers and call-center operators. According to the Omaha World-Herald, county Election Commissioner Dave Phipps agreed with the findings and said his office has already made changes.
- Personnel News: Alecia Wells has been selected to serve as the chair of the U.S. Virgin Islands joint board of elections. Codi Trudell is the new Benton County, Ore. elections supervisor. Trudell began her career in the Polk County elections office at the age of 22. Bay Village, Ohio Mayor Deborah Sutherland is resigning from the Cuyahoga County board of elections. State law prohibits a candidate for office to serve on the board and Sutherland said she plans to seek re-election this year. Allison McGahay is the newest of the Essex County, N.Y. election commissioner. Marie Antonia “Tonie” Kuhlman has been named the interim elections administrator in Jim Wells County, Texas. Glen Shikuma, the Hawaii County elections warehouse worker who was terminated and died while fighting a wrongful termination suit was reinstated by the county on Dec. 31, 2012. Longtime Niagara County, Ohio Election Commissioner Nancy Smith has been replaced by Lora Allen. By a party line 3-2 vote, the Shelby County, Tenn. election commission voted to keep Richard Holden on the job as elections administrator.
- In Memoriam: Former Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters B.G. Dyess died this week. He was 90. Dyess served as registrar for 24 years before running for and winning a seat in the state Senate.