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electionlineWeekly — August 1, 2013

Table of Contents

I. In Focus This Week

Director’s Note: Au Revoir
electionline.org to go on indefinite hiatus beginning August 8

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In September 2001, electionline.org made its first appearance online. At the time, our idea was that with so many different election reform efforts underway across the nation it was important to have a comprehensive yet unbiased source of news and information about the field.

It’s been a terrific 12 years – covering most of three presidential election cycles – but, as with everything else, all good things must come to an end.

Next week on August 8, the site will go on indefinite hiatus.

Our friends and colleagues at The Pew Charitable Trusts have been more than generous partners throughout the years – providing operational and substantive support via grants and direct project funding – but as far back as 2001 it was understood that eventually Pew’s investment would end as it pursued new and different priorities both inside and out of the field of elections.

Now, that day has come.

I want to thank and recognize everyone who has given of their time and effort to grow electionline.org through the years, including:

  • Dan Seligson, who was my wingman as we birthed the electionline concept years ago;
  • Aron Goetzl, who launched our first weekly newsletter shortly thereafter;
  • Sean Greene, who was our first research director and still our last line of defense against errors;
  • Kat Zambon, who I hired even though I didn’t have a specific job for her (and never regretted it); and
  • Alyson Freedman, who went from intern to a self-taught (and darn good) webmaster;

Dozens (hundreds?) of people at Pew who supported us directly and/or indirectly, but especially:

  • Sue Urahn, Michael Caudell-Feagan, David Becker, and Zach Markovits at the Pew Center on the States for giving us a home and helping us make every penny last;
  • Pew election staff and alumni John Lindback, Sam Derheimer, Matt Morse, Elyse Berkowitz, Stan Turner, Tanner Horton-Jones, Stacie Temple, Kate Viar, Olivia Doherty, Gita Ram and Andreas Westgaard;
  • Miscellaneous Pew gurus (who provided advice, aid and comfort and the occasional rescue) including Carla Uriona, Jennifer Peltak, Gaye Williams, Margie Newman, Scott Scrivner, Nikki Trentacoste, Lori Grange, Kil Huh and Carolynn Race;
  • Our good friends in election administration and academia for making us smart and keeping us honest (or at least trying to); and
  • All the people at the University of Richmond (our first home) and the University of Minnesota (our current home) for giving us a platform to do the work we enjoy.

Of course, no one has done more for electionline.org – and thus deserves more recognition and gratitude - than Mindy Moretti. She has assumed more and more responsibility for the site over time and, as we stripped down operations to prolong the site’s life, has stayed with it as our only paid staffer, even when grant extensions and contract procedures meant that her checks weren’t as regular as I (or she) would have liked. She is a great friend and colleague and I will miss working with her every day.

Finally, I want to thank you, electionline.org’s readers, for your support through the years. Although our subject matter makes us a bit of a niche site, I have always been amazed and gratified by the reception we have received. Our little experiment would never have gotten off the ground with a proper audience, and your interest in and commitment to what we do has been nothing short of overwhelming.

There’s a reason this is au revoir instead of goodbye, though; we’d love to find a way to restart electionline.org – and if you have any ideas on that score send them my way; obviously people are still talking about what to do with elections and we would like to be a part of that conversation. Until then, thanks for all your support throughout the years. It’s been a great ride!

Editor’s Note: It’s hard to believe that more than eight years of knowing the ins and outs of election administration across the country are coming to an end. I won’t lie and say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it — the Pew CMS nearly killed me — but I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some fascinating and incredibly dedicated people. I would like to thank the many election officials, scholars, policy wonks, manufacturers and election geeks who have, time and time again, answered my questions and met my deadlines.

A special thanks to Doug Chapin for being a great boss and not caring whether the website and newsletter got posted from Xela, Guatemala or Savannah, Ga. as long as it got posted. Also thanks to Sean Greene who has done a heck of a job backing me up through the years. While I won’t miss getting up at 5 a.m. to search for stories, I will miss reading all those stories and keeping up with what’s going on in elections nationwide.

If you are looking for an elections email fix, check out NCSL’s The Canvass. Wendy Underhill and her team do good work. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission also sends out weekly emails with good information. Of course Doug is still blogging most days over at the Election Academy (though I know he'll miss using the stories I find every day).

Thanks again to everyone! I hope when you see a unique I Voted sticker, you'll remember electionline. And if you know anyone who is looking to hire a self-declared elections geek, let me know! --Mindy