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electionlineWeekly — February 13, 2014

Table of Contents

I. In Focus This Week

We’re Baaaaackkkk….

electionline returns with a little help from our friends

February 13, 2014 marks the return of electionline!

Thanks to the generosity of the Democracy Fund and the Hewlett Foundation, and with the support of TurboVote and ELECTricity at the New Organizing Institute, electionline.org is back and better than ever.

Our newsletter and website have a new look which we hope is more streamlined and easier to read!

We’ve included a new search function on the website as well as ways to make it easier to share electionline on Facebook and Twitter.
There is now a Resources page that provides links to some of the most vital election reform websites and in the coming weeks we’ll be updating the 2014 elections calendar, and by popular demand, we’ll be adding all the old electionline reports and briefings for your viewing pleasure.

Like everything, it’s a work in progress so please, if you’ve got any feedback — good, bad, ugly — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

On a personal note, I would like to thank Adam Ambrogi at Democracy Fund for his tenacity, Michael Caudell-Feagan, David Becker, Sean Greene and the entire Pew elections teams for their past and continued support, Wendy Underhill at NCSL for her support and being willing to think outside the box, Dave Ammons in the Washington Secretary of State’s Office for his support, Rokey Suleman for being a great sounding board (travel safe Rokey!) and as always Doug Chapin for being the best boss.

We are so looking forward to bringing you all the election administration news and information in the coming year that’s fit to print!

An elections love story
Because they love what they do

With the return of electionline and Valentine’s Day both falling in the same week, we thought we’d find out why those who work in the elections field love what they do. We put out a call here is what you had to say.

I love elections because they have something for everyone:

  • Like people? Elections are an intensely human activity, requiring people to work together despite the fact that politics often divides them.
  • Love process? Elections are ALL ABOUT process – laws, regulations, rules, procedures – a Type A’s dream.
  • Love technology? Elections give you a chance to work and play with all kinds of technology – whether made with bits of information or bits of plastic and metal.
  • Love design? There is no shortage of things and places to imagine, re-imagine and layout – ballots, brochures, polling places, etc.
  • Love government? Election administration is a huge public service challenge (dwindling budgets, uncertain legal environment, etc.) – but Election Day still has to happen.
  • Love America? Love democracy? This is how we do it – resolving our biggest (and smallest) questions with ballots, not bullets.

But most of all, I love the people who “do” elections because they love it. Happy Valentine’s Day, election geeks <3 — Doug Chapin, director, Program for Excellence in Election Administration, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.

I love elections for the following reasons (in roughly this order): (1) They provide an opportunity for regular people to engage with their government and to make a difference in the world.  (2) Despite the challenges (or perhaps, because of the challenges), the non-professional poll workers who staff the polls represent one of the great expressions of civic engagement in America and a respite from cynicism.  (3) The data generated by elections keeps me busy trying to figure out what Americans are thinking.­­ — Charles Stewart III, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I love elections because.....as Californians, voters in my state hold enormous power to make public policy and change society through our initiative process. Love it or hate it, there is no doubt that the initiative process can be a powerful tool for change. Kim Alexander, president and founder The California Voter Foundation.

I love that elections empower us and give voice to our aspirations for our communities, our state and our country. Elections inspire conversation and collective decisions. Elections really are a great equalizer – Bill Gates’ vote is worth no more than a factory worker or waitress. We owe it to all of them, each of them, to have elections that are transparent and accurate and fair – and fun! — Kim Wyman, Washington Secretary of State.

When we think of love, we think of passion. It is passion that describes my drive to support the enfranchisement of U.S. voters across all continents - those who cannot make it to the polls, and need an absentee ballot to voice their vote. As with true love, the passion only grows as I get to know the greater community of people who work together to make elections happen. Supporting voters to engage and participate is the most rewarding work I have ever done. Like love, it's sometimes unpredictable, but remains passionate. — Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president & CEO U.S. and Overseas Vote Foundation.

I work in elections to ensure that they continue to offer the best opportunity for the voice of the people to be heard in American government. — David C. Kimball, professor and graduate director, University of Missouri-St. Louis.

I love working with election people because election administrators get stuff done.  Maybe it’s the type of work, or the type of worker, but deadlines are real in elections and are always hit.  The ability to execute a plan is the most coveted of business competencies, and that competency is in abundance in the election community.  You never bump into an election administrator who is a slacker.  You just don’t.  — Brian D. Newby, CERA, election commissioner, Johnson County, Kansas.

I love administering elections. The elections bug bit me in 1995 and it's been in my blood ever since. I love the cyclical nature of our work. I love the goose bumps I get on election eve. I love the professional staff that dedicate countless hours to our elections process. But most of all I love working hard to ensure our elections are accurate, transparent, and accessible to all. I've got the best gig in the world! — Lori Augino, Washington Director of Elections.

My "elections love story" is like any good love story - early attraction, a getting-to-know-you phase and eventually falling more deeply in love over time. And like so many election love stories, it was the 2000 presidential election that brought us together. — Alysoun McLaughlin, deputy director, Montgomery County, Md. board of elections.

And last, but most certainly not ever least, an elections haiku!

I’ve heard it be said
That one size does not fit all…
"I voted" sticker? — Tammy Patrick, federal compliance officer, Maricopa County, Ariz. elections.