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III. Election News This Week
- An upside down flag is a symbol of distress. When the D.C. Board of Elections printed an upside down flag on the cover of the 2014 voter’s guide, one had to wonder. Initially a spokeswoman for the board said it was done on purpose to engage voter interest. The board’s director followed up and admitted that was indeed a mistake, but that the information inside the book was correct. At a regularly scheduled press conference following the mistake, D.C.’s Mayor Vincent C. Gray said he had no faith in the board’s ability to conduct an election.
- On Wednesday, the Orange and Los Angeles county registrar of voters teamed up to hold a voting workshop at a new citizen naturalization ceremony. Neal Kelley from Orange and Dean Logan from Los Angeles were on hand to answer questions and assist the new citizens with getting registered to vote. “This is an exciting time for new citizens – with an opportunity to vote as soon as they are sworn in,” Kelley, said. “One of the first things many new citizens are interested in is how they can participate in the upcoming election.”
- The Putnam County, Tennessee election commission has officially adopted a policy that will prevent voters from taking photos, texting or talking on cell phones will in polling places on November 4.
- According to a poll from Reason-Rupe, 73 percent of Americans favor restoring voting rights to nonviolent ex-drug offenders. Eighty-two percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Independents, and 66 percent of Republicans all favor allowing nonviolent drug offenders who have served their sentences to vote.
- Despite a settlement in a federal voting rights lawsuit voters on the Fort Belknap and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations to do not have early voting sites this cycle because authorities on those reservations failed to submit the proper paperwork in time.
- Residents of Burlington, Vermont will be asked in a March referendum whether or not legal non-citizens should be allowed to cast ballots in local elections. Non-citizens were allowed to vote in local elections in the 1800s. The city of College Park, Maryland is also considering allowing noncitizens to vote. If approved College Park would become the third municipality in Maryland to allo noncitizen voting in local elections.
- The King County, Washington elections office is partnering with the Seattle Public Library to help disabled voters cast their ballot. On three dates before the November election, officials from King Elections will be at the library’s LEAP Lab to help disabled voters use the state’s online ballot marking program. "Partnering with the Seattle Central Library combines expertise and resources in a wonderful way to help voters who need accessible options to vote privately," said Sherril Huff, King County Elections Director.
- One of the most important rules in life is to never ask a lady her age. But go ahead and ask New York City voter Luz Pabellon how old she is and she’ll tell you 73. But if you check her voting information with the city’s board of elections, they will tell you she’s 164. Unlike some other things in New York City, this one has a logical explanation. According to The New York Post, when the board converted its voter files over to an electronic database, it board plugged in “01/01/1850” as the default date for those whose birth dates were unknown or unclear. And it turns out Luz isn’t alone. About 850 people in New York City are officially 164-years-old.
- Personnel News: Ernest Apponte and John W. Mooney have been nominated to fill two vacant seats on the Atlantic County, New Jersey board of elections. Janice Yohai, a Fairfax County, Virginia volunteer is the recipient of the county’s highest award for volunteerism for her efforts to educate residents about Virginia’s voting process and getting residents registered to vote. Len Lenihan has been nominated to serve on the Erie County, New York board of elections. Nancy Johannes, former deputy director of the Greene County, Ohio BOE will officially retire at the end of the month after the board voted to reclassify her position to administrative support.
- In Memoriam: Vernon, Connecticut Democratic Registrar of Voters Judith A. Beaudreau died Sunday. She was 62. Beaudreau worked for the town for more than 30 years. She oversaw many voting changes including the switch from lever-voting machines to optical scan. “Connecticut lost a warrior for democracy on Sunday with the passing of Vernon Registrar of Voters Judi Beaudreau,” U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District, told the Journal Inquirer. “Judi’s tireless work over the last 20 years to modernize and digitize Vernon’s voting system set a path-breaking example for the whole state, which she implemented as state president of the Connecticut Registrar of Voters Association.”