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II. Election News This Week
- After four recounts — the latest a court-ordered hand recount — the race for Kent County, Delaware Recorder of Deeds has ended in a tie. Each candidate received 19,248 votes. Under state law, if the tie is certified by the state, the seat will be declared vacant and Gov. Jack Markell will appoint someone [What?! No drawing of lots?]. Challenger La Mar Gunn initially won by two votes and subsequently won two of four recounts. "I didn't think about a tie, to be honest," Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove told The News Journal right after the recount. "That crossed my mind earlier, but not today." Gunn is considering a legal challenge to the tie.
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has set March 3 as the date to redo a supervisor’s race in Chester County. According to The State, voting irregularities, including missing ballot styles at some polling places forced the State Election Commission to overturn the election. The election will come between two other elections in Chester County, a special election in February and the regular municipal elections in May. “We’re going to have a busy first half of the year,” said Terry Graham, elections director.
- Beginning in 2015, all volunteer registrars in Texas will automatically lose their certification and must get recertified through state-mandated training. Following a legislative change in 2011, this is the first time all volunteer registrars — thousands of them — will have to get recertified at the same time. According to The Monitor, while activists have decried the move, some, like Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon said there will positive effects from the training, noting the importance of face-to-face meetings with volunteers.
- According to a report published by the supervisor of elections office, 11 Palm Beach County, Florida precincts gave the wrong ballots to more than 100 voters on Election Day. The report, required by the state, also found that six voting machines malfunctioned, and a handful of minor procedural violations. The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports that Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher — recently under fire for other issues involving the 2014 election — has said the poll workers who gave out the incorrect ballots will no longer be allowed to work at the polls.
- Effective January 1, employees of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will no longer be able to select or change a voter’s political party when handling voter registrations. Currently, both the voter and the employee may make the change, but after the Montgomery County board of elections noted that several hundred voters may have had their party affiliations changed, the administration made the change to procedures.
- Personnel News: Brian Miller has been named the new executive director of Nonprofit VOTE. Mary Lou Meyers, Lewis County, West Virginia clerk for 28 years is retiring. Cindy Rowan is her replacement. Campbell County, Kentucky Clerk Jack Snodgrass is retiring after 25 years and 48 elections. Four new members were recently appointed to the Douglas County, Georgia board of elections. They are: Talula Martin, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Bob Proctor and Dan Zimmerman. Carol Hinsely, Dunklin County, Missouri clerk is retiring after more than 20 years in the office. Peter Quinn is retiring as a Monroe County, New York election commissioner. Rupert Ross has resigned from the St. Croix Board of Elections citing “political agendas” and a “dysfunctional board.” Chris Winters has been appointed deputy secretary of state in Vermont. He replaces Brian Leven who is stepping down after four years as deputy secretary of state. Harrison County Clerk Patsy Cox has temporarily been placed in charge of the county’s elections after elections administrator Becky Dotson was fired. After 20 years on the job San Luis Obispo County, California Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald had retired. Tommy Gong is replacing Rodewald. Montrose County, Colorado Clerk and Recorder Francine Tipton-Long is moving on to the state motor vehicle division after eight years on the job. Clatsop County, Oregon Clerk Maeve Kennedy Grimes has been fired after being placed on paid administrative leave since October 20 following ballot errors with the general election ballots. Henry County, Georgia Elections and Registration Director Janet Shellnutt has retired after 16 years on the job. Greene County, Missouri County Clerk Richard Struckhoff is retiring after more than two decades on the job. Iowa Secretary of State-elect Paul Pate has asked Marshall County Auditor Carol Olson to serve as elections director for the state. Myla Eldridge is the new Marion County, Indiana clerk. Kristen Coyle has resigned as voter registrar in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.