I. In Focus This Week
In and Out 2015
What’s out and what’s in for 2015 in elections
You’ve waited all year for it, so without further ado, here is electionlineWeekly’s annual list of what’s in and what’s out in election administration for 2015.
And as always, a hat-tip to The Washington Post that began their version of The List in 1978 and inspired us to start ours.
Happy New Year!
OUT: Lever voting machines in New York, finally…maybe, then again maybe not
IN: Lever voting machines in local and school elections in New York
OUT: Remembering not to include the H in Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s name
IN: Remembering to include the E (all of them) in new Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence E. Denney’s name
OUT: Casting ballots before Election Day
IN: Counting them
OUT: Doug Lewis as director of the Election Center
IN: Tim Mattice as new director of the Election Center (effective Jan. 15)
OUT: Wondering what the Supreme Court really meant in Bush v. Gore
IN: Wondering how the Supreme Court is applying Purcell v. Gonzales
OUT: Wishing election law plaintiffs wouldn’t wait so long to sue
IN: Wishing courts hearing election law cases wouldn’t wait so long to rule
OUT: The EAC as zombie agency
IN: Three living, breathing commissioners
OUT: Litigating over NVRA claims
IN: Litigating over Section 5 claims
OUT: Doug L., at Election Center
IN: Doug C. just about everywhere
OUT: Arguing against voter ID because people don’t have it
IN: Arguing against voter ID because people can’t get it
OUT: Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act
IN: Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act
OUT: Alleging impact of election law changes
IN: Proving it
OUT: “All vote by mail”
IN: “Ballot delivery”
OUT: Organizations who oppose effective and safe voting for Americans with disabilities
IN: Maryland’s online ballot marking
OUT: Blaming the lack of new voting systems on the lack on an EAC quorum
IN: The EAC quorum
OUT: Prosecuting voters in Iowa
In: Registering voters in Iowa
OUT: Arguing about the benefits of same-day registration
IN: Worrying about implementing same-day registration
OUT: Voting technology purchases
IN: Voting technology leases
OUT: “If I can bank and shop online, why can’t I vote online?”
IN: “Could online voting systems get hacked like Sony?”
OUT: Chuck Schumer, Senate Rules Chair (113th Congress)
IN: Lamar Alexander, Senate Rules Chair (114th Congress)
OUT: Rep. Candace Miller, House Administration Chair (113th Congress)
IN: Rep. Candace Miller, House Administration Chair (114th Congress) [OK – no big change but just to be thorough!]
OUT: Neighborhood polling places
IN: Vote Centers and Vote By Mail
OUT: Because that’s the way we’ve always done it
IN: Testing pilot projects to make elections better
OUT: Interest in online voter registration convenience and digital access
IN: Interest in online voter registration costs and security
OUT: Military voters as drivers of the Internet transmission of ballots
IN: People with disabilities driving the same
OUT: Waiting till you’re 18 to register to vote
IN: Pre-registration for 16-and 17-year olds
Special thanks to Dave Bjerke, Doug Chapin, Jim Dickson, Doug Lewis, Brian Newby, Charles Stewart, and Wendy Underhill for submitting ideas for this year’s In and Out List.
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.
III. Legal Updates
Arizona & Kansas: The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from attorneys for Arizona and Kansas to reconsider an earlier decision doing away with the states’ proof-of-citizenship laws.
Arkansas: A group of Blytheville citizens have filed a complaint claiming that a number of convicted felons may have been allowed to cast ballots in the city’s mayoral election and that number, combined with a number of questioned ballots could have affected the results.
Indiana: The Indiana Court of Appeals has thrown out three felony convictions against former Secretary of State Charlie White, while keeping three other convictions in place. The judges found double-jeopardy violations and threw out two voter fraud charges and a perjury charge. The state’s attorney general’s office is reviewing the decision and not yet decided whether they will pursue the case.
New Mexico: The secretary of state’s office is petitioning a judge for authorization to open locked ballot boxes in Colfax County in an effort to determine what caused a glitch in election returns for the recent land commissioner’s race.
New York: Albany County lawmakers rejected a proposed settlement agreement that would have ended a three-year voting rights legal fight. The case now returns to federal court.
Texas: Candidate Brian Black has filed suit in federal court in an attempt to overturn the November 4 Bandera mayoral election.
U.S. Virgin Islands: The legal wrangle continues in the Virgin Islands. On December 22, Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks vacated an arrest warrant against Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes. Then on Christmas Eve, Willocks ordered the St. Croix BOE to deny a petition for a recount and rendered null and void any actions the board had taken with regard to the requested recount.
Virginia: Dozens of voters have filed suit in the Richmond, Va. Federal Court against the State Board of Elections claiming that the SBE violated electoral rights by packing black voters into fragmented and irregularly shaped districts.
IV. Legislation Updates
Connecticut: Rep. Ed Jutila, co-chair of the Government Administration and Elections committee said that the committee will look at the state’s registrar of voters system, but doubts it will take up any legislation regarding “vote shaming.”
Minnesota: Incoming members of the state’s Legislature are planning to push a proposal to move the state’s primary from August to June.
New York: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed legislation into law that codifies the reporting requirement of the Mayor’s agency-based voter registration directive and requiring the Mayor’s office to submit a bi-annual report.
Pennsylvania: Legislators are considering several pieces of legislation to modernize the state’s voting system. One proposal would allow for online voter registration, another would allow for same-day registration and a final proposal would allow a 30-day early voting system.
Texas: State Rep. Poncho Nevarez has pre-filed three bills aimed at addressing the state’s voter ID law. The legislation all addresses the type of acceptable ID including any ID card issued by a state or federal agency, a Tribal ID card and allowing the elderly to use expired photo IDs.
V. Tech Thursday...Err, Wednesday
National Tech: The 1622.2 2014-11-24 draft standard is now in the 1st round IEEE balloting process, in which IEEE members are able to vote and/or submit comments on the draft up until Jan 15, 2015. We are also making the draft publicly available and encouraging the public to vote/comment on it, especially those in the election official and vendor community who may not be members of the IEEE. Your comments will be considered carefully and will be greatly appreciated.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has a new online search feature for our Certified Voting Systems Map to see where state and local jurisdictions are using EAC-certified voting systems and system components in federal elections. The map allows users to quickly access key information that includes the counties/municipalities in which they are used, test plans and test reports, and other information about the systems. Categories on the map differentiate between: (1) jurisdictions using EAC certified voting systems, and (2) jurisdictions using multiple components from an EAC certified system. For more information see the updated map with search feature and Voting Systems Map FAQs.
VI. Opinions This Week
Alabama: Primary date
Arkansas: Election questions
Maine: Mystery ballots
New York: Turnout
Utah: Voter fraud
VII. Upcoming Events
IACREOT Semi-Annual Meeting— The International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers will hold it’s semi-annual meeting in Long Beach, California in January. Where: The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California. When: January 8-13. For more information and to register, click here.
Voting and Elections Summit— The U.S. and Overseas Vote Foundation, FairVote and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights will host the Ninth Annual Voting and Elections Summit that will examine the profound and persistent issues surrounding U.S. voter participation, engagement in our democracy and what can be done about it. Where: Washington, D.C. When: February 5-6, 2015. For more information and to register, click here.
NASS 2015 Winter Conference — The National Association of Secretaries of State Winter Conference will bring together government and industry leaders to showcase secretary of state initiatives and highlight all the latest developments in state and federal policymaking. The conference will include a special new member orientation session for newly-elected or appointed secretaries of state. Where: Washington, D.C. When: February 10-13. For more information and to register, click here.
NASED 2015 Winter Meeting —The National Association of State Election Directors will hold its 2015 Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. in February. Topics at the meeting will include new voter registration systems, state election legislation, a voting system panel report, and a variety of speakers including Congressional staff and members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Where: Washington, D.C. When: February 11-13. For more information and to register, click here.
IACREOT Annual Conference — The International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Elections Officials and Treasurers will hold its annual conference in Vail, Colorado this year in June and July. Planning is still in the early stages, but be sure to mark your calendar. Where: Vail, Colorado. When: June 27-July 2. For more information and to register, click here.
NASS 2015 Summer Conference — The National Association of Secretaries of State Annual Summer Conference is set for July this year. Planning is still in the early stages, but be sure to mark your calendar. Where: Portland, Maine. When: July 9-12. For more information and to register, click here.
NACo Annual Conference and Exposition— The 80th Annual Conference and Exposition of the National Association of Counties will be in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), North Carolina. Registration opens February 9th. Where: Charlotte, North Carolina. When: July 10-13. For more information and to register, click here.
NCSL Legislative Summit 2015 — The National Conference of State Legislators will hold their 2015 Legislative Summit in August. Planning is still in the early stages, but be sure to mark your calendar. Where: Seattle. When: August 3-6. For more information when it becomes available and to register, click here.
Election Center 31st Annual Conference— The National Association of State Election Directors will hold its 31st Annual Conference in Houston in August. Planning is still in the early stages, but be sure to mark your calendars now. Where: Houston, Texas. When: August 18-22. For more information and to register, click here.
NACRC Annual Conference— The Annual Conference of the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks is set for Houston in August. Planning is still in the early stages, but be sure to mark your calendar. Where: Houston, Texas. When: August 21-25. For more information and to register, click here.
VIII. Job Postings
Absentee Supervisor, Collier County, Florida — leads and supervises 2 absentee team members. Assigns tasks among staff and self. As a player-coach, executes and contributes to all tasks assigned to staff. Directs, coaches and evaluates staff. Demonstrates the ability to learn and function in voter registration, absentee and address research software. Provides leadership for continuous database quality improvement. Develops links with vendors, other elections jurisdictions and agencies. Designs and operates procedures for communicating with voters. Assists voters by phone, email and in-person meetings. Operates large inbound mail equipment. Prepares records, reports and forms. Establishes, updates and maintains data in automated information systems. Salary: $42,000-$48,000. Deadline: Open until filled. For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assistant to the Elections Coordinator, Boulder County, Colo.— position is instrumental in our office's duty to implement successful elections for Boulder County's voters. The objective of this position is to coordinate and manage the mail-in ballot and replacement ballot processes; manage the voter registration process and workflow; oversee the coordination and implementation of Voter Services Polling Centers, and supervise 1-3 full time staff. We are passionate about the work we do for democracy and the citizens of Boulder County and we're looking for someone who's equally passionate about this work. The ideal candidate must have the ability and desire to serve the public and Boulder County. He or she is experienced in supervision and motivating employees to success. Other skills include the ability to implement ideas and processes that are forward thinking; being self-motivated and collaborative with excellent communication skills in both verbal and written form. He or she is willing to learn and has the capacity to set clear goals, prioritize tasks, manage time efficiently, and effectively work with others for completion of projects. Additionally, he or she demonstrates excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage a project and people in order to meet tight deadlines. This position will require overtime, nights and weekends during election season. This is a non-exempt position, eligible for overtime pay. Salary: $41,016-$59,076. Deadline: Open until filled. For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Administrator, Burnet County, Texas — position performs the duties and functions of the Voter Registrar, the duties and functions placed on the County Clerk by the Texas Election Code or by statutes outside the Election Code. This position is filled by appointment of the Burnet County Elections Commission and is a full time, exempt position. The Commission consists of: the county judge, the county clerk, the county tax assessor-collector and the Democratic and Republican county chairs. Salary: $41,000-$53,000. Deadline: January 15. For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Administrator, Williamson Co., Texas — responsible for setting up, administering, and managing elections held in WilliamsonCounty, whether they are for federal, state offices and amendments, countywide races, orfor any of the 110-political jurisdictions such as school districts, community college, cities, MUDs, SUDs, road districts, etc. and primary elections.Works successfully with political parties, candidates, political jurisdictions, staff, mediaand other County departments.Responsible for managing voter registration for Williamson County that consists of over 273,000 registered voters and 88 election precincts.Provides supervision and management to staff members and poll workers.Managesfive budgets, two of which contain discretionary funds.Interprets and applies the provisions of the Texas Election Code to the County voting process. Experience: Combination of education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in management, government, public administration or relevant field; five years of management experience; experience with developing and writing procedures, reading legal codes, working with electronic equipment and software and managing a staff of diverse duties is essential; excellent customer service; ability to work effectively with co-workers, employees and supervisors; strong organizational skills; and experience with Windows, Microsoft Word, 10-key character by touch, fax and copy machines. Salary: $3,071.54-$4,607.31 biweekly. Deadline: January 18, 2015. For more information and to apply please click here.
Network Administrator, Collier County, Florida — administration of computer network to include servers, design, setup, installation, configuration and troubleshooting. Monitors network operations and ensures network connectivity. Ensure network is operating effectively and efficiently. Researches new technology and developments in systems network. Manages network security. Administration of print and switch environments. Identifies users’ needs and prepares users by designing and conducting training programs. Provides network training to internal IT staff. Salary: $58,000-$65,000. Deadline: Open until filled. For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic, Austin, Texas — project manager plans, directs, and coordinates project activities to ensure that project goals are completed efficiently and on schedule. As a member of the Professional Services Team, the Project Manager works with other team members to manage delivery of the full scope of Hart Voting System implementation and support services. The Project Manager is responsible for ensuring that project goals and deliverables are met, and is directly accountable for the success or failure of projects he or she manages. For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.