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electionlineWeekly — October 15, 2015

Table of Contents

 II. Election News This Week

  • Voter turnout at a Derry, New Hampshire special election on eight referendum petitions was so high this week that polling places ran out of ballots. “This is about the size of a presidential primary so I’m impressed,” Town Clerk Denise Neale told the Union Leader. Neale told the paper that by 6pm elections officials had run out of the 2,500 ballots ordered for one polling place.

  • “We are small but we are many…” A group Killingly, Connecticut residents—six to be exact — marched four miles this week to protest the town’s decision close four polling places and to move the only polling place from the library to the high school. The concern stems from walkability. Many voters who used to walk to their polling place will not be able to walk to the larger, consolidated site.

  • The ballots — all the ballots — are in the mail in San Mateo and Yolo counties this week. Both counties are the first two California counties to participate in an all vote-by-mail election under a pilot program authorized by the state Legislature. While more than 75 percent of San Mateo County voters already cast their ballot by mail, officials are hoping that if this election is successful it can prove to be a model for the state. “This will help the Legislature determine the nature of elections in the future,” Mark Church, chief elections officer for San Mateo County said a press conference.

  • Benton County, Arkansas is planning for the future and that future includes vote centers. Vote centers became possible in Arkansas with 2013 legislation, but the move to them has been on hold while the state finalizes its decision on which voting technology to use. Once that’s complete, Benton County seems poised to be one of the first county’s to make the switch. "I see it in the future," Russ Anzalone, chair of the Benton County election commission told Arkansas Online. "There are several what-ifs we would have to iron out before we do this. But once we do we'll be able to reduce the number of polling sites. We'll be able to reduce the number of poll workers needed. It will reduce the cost of elections for the county. There are a whole lot of positives."

  • Officials in Atlantic County, New Jersey are now rejecting mail-in ballots that were partially filled out by a super PAC. At first the county was accepting the ballots because someone from the super PAC signed off as an assistor, but after consulting with the county’s counsel Clerk Ed McGettigan is not rejecting the ballots.

  • Personnel News: Wyoming’s longtime election director Peggy Nighswonger has retired from her role after almost 20 years of running elections for the Cowboy State. According to media reports, Nighswonger left her job due to a “differences in philosophy” with the new secretary of state. Darlene Harris has been appointed to the Schenectady County board of elections. Dale Baker, Hall County, Nebraska election commission recently received the Medallion Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State. Michelle Bolton, Pam Kelley and Sherry Cox have all been reappointed to the Chilton County, Alabama board of registrars. Christine Torno is the new Waterboro, Maine deputy town clerk. Rep. Val Hoyle has thrown her hat into the ring for the Oregon secretary of state’s position.