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II. Election News This Week
- Officials in Sacramento County, California are facing questions about the organization hired to review the county’s registrar’s office. The county awarded $115,000 to the Election Center to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the elections office. The examination, according to The Sacramento Bee, will be conducted by Ernest Hawkins how previously headed the elections office in Sacramento. Chief Deputy County Executive Paul Lake told the paper that he is aware of the potential conflicts of interest, but that he’s comfortable with the Election Center conducting the review. The county received seven proposals to conduct the review that was instituted after clerks in Sacrament, Galt and Rancho Cordova complained that the county mishandled the 2014 election.
- Well this is one way to get people to turn in their ballots! Recently, King County, Washington elections division left a ballot drop box at a “voting party” that was attended by the governor, mayor and several candidates. "We're encouraging people to vote, people to have their friends and neighbors vote and this was a part of that effort, that I believed would be a start for that," Huff told KING. "It turned out it was a wonderful event." David Ammons, spokesperson for the Secretary of State, told KING the voting party "is not illegal, but not recommended,” and that the use of the boxes is not illegal either.
- The League of Women voters and professors at three of Kansas’ public universities are teaming up to teach college students how to register to vote. The course will be piloted by Washburn, Emporia State and Fort Hayes State universities this fall and teach students how to register themselves and how to register others. “The idea is to fit it into the regular curriculum” of a history or political science class, Mark Petersen, a political scientist who developed the course told the Kansas City Star. The league hopes that colleges and high schools around the state will adopt the course next year ahead of the 2016 election.
- We’ll give them an A for effort, if not timeliness. Recently, Arlington County, Virginia election chief Linda Lindberg had to turn away several high school students attempting to pre-register for the 2016 elections. In Virginia, 17-year-olds are allowed to pre-register, the only problem is these students were trying to register by the 2015 registration deadline that they are not eligible for. According to Inside NoVa, Lindberg had to reject the applications. ”Unfortunately, we had to deny them for being underage,” Lindberg told the paper, since her office wasn’t allowed to hold the applications and process them later.
- We don’t typically post international election news, but we really couldn’t help but post this story and wonder what elections officials in this country would do. During India’s ongoing elections, 19-year-old conjoined twins voted with one voter identity card, meaning one ballot. The twins, who are joined at the head, but cannot be separated without risking the life of one, live with their parents and cast their vote a polling place near their home. “We have voted as per our willingness to take part in formation of the next government,” they said in a statement according to The Hindu.
- Personnel News: Incumbent Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler was re-elected this week for a second full four-year term. Emily Carrington is the new South Portland, Maine city clerk. New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has resigned from office and pleaded guilty to embezzlement and other charges. Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana will serve as acting secretary of state until Gov. Susana Martinez names a new person to the post. A special election will be held in 2016 to select someone to serve out the remainder of Duran’s term, which ends in 2018. Effective Jan. 1, 2016 Kristen Clarke will be the new president and executive director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She is replacing Barbara R. Arnwine who served in the role for more than 26 years. Trish Gearhart is retiring as the Trenton, Michigan clerk after more than two decades on the job. Willie Green, III has been appointed the new elections supervisor in Floyd County, Georgia.