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II. Election News This Week
- Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation will investigate whether or not Alabama violated civil rights laws when the state cut back motor vehicle services in predominantly black counties. According to USA Today, DOT officials wrote to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, citing concerns over the reduction in services. The agency’s Civil Rights Department said it will investigate whether the change violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on race, color and national origin in programs that receive federal funds.
- New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner plans to replicate the font used on the ballots that were used in the first primary 100 years ago. “We’ll have a font that looks similar, if not the same,” Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan told the Union Leader. “The ballot will have a special look to it.” The state plans to print 765,000 ballots. The Legislature and governor authorized Gardner to place a special heading on the ballot to commemorate the centennial.
- Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray found himself on the hot seat this week when members of the Joint Appropriations Committee questioned why Murray wanted to spend $135, 000 for salary and benefits to hire a full-time, at-will contract employee to deal with the office’s communications. In his testimony, Murray cited that many other secretary of states have spokes people dealing with the press and the office’s online presence. “When I go to these conferences, entire sessions are set aside for the public communications, media relations aspect,” he testified.
- Oy vey! New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind sent a letter to the board of elections urging the board to include voter registration materials in Yiddish. In his letter, Hikind described the lack of Yiddish materials as “a shanda—a disgrace—and totally unacceptable.”
- This week, a nonpartisan group called Generation Citizen launched an initiative called Vote16USA — an effort to lower the voting age to 16 for local contests to, according to The New York Times, spur civic engagement by younger Americans. “Given the general malaise that faces this country’s political process right now, this is a way to get young people actually excited,” Scott Warren, executive director of Generation Citizen told the paper. Generation Citizen hopes to raise $1 million in 2016 to finance its efforts. The group has already received $230,000.
- Personnel News: Manitowoc County Clerk Jamie Aulik has announced his resignation, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Aulik was elected clerk in 2007. Kimble Medley, former deputy elections supervisor has filed to run for Flagler County, Florida supervisor of elections. Dionna Lews and Andrew Richardson have been appointed to the D.C. Board of Elections and Stephen Danzansky has been reappointed. Freddie Oakley, chief deputy clerk/recorder for more than 30 years is stepping down to join the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Oakley and Clinton attended Yale together. Jackie Hyland, a former television anchor is the new public information officer for the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Shelby County, Tennessee Election Administrator Richard Holden is resigning at the end of December. Tony Wobler has stepped down from the Putnam County, Ohio board of elections in order to run for office.