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II. Election News This Week
- Ay dios mio! Spanish-language voter guides provided by the Kansas secretary of state’s office did not match the English-language and listed an incorrect voter registration date. According to the Kansas City Star, Craig McCullah, who is in charge of the office’s publications took responsibility for the mix-up. “It was an administrative error that I am diligently working to fix,” he said. McCullah said discrepancies in registration deadlines were corrected in the online version of the guide in the past 24 hours, and the rest of the text is being sent to a professional translating service to eliminate mismatches between the English and Spanish versions.
- State and U.S. Postal Service officials are looking into why thousands of Fulton County, Georgia residents did not receive notices from the county election’s office about polling place relocation until about two weeks after the March 1 primary — if they received them at all. The county’s director of elections and registration said that the design of the cards — with three addresses listed on them — may have lead them to being delayed.
- The Daily Tar Heel has an interesting look at the impacts North Carolina’s voter ID law may have on transgender residents. According to the article, only those who have a doctor’s note saying they have had gender reassignment surgery are legally permitted to change their gender on their license, although they could go and get a new photo taken. “You know, going to the DMV and paying $13, I’m not sure if it’s right ahead or just behind getting a root canal,” Gerry Cohen, former special counsel of the NC General Assembly told the paper. “There shouldn’t be any kind of requirement that somebody should have to go out and have a new picture just because they’ve grown a beard or have a different gender identification.”
- Last week, Fox’s long running reality talent show American Idol aired for the last time and President Barack Obama kicked off the show with a taped message encouraging people to register to vote. "Voting is the most fundamental and sacred right of our democracy,'' Obama said. "I believe it should be almost as easy as voting on American Idol, and we’re working on that. But when we choose not to vote, we surrender that right...Not all of us can sing like Kelly Clarkson, but all of our voices matter." The day following the show, Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill said the state’s online voter registration system logged 1,258 users, the site typically sees 550 users per day.
- With the New York primary less than a week away, elections officials are bracing themselves for a potentially chaotic day with many independents not realizing that the state has a closed primary system. “I’m going to predict that a lot of Sanders people who come from the ranks of independent voters are not actually registered Democrats and they will cause lines and waits at the poll sites while they attempt to vote affidavit ballots or obtain court orders to vote,” John Conklin, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections told the New York Post. According to the paper, in New York City elections workers have been advised not to argue with insistent independents and simply provide them with an affidavit ballot. “I can tell you I’ve been in and around elections in New York City for over 30 years and this is the first time I’m hearing of people complaining about the voter registration deadlines quite this vociferously,” Michael Ryan, executive director of the New York City BOE told the paper.
- Personnel News: Justin Clay, executive director of the Arkansas board of election commissioners has submitted his resignation, effective July 1. Linda Phillips, former Tippecanoe County, Indiana elections director has accepted the position as the new Shelby County, Tennessee elections administrator. Lafourche Parish Clerk of the Court Vernon Rodrigue will retire on June 30 after having worked every election in the parish since 1960. Elizabeth Rodgers is the new Baldwin County, Georgia chief registrar. She replaces Rick Williams who stepped down after 16 years in office to run for office himself. Joseph Czarnezki, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin clerk for eight years announced that he will not seek re-election.