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III. Election News This Week
- Former Mayor Shelia Dixon who was running for election in Baltimore last week is considering a challenge to the city’s election results. About 3,000 vote separate Dixon from the unofficial winner Sen. Catherine E. Pugh. Activists have called on Gov. Larry Hogan not to certify the election until an investigation can be completed. The activists, including the NAACP cite primary day problems in the city including voters who were turned away and lost ballots. According to The Baltimore Sun, the board is processing about 7,000 provisional ballots and more than 3,800 absentee ballots that are arriving by mail daily, Jones said. He expects the final results to be certified Friday. A Maryland State Board of Elections official said that timeline was not unusual.
- In other primary follow-up news, nearly two months after North Carolina’s March primary, ballots in 20 counties are still being reviewed to ensure that the state’s photo ID law and other new voting laws were properly enforced. According to the Associated Press, State election officials said such audits are designed to promote statewide uniformity by county election officials and local precinct workers on how provisional ballots will be counted or handled in advance of the fall election. A smaller review occurred after the May 2014 primary. "This is about making sure the results are correct but it is also about making sure the counties are educated about issues," state board Executive Director Kim Strach told the AP. "In November, we won't have this ability."
- Some voters in Oregon are seeing double. For voters that changed their party affiliation right before the April 26 deadline for the state’s upcoming closed primary they will receive two ballots. One reflecting their old affiliation and an updated one reflecting their new party affiliation and candidate choices. To make sure that ballots go out on time, they are printed and prepared before the registration deadline, therefore some voters will need to get a new ballot. "There's nothing wrong. “It's OK to have two ballots," Molly Woon, spokeswoman for the Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins told The Oregonian. "But you won't get to vote twice." The state has gone on an all-out media blitz to explain the situation and even recently posted a haiku about it on their Twitter account:
Two ballots? Don't fret.
Vote the second ballot, please.
Safeguards are in place.
- Baby steps. Thirteen precincts in Stevens County, Minnesota have opted to conduct future elections all by mail. Approximately 1,475 registered voters live in those precincts, representing about 25 percent of the 5,685 voters registered in Stevens County.
- Free popsicles? Sign us up! A nonprofit in the El Paso County, Texas-area is offering free popsicles to anyone to registers to vote or even anyone who engages with volunteers about the process. Turnout has been as low as 6 percent in the county the Paleta Power is looking to change that by getting voters registered and engaged in the issues. "It's really important to try and engage voters in as many way as possible to try and understand why, why is there such apathy," County commissioner David Stout told KVIA.
- Personnel News: Diane Owens, election commissioner and Geardie Carter, poll manager in Oxford, Mississippi were recently honored for their long service to elections. Diane Mederos, former Bristol town administrator has been nominated to serve on the Rhode Island board of elections. Former East Providence Mayor Isadore Ramos has also been nominated to the Rhode Island board of elections. President Barack Obama has nominated Kate Marshall to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Marshall, a Democrat, is the former Nevada State Treasurer and ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state.