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III. Election News This Week
- When it rains it pours. The Arizona secretary of state’s office failed to send out more than 200,000 publicity pamphlets for next week’s special election. The failure affects more than 400,000 voters. According to KTAR, spokesman Matt Roberts said the pamphlets should have reached voters 10 days before early voting started on April 20 and blamed a private vendor for the problem. By the time the mistake was discovered and new voter guides mailed and received, it was May 6. He noted that the voter pamphlet is available online and the vendor has been fired. On another note, a coalition of voting-rights advocates will form a new commission to examine everything from polling locations to voter education in Maricopa County.
- Wichita County, Texas Clerk Lori Bohannon is saying no mas. Bohannon addressed the county court this week and asked that the clerk no longer be responsible for handling elections and that instead the county create an election administrator position like other counties in Texas already have. Bohannon said that while she loves running elections, being clerk requires her to spend too much time on other duties. "… [W]ith election laws changing rapidly, it would be best to have an election administrator," Bohannon told the court.
- Steve Bousquet and Michael Auslen of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times have a great look at voter fraud in Florida and how no matter how much candidates like to claim there is a lot of voter fraud in the Sunshine State, there really is very little. It’s definitely an interesting read.
- “Not just hashtags, but votes.” We think electionline has found our new tagline. During his commencement address at Howard University, President Barack Obama addressed getting involved in the political process, especially voting. "It is absolutely true that 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, there are too still many barriers in this country to vote," the president said. "There too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting. This is the only advanced democracy on earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote, and there's a reason for it, there's a legacy to that. But even if we dismantle every barrier to vote, that alone does not change the fact that America has one of the lowest voting rates in the free world."
- Hurray! A Dane County, Wisconsin public service announcement about the state’s voter ID law and staring Chad Vader has won the best municipal public service announcement from Engaging Local Government Leaders. The video, written by Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell. "Once you do something and you break the ice, and there’s no penalty and people like it, then it lets the creative juices flow around here," McDonell said on a podcast announcing the winners. The Chad Vader video received 477 of the 883 votes cast — and we promise we were only one of those!
- And just when we the news this week couldn’t get any better, we came across this news item. Beginning this year, Los Angeles County will include “I Voted” stickers with the county’s 1.6 million mail-in ballots.
- Personnel News: Betty Ann Canizio-Aquil, deputy chief clerk for the New York City Board of Elections in Brooklyn has been suspended as part of the ongoing investigation into the city’s April primary. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos has submitted petitions to run for re-election in 2016. The Lebanon County Voter Registration Office recently honored Joan Sauers for working her 90th election. Longtime Wisconsin elections chief Kevin Kennedy announced this week that he will be retiring effective June 29.
- Get Well: We’re wishing Sussex County Board of Elections Administrator Marge McCabe a speedy recovery from a sprained neck she suffered in a car accident on the way to the polls this week. When medical staff insisted that she go home instead of to the polls, her staff sprang into action and got a court order so she could cast an emergency absentee ballot at home. McCabe told the New Jersey Herald that she hopes other voters are encouraged by her story. "I hope it makes a statement, that every election is important," she said.