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III. Election News This Week
- An audit of the New York City Board of Elections has found that the agency has lost track of more than 1,450 pieces of equipment, including voting machines. Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office examined inventory and other board records over a three- year period. The audit found four voting machines, 45 computers, 127 monitors, 85 printers and a dozen television sets all missing from BOE facilities. “Maintaining an accurate inventory is critical to transparency, integrity and accountability at any government agency, and on this count BOE is clearly absentee,” Stringer said in a statement announcing the results of the audit.
- Members of the Baltimore City Council have called for a formal investigative hearing into the problems surrounding the city’s April primary. The election was decertified and investigated by the Maryland State Board of Elections which found about 1,700 ballots that were handled improperly. "We could all recite what went wrong," Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke told The Baltimore Sun. "That's not what I want to hear. I want to hear what they're going to do to fix it."
- Oregon will roll out the second and final phase of its new automatic voter registration program this week when about 145,000 Oregonians who had “qualifying interactions” with the Oregon DMV in 2014 and 2015 will get the opportunity to become automatically registered. According to a press released from the secretary of state’s office the Phase II population was initially estimated to be more than 250,000, but many people registered in time for the May primary leaving the number at 145,000.
- Despite numerous lawsuits and a Department of Justice review of the 2016 presidential preference primary, Secretary of State Michelle Reagan has said that her office will not revamp the state’s election procedures manual for the upcoming primaries and general election. A spokesman for Reagan’s office said they will wait until after the 2016 election cycle is complete to revamp the procedures. Some local elections officals are not happy. “Would we like to have it? Absolutely,” Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman told The Arizona Republic. “But it will still be business as usual.”
- Palm Beach County, Florida has joined several others in an attempt to clear up confusion four years from now. The county is issuing new voter registration cards that will spell out party affiliation more prominently. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the idea is to make easier for voters to see their party affiliation or to realize sooner that they aren’t registered for a party. "It's a better, clear message to send," Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told the paper. "It will spell out the entire name of the party ... so [voters] are more cognizant and aware that, 'This is my party.'" The cost produce the new cards is about $700,000.
- Vandals struck polling places in Alabama and the District of Columbia last week. In D.C., an elementary school in Southeast, Washington that was being used as an early voting site was vandalized after hours. None of the elections equipment was damaged or stolen. “There’s absolutely no cause for concern,” DCBOE spokesperson Margarita Mikhaylova told The Washington Post. “Nothing was taken, no ballot boxes were disturbed and elections are continuing as before.” In Pike County, Alabama, vandals broke windows, dented the building and rummaged the interior of a polling place in Ebenezer. “…It’s hard to understand why anybody would to anything like this. It’s country property so it belongs to them. Why destroy something that belongs to you? Just out of meanness?” Pike County Administrator Harry Sanders told the Troy Messenger.
- Personnel News: Land Commissioner John Thurston and Deputy Secretary of State Joseph Wood are both seeking to replace term-limited Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin. Beverly Gill, an election inspector for the town of Burlington in Racine County and former city of Burlington clerk and Julie Glancey, a retired Sheboygan County clerk and former president of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association have been appointed to the newly created Wisconsin elections commission. Longtime Clayton County, Iowa Auditor Dennis Freitag unexpectedly resigned last week, just six days before the Iowa primary. Debra Lee has been chosen to complete the term of Laramie County, Wyoming Clerk Debbye Lathrop who died recently. Lee will serve until 2019.