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III. Election News This Week
- This week, Ohio joined 18 states and the District of Columbia as part of the Electronic Registration Information Center — ERIC. As part of this, in mid-August more than 1.5 million Ohioans that are not registered, but eligible will receive a mailing encouraging them to do so. The mailing will cost about $400,000 and will be covered by a grant from Pew.
- The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in partnership with the National Braille Press has created a voting rights card in Braille and large print for visually impaired voters. “We believe it is very important to offer the card in Braille and large print,” Chairman Thomas Hicks said in a statement. “We are proud to work with the National Braille Press to make this happen,” he said. “As people with disabilities go to the polls this fall, this resource will help remind them of their federal voting rights.”
- Once again, things are not so jolly in Forsyth County, North Carolina. Elections board members are considering using the South Fork Community Center for early voting, but the scheduling would conflict not only with the Holly Jolly Craft Fair, but also the Gingerbread Craft Fair. The same issue arose in 2014, but a compromise was eventually worked out. If elections officials and recreation officials cannot come to some sort of agreement it could mean an $80,000 revenue loss. The site was a popular early voting site in 2014 and election board members believe it may have actually driven traffic to the craft show.
- Voters in Massachusetts will have the chance to early vote for the first time this fall and now localities are working on the logistics of what that will look like. In Boston, city elections officials are soliciting ideas from the public on where the city should place its early voting locations. "A democracy is only strong and vibrant when all residents are able to participate and make their voices heard," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement announcing the early voting feedback plan. Thoughts and ideas are due today via a special website (www.earlyvoting.boston.gov). Hmmm, maybe Forsyth County should look to their neighbors to the north.
- Members of the Merrimack, New Hampshire town council and school board met this week to try and find a solution to the traffic nightmare experienced at the Merrimack High School polling place in February. The town is considering adding two more voting sites for a total of three. “No matter where you are, there's going to be traffic issues, but this will be markedly better,” town council chair Nancy Harrington said at the meeting according to WMUR. “The sites we’re talking about are demographically separated so there should be a great improvement.”
- Wicomico County, Maryland’s county executive blinked. For months the county executive and the board of the library had been at odds over the storage of voting equipment with the county executive wanting the library to vacate 3,000 square feet of space for their storage and the library pushing back saying that space was used for programming. According to DelmarvaNow, the county will purchase and renovate another building—for about $900,000—to not only store the voting machines, but house the entire county elections operations.
- Personnel News: Brandon Wobler has been appointed to the Paulding County, Ohio board of elections. John Caupp has been appointed to the Greene County, Ohio board of elections. Jeff Roberts is the new Nashville, Tennessee elections administrator. Camilla Wiener, 91, of Narragansett, Rhode Island was recently honored for her more than 50 years of service to the League of Women Voters. Alice Miller has returned to head the D.C. Board of Elections. She originally led the agency from 1992 to 2008 before leaving to become the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s first chief operating officer.