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III. Election News This Week
- The day before the 52nd anniversary of the killing of three civil rights workers who were registering voters in Neshoba County, the Mississippi Attorney General announced that the case was closed—unsolved. “There's nothing else that we can do,” Mississippi Atty. Gen. Jim Hood announced at a news conference Monday. “All’s been done unless some other witness comes forward.”
- According to a survey by the American Civil Liberties Union, only about half of Nebraska’s 93 counties are properly restoring voting rights to ex-felons. Under state law, a convicted felon may register to vote two years after completing all the terms of their service, including parole and probation. The ACLU had researchers contact each county and ask if ex-felons may register to vote and 47 of the 93 counties did not provide the correct information, although some did follow up later with the correct information. Secretary of State John Gale took issue with the survey and how it was conducted although he did his office would work harder to publicize the state law.
- We love this paper-saving idea! In an effort to save paper and some money, the Denver elections team combined their voting instructions and ballot secrecy sleeves. Instead of sending a separate secrecy sleeve with mail-in ballots, voters were instructed to fold their instruction sheets in half and put their voted ballot in there before placing it in the return envelope. While it did cause a bit of confusion for some voters who didn’t completely read the instruction sheet, it did save Denver about 230,000 sheets of paper and more than $9,000.
- Speaking of vote-by-mail, Utah, which has often struggled with voter turnout is looking at a possible record-breaking primary election thanks in part to 20 counties using the new vote-by-mail option. According to KUTV, in Salt Lake County ballots already accounted for have eclipsed the overall totals of the last primary. “For a primary turnout at this point in time that is excellent," said Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk.
- No really, every vote does matter! A recent election for mayor in Hannaford, North Dakota initially seemed to end in a tie with each candidate getting 28 votes, but during a canvass of the votes an additional mail-in ballot with the appropriate postmark was found giving the seat to Deb Dahl. But here’s the twist, her opponent Russell Flifet, who did not seek re-election for council in order to run for mayor won his old seat back through write-ins.
- Although our focus is on U.S. elections, it would be hard to get through this week’s newsletter without somehow mentioning the big Brexit vote in England and we’ve found the perfect way! Apparently #DogsAtPollingStations is a thing during British elections and Thursday’s vote was no different. Forget the ballot selfies America, this is something we can all get behind!
- Personnel News: Tom Sawyer, head of the Fayette County, Georgia elections and voter registration department has been terminated for performance-related issues. Virginia Anders of Glen Ferris, West Virginia was recently honored for voting in every election for 66 years. Tom Dunkerton, Republican registrar of voters in Brookfield, Connecticut has resigned. Richard R. DuBois has been elected the new chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Elections. April Dufoe has retired as the Kennebunkport, Maine town clerk after 16 years on the job.