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IV. Election News This Week
- This week, Reuters reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has curtailed its elections observers program and observers will only be sent to five states in November. According to Reuters, the curtailing of observers is a result of the 2013 Shelby v Holder ruling. Federal observers can still be sent to monitor elections but only when authorized by federal court rulings. Currently, courts have done so in five states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, and New York.
- As far as elections go, New York City hasn’t had the greatest 2016, but there was some good news recently with the launch of voter registration forms in five new languages—Russian, Urdu, Haitian Creole, French and Arabic. “No one should be disenfranchised because of their language,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the launch of the forms. “These voter registration forms in five new languages will help us involve even more New Yorkers in the voting process. New York is a city of immigrants, and these forms will help New Yorkers of every background cast their ballots on Election Day.” According to NYC.gov, nearly half of all New Yorkers speak a foreign language at home.
- Although it cannot be completely ruled out, Ypsilanti Township, Michigan’s clerk said that it is unlikely than any absentee ballots were on the Postal Service truck that went up in flames recently. A post office official told elections officials that because ballots are oversized mail, they most likely were not on that particular truck, but absentee ballot applications may have been. Voters are encouraged to reach out to their local elections officials to confirm the status of their application and/or ballot.
- If your summer vacation plans include a trip through the Garden State, be sure to stop in Piscataway, New Jersey to check out a new exhibit at Rutgers University called “The Elusiveness of Progress: Voting Rights in America.” “It is important to know the evolution of the Voting Rights Act, not only to understand our nation's checkered past but also to grasp the covert manner in which one of our most progressive bills is being subverted,” Paul Kibala, Kilmer Library reference assistant and curator of the display told New Brunswick Today.
- While campaigns and some elections officials are looking at ways to use PokemonGo as a get out the vote tool for November, one Florida elections official is warning players to stay away! Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley is concerned about early voting sites and polling places that also serve as Pokemon stops being overrun by people not there to vote. "Do not go into to an early voting area or Election Day polling place in search for an imaginary character on the Pokémon go app, can't stress that enough," Corley told 10News. "They could be arrested" Under Florida law, only registered voters and poll workers are allowed inside a voting precinct with a 100-foot buffer from the entrance for no solicitation. "I never thought hashtag Pokémon Go would be part of our poll worker training and explaining that to some of our senior citizen poll workers is going to be an interesting conversation," Corley said.
- Personnel News: Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill has been named the new president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Citing personal reasons, Jim Williams resigned as Oregon’s elections director this week, effective immediately.