III. Election News This Week
- According to the News & Observer, voters in 23 North Carolina counties will have fewer chances to vote early under schedules approve by Republican-led election boards. The paper asserts that the decision to reduce hours came after the North Carolina Republican Party encouraged its appointees to “make party line changes to early voting”. That being said, the paper also noted that 70 county elections boards are offering more early voting hours than they did in 2012. The paper has also obtained a “critical and confidential” email from a member of the state’s GOP to local boards of elections that stressed that while they should operate within the law, they should also operate in the best interest of the party and that include limiting the number of early voting sites and hours.
- The dean of students at Kennesaw State in Georgia sent a memo to students this week warning that “unauthorized individuals are walking around with some clipboards claiming they are registering students to vote.” The memo also said that the individuals are targeting certain student populations. “We have had students in the past not be able to vote on election day because they completed a form with an unauthorized person and were never properly registered,” Michale Sanseviro, dean of students, wrote. “We are committed to ensuring all eligible KSU students have the proper access and opportunity to participate in the democratic process.”
- And a bit of a shout-out to our Director Emeritus Doug Chapin. This week the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote a piece about the University of Minnesota’s first-of-its-kind certificate in election administration. The program kicked off its second year this week. It’s really trial by fire,”said Ginny Gelms, Hennepin County, Minnesota election manager told the paper. “Nothing can prepare you for your first election cycle. It would have been nice to have back when I started my career,” she said.
I Voted — this week electionlineWeekly is launching a new feature to highlight all the unique and interesting “I Voted” stickers out there. Some states and counties are really creative in what they give voters and we hope this will inspire others to think outside the box—or square or oval.
Appropriately, first up is Brevard County, Florida’s new First Time Voter sticker. Supervisor of Elections Lori Scott recently designed an “I Voted” sticker just for first-time voters. Each week she signs between 75 and 100 congratulatory letters to 16- and 17-year olds that are pre-registered. At a recent Outreach event she was approached by a parent who told her how excited they were to accompany their teen to the polls for their first vote and thus the idea was born.
“We have ordered and received an adequate supply for early voting and the upcoming General Election,” Scott explained. “Our poll workers have expressed excitement about having a special sticker to present to our first time voters. A win for the giver (poll worker) and a win for the receiver (1st time voter), both filled with pride and joy of this special time in the life of a young person.”
If you’ve got a unique “I Voted” sticker let us know and we’re happy to feature it.
Personnel News: By just 185 votes, longtime Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell won the Republican nomination to keep her job. Her challenger, Aaron Flannery, said that he will not seek a recount. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has replaced two members of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. New board members are Erwin Switzer (D) and Al Johnson (R). They replace Joan Burger (D) and Andrew Schwartz (R). Ed Leonard has been appointed to head the Franklin County, Ohio board of elections.
Get Well: Electionline is sending good thoughts to Dawn Stumpf, longtime Chatham County, North Carolina board of elections executive director. Stumpf is currently recovering from an illness and stroke at UNC Hospitals. Stumpf was admitted to UNC Hospitals in mid-August after developing meningitis caused by streptococcus pneumonia and had a stroke. She was in a coma until Thursday, explained Deputy Director Pandora Paschal, who is acting as temporary executive director in Stumpf’s absence, when she woke up and was taken off a ventilator. Stumpf has moved from intensive care at UNC Hospitals to an intermediate unit, she said. “She’s breathing on her own, she’s mouthing words, she recognizes people,” Paschal said. “So that’s good news.”