III. Election News This Week
- Parking spaces can be down-right sacred ground in some parts of our country so it was no surprise when a suggestion was made that Summit County, Ohio elections staff give up their parking spaces for in-person early voting that a fight ensued. Under a proposal from Chair Bill Rich (D) all members of the board and staff would have to park off-site unless they have a disability. Off-site parking has been arranged, but it would require staff to walk several blocks including right past a strip club for some. A special meeting over the situation is set for next week.
- Officials in Lake County, Illinois are searching for a new polling place for residents in East Chicago after their polling site at the West Calumet Housing Complex was found to be contaminated with lead. The county is struggling to reach many of the voters who used the polling place because they lived in the housing complex and have since moved for safety reasons. The county is keeping those voters on the rolls because they consider this an emergency situation.
- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has told local elections officials that they do not need to change their auditing procedures to include mail-in ballots or provisional ballots. The “Secretary of State’s position is that neither provisional ballots nor all vote-by-mail ballots are required to be included in the one percent manual tally,” Chief Counsel Steven Reyes wrote in a September 15 letter to elections officials.
- Dane County, Wisconsin is teaming up with the University of Wisconsin-Madison this election to study the impacts the state’s voter ID law has on voters. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the County Board approved a contract to provide the university with most of the funds needed for the $44,000 study, which will focus in particular on how minority and student voters could be affected. Emails, phone calls and mailed surveys will be targeted at voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties who didn’t vote in the Nov. 8 election. “This study will move us past speculation and into hard facts,” Sup. Jeff Pertl, the lead sponsor of the study, said. “We need to know if and how voter ID is having an impact, so we can ensure every eligible voter has a chance to cast a ballot.”
- Oy vey…This week, for the first time, the New York City Board of Elections make voter registration forms available in Yiddish however, according to some voters, the forms are fill with errors causing confusion for non-English speakers. According to the 2000 Census, there are 113,515 Yiddish speakers in New York state, comprising 63 percent of all Yiddish speakers in the country. The BOE has yet to respond to the complaints about bad translation.
- Personnel News: Toba Perez-Wright, who was Bandera County, Texas’ first and only election administrator has resigned. Dana Moeller, a records management clerk in the clerk’s office has been tapped to fill the position in the interim.
In Memoriam: Gene Raynor, former head of the Maryland Administrative Board of Elections Laws and Baltimore City election administrator died this week. He was 80.
Raynor began his elections career as a part-time elections clerk at the Baltimore City Board of Elections Supervisors when he was 18. In 1970 he was appointed deputy city elections administrator and in 1979 took the top spot in the office.
In 1987 he was appointed to the statewide position where he served until 1997 when he retired. He briefly got back into the elections business in 2006 when he was once again hired by the city of Baltimore to run its elections. He held that position for less than year before retiring again.
"It's hard to imagine an election in Baltimore without Gene Raynor," Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told The Baltimore Sun. "From the time he was a young man working as a clerk to being chief of Maryland's election board, Gene was a fixture and a font of information on all things Maryland elections.