III. Election News This Week
With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the Eastern seaboard, elections offices in several states including Florida and South Carolina have been forced to close. In Florida, although elections offices will lose several days of prep time, Gov. Rick Scott does not expect the storm to impact elections in the Sunshine State. And in South Carolina, some elections offices are closed, but reminded voters that they can still register and update their information online.
While many states and counties have reported bumps in voter registration thanks to social media, Morton County, North Dakota could be seeing a bump in its voting population for a vastly different reason. Morton County is the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and under North Dakota law, any U.S. citizen living in the state for 30 days prior to election day is eligible to vote. Joyce Braun, one of the protest organizers told The Bismarck Tribune that 200 to 300 people have asked her about voting in the county, and she expects over 1,500 could be voting. Many consider North Dakota to be their home now, she said. "These are people that are smart, intelligent and informed," she said. "This could potentially be a large voter bloc." Jaeger said, for those protest camps, or really any site across the state, where there is no residential address associated with the property, people will have to come up with a method to identify where they live. He said the local state’s attorneys will have to decide what residential site identification is legally acceptable. “All of this is a challenge,” he told the paper.
Another result of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn North Carolina’s 2013 election legislation is that it has allowed 16-and 17-year olds to preregister to vote and early reports are that many are taking advantage of the opportunity. Wake County alone reported 3,000 students preregistering since the court ruling.
It’s not quite School House Rock, but Maine Secretary of State Mathew Dunlap has released two new animated videos that explain the voting process in Maine. One is called "Registering to Vote" and the other is "Casting Your Ballot." Each video is about three minutes long and available on the secretary of state’s website and YouTube. “The process of registering to vote and actually casting your ballot can be daunting, particularly for new voters,” Dunlap said in a statement. “Our hope is that these animated videos will make it more interesting and fun to learn about the process, which will ultimately encourage citizens to get registered and make their voices heard at the ballot box.” And yes, that's an animated Dunlap in the videos!
It has been an election cycle of crazy headlines and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has had enough. A recent article published in the Christian Times Newspaper asserted in a screaming headline that “Breaking: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse” with an accompanying photo of stacks of black ballot boxes. "A Christian myself, I take offense to reading such unbelievable lies from a publication alleging Christian ties," Husted said. "No one from this so-called-news outlet bothered to call the Franklin County Board of Elections or the Ohio Secretary of State's office to verify any facts. It was a deliberate attempt to deceive and mislead. We already get enough of that from the candidates. Enough already." Electionline has to see thousands of headlines for articles we never post and we’re with Secretary Husted on this one, enough already!
Personnel News: Andee Knopfhas resigned as the manager of voter services in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Charlotte Sosebee has been named the new director of elections and voter registration for Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.
In Memoriam: Former South Dakota Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine has died. She was 81. Hazeltine served as assistant chief clerk of the state House and secretary of the Senate, was elected secretary of state in 1986 and served through 2002. She also served as a National Association of Secretaries of State president.