I. In Focus This Week
Off to the races
Secretary of state races on the ballot in several states
The top elections official spot is on the ballot in eight states this November with the fate of at least one more depending on what happens in other races on the ballot.
Of the eight races — Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia — four of the seats are open. In Missouri Jason Kander is seeking a U.S. Senate seat, in Montana Linda McCullough is term limited and in New Mexico and Oregon Brad Winter and Jeanne P. Atkins were both appointed to complete the terms of the previous secretary of state.
This is just a brief look at all the candidates with links to their campaign websites where available. If the all the candidates in a race provided their position on election issues we gave a brief synopsis and link where available.
Jay Ashcroft (R) — Ashcroft, son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is an attorney and has worked as a defense contractor and an engineering professor. On the issues, Ashcroft has been an outspoken proponent of voter ID and also believes in fair ballot language and increasing election security.
Chris Morrill (Lib)— Morrill is a former educator and has worked in the financial and insurance industry as well. He previously ran for State Senate in 2004. On this issues, Morrill is opposed to voter ID, is a proponent of paper ballots and believes that any voter fraud should be aggressively investigated.
Monica Lindeen (D) — Linden was elected State Auditor in 2008 and serves the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.
Roger Roots (Lib) — Root is an attorney and also has a PhD in sociology. He previously ran for secretary of state in 2012 and U.S. Senate in 2014.
Corey Stapleton (R)— Stapleton is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and spent more than a decade serving in the Navy. He was elected to the State Senate in 2000 and 2004.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) — Toulouse Oliver has served as the Bernalillo county clerk since 2007. On the issues, Toulouse Oliver supports campaign finance reform working with local elections officials on fair elections.
Brad Avakian (D) — Avakian is currently Oregon’s labor commissioner. Prior to that he served as a legislator and civil rights attorney. On the issues, Avakian supports a plan to create a youth voting program, expanding Motor Voter and providing postage-paid ballot envelopes.
Sharon Durbin (Lib)— Durbin is a former attorney and prosecutor and previously ran for office in 2014.
Dennis Richardson (R) — Richardson served in Vietnam and is a former trial lawyer. He served on the Central Point City council and elected to the Legislature in 2002. On the issues Richardson is committed to working with county clerks on inactive voters, wants to streamline the initiative process and wants to reform the state voter pamphlet.
Kim Bowman (D) — Bowman is the manager of the Division of Health System Innovation and Research at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He is a captain in the United States Air Force Reserve and a member of the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Spencer Cox (R)—Cox is the incumbent lieutenant governor and before that served in the Utah House of Representatives.
Barry Short (Lib) — Short is a self-employed business owner and a member of the Utah Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Jim Condos (D)—is the incumbent secretary of state. Under Condos’ leadership, Vermont became one of only five states to authorize automatic voter registration.
Mary Alice Herbert (Liberty Union) — Herbert is a retired school teacher and previously ran for secretary of state in 2012.
John Buckley (Lib) — Buckley is an attorney and recently retired from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims where he served as the chief of staff and senior law clerk.
Natalie Tennant (D) — Tennant is the incumbent secretary of state. She was first elected in 2008. Before that she owned her own business, was a television anchor and served as the first female mascot at West Virginia University. During her tenure as secretary of state Tennant has successfully implemented online voter registration.
Mac Warner (R) — Warner is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point had a 23-year career as Army Artillery and JAG Corps officer. On the issues Warner will work with county clerks to clean up state voters rolls.
Tina Podlodowski (D) — Podlodowski is a former Microsoft executive and served on the Seattle City Council from 1995 to 2000. She has also served as a nonprofit executive and senior policy advisor for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Kim Wyman (R) — Wyman is the incumbent secretary of state first elected in 2012. Prior to that she served as auditor for Thurston County from 2001-2013 and before that was the county elections manager from 1993-2001. She is currently the only woman holding statewide office in Washington.
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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.
IV. Research and Report Summaries
Progress Report on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration: Improving the Efficiency of Elections, Increasing Access to Voting – The Democracy Fund, September 2016: lThis report follows up on recommendations made in 2014 by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and highlights issues related to voter registration (including online voter registration), access to voting, polling place management, and voting technology.
The Ruderman White Paper: Voting Accessibility for People with Disabilities – by Norm Ornstein and Kristina Kopic, September 2016: This report identifies recurring barriers to voting accessibility for people with disabilities including:
- Insufficient poll worker training;
- Access barriers to polls;
- Access barriers to elections material and registration material prior to elections;
- Stigma (including against developmental and psychiatric disabilities); and
- Limitations on resources available to election officials
In speaking with experts on election administration and accessibility, they find solutions currently exists to all of these challenges.
V. Legislative Updates
California: Late last week Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will completely overhaul how California counties conduct their elections. Beginning in 2018 counties will move to a vote-by-mail/vote center model, similar to how elections are conducted in Colorado. Under SB450, 14 of the state’s 58 counties can opt into the new system beginning in 2018. The remaining counties in the state may start in 2020.
Also in California, Brown vetoed a bill that would have expanded ranked choice voting to all cities that wanted to use the system. In his veto note, Brown wrote: “In a time when we want to encourage more voter participation, we need to keep voting simple. Ranked-choice voting is overly complicated and confusing. I believe it deprives voters of genuinely informed choice.”
South Carolina: Although early voting legislation died in the House earlier this year, bipartisan support seems to be growing to reintroduce similar legislation next year. “Low voter turnout is a huge problem especially in down ballot races and primaries,” S.C. Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore told the Post and Courier. “We should make it easier to vote, not harder.”
Washington: Secretary of State Kim Wyman, in partnership with county election leaders has proposed legislation for the upcoming session that would make it possible for elections officials to check the citizenship of people registering to vote in Washington. The proposal would tie-in with the state finally adopting REAL ID — Washington is one of only three states that has not made a move to comply with the REAL ID Act. The package also includes a plan for automatic voter registration of those who provide documentation of citizenship, with an opt-out provision.
VI. Legal Updates
Connecticut: Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer dismissed an attempt to get a last-minute candidate from the Independent Party of Connecticut on the ballot. Military and overseas ballots already have been printed and mailed, and two million copies of Connecticut ballots already are being printed to be delivered next week to municipal officials to meet a deadline for the availability of absentee ballots. The ballots cost 50 cents each. Palmer’s ruling saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in reprinting and reprogramming costs.
Florida: The Florida Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee sought an injunction in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee to prevent county canvassing boards from rejecting ballots in cases where the signature of a voter on the mail ballot envelope does not match the same voter's signature on file. "Florida's policy of failing to provide voters an opportunity to cure alleged signature defects on vote-by-mail ballots directly harms FDP, its members, and constituents," the lawsuit states. "FDP is directly harmed because Democratic voters are more likely than Republican voters to have their vote denied due to an apparent signature mismatch. Accordingly, it is more likely that Democratic voters will not have their vote counted, thereby, decreasing the overall likelihood that FDP will be successful in its efforts to help elect Democratic candidates to public office."
Illinois: The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed a lower court’s order mostly blocking Illinois’ same-day voter registration. The appeals court asked attorneys to file briefs by October 6 on why the case should face expedited appeal.
Kansas: The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling requiring Kansas to allow thousands of people who registered to vote at motor vehicle offices to stay on election rolls, despite not showing proof of citizenship as mandated by a state law. The decision clears the way for these voters to take part in the U.S. election in November.
Massachusetts: Responding to a letter from Woburn City Clerk William Campbell, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said that it is her opinion that the state’s new early-voting law is in fact constitutional. "The right to vote is a civil right at the heart of our democracy. I strongly support efforts to make voting easier and more accessible to the citizens of Massachusetts. The early-voting law is constitutional, and I will defend it if it is challenged," Healy said in a statement.
Missouri: A U.S. District Judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the St. Louis City Board of Elections that will allow voters with disabilities to use the city’s touch-screen voting machines during the November general election.
North Carolina: Plaintiffs in the successful challenge of North Carolina’s voter ID/early voting law are now asking the court to expand early voting in five counties. "The challenged plans are blatant attempts to make an end run around McCrory and this Court’s injunction," lawyers for the league wrote in their brief. "They seek, at least in part, to accomplish on a county-by-county basis what the Fourth Circuit barred the General Assembly from doing through SL 2013- 381: suppressing African-American voting strength by limiting access to early voting and SDR without legitimate justification. To 'fully correct' and 'eliminate root and branch' the State’s racially discriminatory effort to suppress the vote of African Americans, the Court should order these plans be modified.”
South Carolina: Although they are a defendant in the case, the South Carolina Election Commission has told the Greenville County Election Commission to drop its policy of sending an 11-question form to college students attempting to register at their campus address. “The State Election Commission insists that you immediately cease the practice of applying any tests to college students as a prerequisite to voter registration,” the State Election Commission said in a letter drafted Sept. 23, the day after the students filed their lawsuit.
Virginia: In a formal opinion, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring says that it is not against the law for Virginia voters to use cellphones in polling places and to take photos of their own ballots.
Wisconsin: U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson issued a two-page order requiring state officials to investigate whether DMV workers are giving prospective voters the correct information about how they can obtain a voter ID. The judge gave state officials until Oct. 7 to report back to the court. Peterson has also scheduled a hearing set for Oct. 12.
VII. Tech Thursday
Georgia: Following an unsuccessful technology update at the state’s Department of Driver Services the state is asking anyone who tried to register online to vote between Friday evening and Monday morning to re-register. The failure caused an error that blocked instant verification of electronic voter registration applications for people using their driver’s license number to confirm their identity.
Iowa: Elections officials throughout the state now have access to a database that contains 56,997 records of convicted felons not eligible to vote and about 250,000 records of Iowans who have had their rights restored dating back to 1984. The difference between this database and past databases is that it includes those with and without their rights restored. “It’s about as comprehensive as we’re going to see,” Secretary of State Paul Pate told the Quad-City Times. “It’s the first time that we’re aware of that we have a complete list of felons with their rights restored. It’s not just a list of felons. That was always the question mark.”
West Virginia: More than 56,000 West Virginians have either registered for the first time or updated their voter registration since the state’s online voter registration system launched. In September alone, there were more than 11,000 interactions with the system and on September 23, following the Facebook prompt, 4,502 people registered to vote, that’s 2,893 percent higher than the daily average.
VIII. Opinions This Week
Alaska: North Slope election
California: Santa Clara County
Florida: Pinellas County
Indiana: Ballot box integrity
Kansas: Safeguard the vote
Michigan: Ballot selfies
New York: Rigged election
Pennsylvania: Poll watchers
IX. Upcoming Events
NSCL StateVote Post-Election Briefing —Join the National Conference of State Legislature elections analysts and national political experts for a post-election discussion about what the outcome will mean for the states. The briefing will feature sessions on: State Election Analysis: Trends and Outcomes; 2016 Elections in Perspective; The State Agenda for 2017; Changes on the Hill: What it Means for States; and The U.S. Supreme Court: Outlook and Analysis. This event is being presented in cooperation with The Hill. When: November 14 1-5 p.m. Where: National Press Club, Washington, D.C. For more information and to register, click here.
2016 NCSL Capitol Forum — Find out what the outcome of the election will mean for the states at the NCSL Capitol Forum. Be a voice for the states on Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, learn the latest on pressing state-federal issues, and connect with legislative colleagues from around the country. When: December 6-9. Where: Washington, D.C. For more information and to register, click here.
IaoGO 2017 Mid-Winter Conference —join the International Association of Government Officials at their mid-winter conference with the theme of Success Through Education. A tentative agenda can be found here. When: January 8-11, 2017. Where: Tucson, Arizona. For more information and to register, click here.
NASS 2017 Winter Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 Winter Conference. When: February 15-18, 2017. Where: Washington, D.C.
NASED 2017 Winter Meeting — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of State Election Directors 2017 Winter Meeting. When: February 15-18, 2017. Where: Washington, D.C.
IaoGO 2017 Annual Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the International Association of Government Officials 2017 Annual Conference. When: July 6-13, 2017. Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
NASS 2017 Summer Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 Summer Conference. When: July 7-10, 2017. Where: Indianapolis, Indiana.
NASED 2017 Summer Meeting— Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of State Election Directors 2017 Summer Meeting. When: August 22-25, 2017. Where: Anaheim, California.
X. Job Postings This Week
Ballot Production Services Consultant, Hart InterCivic — BPS Consultants at Hart work with our customers to design ballots and to provide printed ballots and voting media for customers. This is a customer-service position, and applicants must have exceptional customer service skills. This is a part-time hourly positon with opportunities for overtime pay during peak periods. This is not a replacement position, but a net new position at Hart. This is an ideal position for someone who wants to work varying hours, depending on the calendar. Preference is for this position to be Austin-based, but that is open to negotiation. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, please click here.
Customer Relations Manager, Dominion Voting Systems, Chicago, Illinois— Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic, Customer Relations Manager, based in the Chicago, Illinois area! This position will be responsible for providing world-class customer service in order to achieve our core purpose of delivering solutions for the advancement of fair, accessible, and secure elections! You will problem solve, collaborate, create and improve processes, and make our customers successful in the execution of seemingly impossible tasks. Excitement lives here!. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply click here.
Director of Operations, West, Western United States — Dominion Voting Systems is looking for a talented and passionate Director of Operations, West to join our team! This position can be based in either Northern California or Nevada and will work remotely. This position will direct the day-to-day operations in the Western United States for Dominion Voting in order to meet and exceed business objectives for growth and profitability. This position will formulate and enact policies and strategies; work with leadership to set and achieve goals; forecast, set and manage budgets; hire, mentor and manage staff; and establish and maintain professional and positive business relationships with our customers. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Manufacturing Engineer III, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced and passionate, Manufacturing Engineer III, to join our team in downtown Toronto! This position will work with Contract Manufacturer's (CM's) Engineering Teams to develop, implement and maintain methods, operation sequence and processes for the manufacture of parts, components, sub-assemblies and final assemblies; Interface with design engineering, estimating, determining time standards and making recommendations on product lines; Provide technical support to CM's engineering teams; and Maintain records and reporting systems for coordination of manufacturing operations and accountable for on-site monitoring and audit of CM’s manufacturing processes to help identify and resolve issues causing defects and affecting product quality. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic — project managers at Hart InterCivic are highly motivated “self-starters” who are enthusiastic about providing exceptional customer service. Working with other members of the Professional Services and Operations teams, the project manager directs activity, solves problems and develops lasting and strong relationships with our customers. Hart InterCivic’s unique and industry known culture of innovation, transparency and customer-centric focus creates an environment where team members will continually grow and be challenged to develop their careers. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product Specialist, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy and passionate, Product Specialist, to be based in our downtown Toronto, Ontario office. This role is responsible for responsible for the installation, operation, repair, and maintenance of all Dominion Voting Systems elections products; providing elections support services and customer training; and interfacing directly with customers, co-workers and election officials. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Project Manager, Denver, Colorado — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced, well-organized and passionate Senior Project Manager to join our team in downtown Denver! This position will be responsible for overseeing the successful execution of assigned projects in the State of Colorado as well as managing a team of local and remote employees. This position is critical to the success of our customers throughout the State of Colorado. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior UI/UX Designer, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a talented and passionate, Senior UI/UX Designer, to join our team in downtown Toronto! This position will be tasked with creating an easy-to-use voting experience for voters and election workers. The ideal candidate should have an eye for clean and artful design, possess superior UI skills and be able to translate high-level requirements into intuitive and functional user interfaces. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Software Developer, Lead, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking highly technical and passionate, Senior Software Developer, Lead to join our team in downtown Toronto! This position will be responsible for providing high-level technical expertise to design development, coding, testing and debugging of new voting system software and/or significant enhancements to existing software for our customers. This position will Lead a team utilizing an Agile development environment. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Software Developer II, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a talented and passionate, Software Developer II, to join our team in downtown Toronto! This position will be responsible for providing high-level technical expertise to design development, coding, testing and debugging of new voting system software and/or significant enhancements to existing software for our customers. This position will work on a team utilizing an Agile development environment. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.