III. Election News This Week
With voter registration deadlines coming and going throughout the country, some states and counties are putting some pretty big, even record-breaking numbers. Elections offices were inundated with those seeking to register at the deadline and online systems were stretched to the limit. In Travis County, Texas 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters are now registered. In Washington, the state’s online voter registration broke a record on Sunday with more than 23,167 new voters and then the state broke that record again on Monday with more than 27,000 new voters. In Oregon, the state expects to top 2.5 million registered voters for the first time by October 18 deadline. In Pennsylvania, 74,000 people used the state’s online voter registration system on Monday—about 3,200 per hour and on the final day of registration, 87,000 people used the online system. A DMV office in Sandy Springs, Georgia had an up to 205-minute wait on Tuesday as people rushed to get registered and the proper ID to vote.
Davidson County, North Carolina Sheriff David Grice has denied a request from the county school system to place deputies at the five schools serving as polling places. According to the Wintson-Salem Journal, in a statement Grice says he denied the request, explaining that posting officers at polling places is inappropriate because it gives the impression that officers are there to discourage people from voting. He also said that two of the five schools have resource officers and deputies will be on call if any problems arise.
Early voting kicked off in Ohio this week and some voters were so excited to cast their ballot they actually camped out overnight outside of the early voting sites to be the first ones in when the sites opened.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has released a new Elections 101 curriculum to help high school students learn about the elections process. “Elections 101 provides a flexible and highly engaging look at the political process,” Jack Vanderflught, a government teacher at Dallas Center-Grimes High School and government liaison for the Iowa Council for the Social Studies said in a statement. “Teachers can use just one day, parts of a day, or use it as a complete curriculum for the study of elections.” Pate is also organizing a statewide Iowa Youth Straw Poll that will take place in schools across the state on November 1.
Sometimes you just can’t win for trying and that’s what happened in Sedgwick County, Kansas when the county election commission released two promotional videos attempting to recruit poll workers. In the videos it talks about how anyone — even a clown — can be a poll worker. Normally this doesn’t seem like it would be an issue, but America has a bit of a clown problem right now. “It’s just promotional videos we created long before there was anything going on in the news about clowns,” Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman told KSN.
Move over Schoolhouse Rock, there’s a new voter education group in town. The California Voter Foundation is turning to music to help voters in the Golden State understand the 17 measures on November 8 ballot. “The Proposition Song” written by CVF’s Kim Alexander is a catchy, education and light-hearted look at what voters will be facing in the voting booth. The “Proposition Song” reviews all 17 measures on California’s statewide ballot in less than five minutes, helping voters sort out the measures by topic. Each proposition is described in rhyme, and the lyrics are captioned in the video to encourage viewers to sing along. “This is a challenging election where voters are facing a long and complex ballot,” Alexander noted. “We hope that the song makes the process of getting ready to vote a little easier and more entertaining for California’s voters.” Thanks a lot CVF, this song is going to be stuck in our head all election season now.
In Memoriam: Rose Perica Mofford, Arizona’s first female secretary of state died on September 15. She was 94. Mofford was first appointed secretary of state in October 1977. Because she was appointed, when Gov. Wesley Bolin died in office, Mofford could not become governor because the Arizona constitution required her to be holding office by election. She then ran for secretary of state three times and ultimately served from 1977-1988. She served as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State in 1982 and 1983. Following the impeachment of Gov. Evan Mecham, Mofford became governor where she served for just under three years and chose not to seek election to a full four-year term.
"In all, her career in public service spanned more than a half-century. It’s a story of tireless service, steady leadership, and a trailblazing spirit that inspired not only a state where three more women would eventually follow her in office, but an entire country. Rose showed us all what to do when somebody says we’re not good enough because of who we are — don’t believe it,” President Barack Obama said in statement following Mofford’s passing.