I. In Focus This Week
Chicago solves a sticky situation
City will provide “I Voted” bracelets instead of stickers
Following a move to Chicago, Whitney May was excited to vote in her first election there. Having worked in elections in North Carolina and D.C., she was eager to see how the process in the Windy City worked.
Sadly, that excitement soon turned to disappointment when after casting her ballot, instead of receiving a much loved “I Voted” sticker she simply got a paper receipt confirming that she had cast her ballot.
“As a previous election administrator, I get why they made their decision,” May said. “But, if I’m being totally honest, I was a bit jealous in Chicago because people from suburban Cook County got great stickers and they were wearing them around the city and posting pics on social media. It was awkward.”
About a decade ago, Chicago stopped handing out “I Voted” stickers because it was the same story election after election in Chicago. People exercised their right to vote, eagerly accepted their “I Voted” stickers and then proceeded to stick those stickers on anything but their shirt or jacket.
They stuck stickers to water fountains, to windows, to doors, to door frames. Pretty much anywhere they could, they left their stickers.
Custodians at polling places spent hours after each election scraping off the stickers until finally they had had enough and so the city got rid of the much-loved civic sticker.
“It doesn't have to happen often to be a nuisance, and you have to resolve any concerns that might cause building owners to second-guess whether it's worth hosting a polling place,” said James P. Allen, communications director for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
But this year, just like the Chicago Cubs are bringing hope the residents to the Windy City, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners is returning joy to voters by providing not stickers, but “I Voted” wrist bands.
“[In] more recent elections, we began receiving scattered, but more frequent complaints from voters who wanted a sticker instead of the paper receipt we handed out,” Allen explained.
Allen said the city started exploring options and Tyvek wristbands with the words “I Voted! Did You?” seemed like the best compromise — and one that might be more likely to be in selfies that go viral.
If you’ve been to any sort of large-scale event lately where there is a mix of people under and over 21, you’re probably familiar with the Tyvek wristband. Even some hospitals have switched to these type of bands for patients.
In addition to “I Voted! Did you?”, the wrist bands also feature the Board’s logo. The slogan is also printed—in smaller point size—in Spanish, Chinese and Hindi, the three languages required in Chicago by Section. 203 of the Voting Rights Act.
The bands cost the city about $19,000 or 1.9 cents each for the million they ordered.
A very unscientific poll of elections officials finds that Chicago’s sticky situation seemed to be a uniquely Chicago problem.
“We have not had any significant or widespread issues with "I Voted!" stickers being viewed as a nuisance,” said Dean Logan, registrar-recorder/county clerk for Los Angeles. “They are very popular and heavily desired by our voters.”
While appreciative of Chicago’s resourcefulness, none of the other elections officials we spoke with anticipate making a move from stickers to wrist bands.
“We have not considered alternates to the stickers such as wrist bands; although we are planning to offer an election day Snapchat filter and virtual sticker for social media posts,” Logan said. “I admire the effort to identify additional ways to demonstrate pride in voting and encourage others to participate.”
Poll workers will hand out the wrist bands to voters during early voting and on Election Day and then voters can stick them wherever they want…just hopefully not anywhere that the janitors have to deal with them.
“We hand the wrist bands to the voters, and they're free to put them on their wrists, work bags, purses, belt loop, whatever they want,” Allen said.
Allen said so far the feedback has been positive and even President Barack Obama rocked one after early voting last week.
May, who also serves as a poll worker in Chicago is excited about the new way to show her civic pride.
“I can’t wait to get my “I voted” bracelet! I think we see the popularity of “I voted” stickers across the country, even for mail voters, because we’re proud of voting and we want to encourage others to join us,” May said. “The “I voted” bracelets are just another example of election officials delighting their community and helping to get out the vote. Let’s hope the bracelets get to stick around!”
Louisiana is sticking with I Voted stickers
Louisiana is sticking with “I Voted” stickers this election season, but are a bit blue about it. Not because they are sad, but because the new stickers will feature George Rodrigue’s iconic Blue Dog.
"We were looking for a way to make this Presidential Election unique and exciting for Louisiana voters," Secretary of State Tom Schedler told KATC. "We traditionally have robust turnout when we elect the President, but I'm hoping this sticker will put us over the top in terms of turnout. I have a feeling everyone is going to want to show their patriotism and pride by proudly wearing this nationally-famous Louisiana artist's 'I VOTED' sticker."
The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) granted the state permission to use the painting entitled Standing Up Straight and Tall (2001) for the sticker artwork. The original artwork is part of the permanent collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art.
“Participating in the election process and electing good government representation is one of our most important civic duties. Partnering with Secretary Schedler to inspire citizens to take part in this election cycle is something that spoke to me and I think my dad would have loved," said Jacques Rodrigue, George Rodrigue’s son and executive director of GRFA.
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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.
IV. Research and Report Summaries
6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Disenfranchisement, 2016, October 6, 2016, Christopher Uggen, Ryan Larson, and Sarah Shannon, The Sentencing Project: This update of previous research on those who are prohibited from voting due to a current or previous felony conviction finds:
- As of 2016, an estimated 6.1 million people are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. In 1976 there were an estimated 1.17 million people disenfranchised, 3.34 million in 1996, and 5.85 million in 2010. In 2016 this means1 of every 40 adults is disenfranchised due to a current or previous felony conviction.
- More than half of those who are prohibited from voting are from twelve states where people are barred from voting after having completed their sentences.
- In six states – Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia – more than 7 percent of the adult population is disenfranchised.
V. Legislative Updates
Kentucky: Cheers! This week, the McCracken County Fiscal Court unanimously approved an ordinance to allow alcohol sales on Election Day. Although the state had previously lifted a ban on alcohol sales, McCracken County’s Fiscal Court left the ban in place. Alcohol will now be available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during all elections.
Maryland: The Aberdeen City Council has introduced a charter amendment that would allow the city to conduct runoff elections in future elections if two or more candidates finish with the same number of votes.
Utah: Rep. Becky Edwards (R-North Salt Lake) is planning to introduce a bill that would let voters decide if their voter information is sold. Under the bill, voters would be able to choose if their name, address, age, phone number and party affiliation may be sold.
VI. Legal Updates
Alaska: Judge Andrew Guidi has ruled that some North Slope votes were illegally cast in the August primary. Throwing out the votes altered the outcome of the election and Rep. Benjamin Nageack of Barrow was re-elected. Then on Wednesday, the Alaska Supreme Court upheld the results of the August primary, issuing their ruling just four hours after hearing oral arguments. The decision means challenger Dean Westlake will be the new state representative.
Arizona: Judge Douglas Rayes has rejected an attempt by Democrats to require counties to count the votes of people who show up at the wrong polling place. Rayes says the plaintiffs failed to show that the current restrictions affect minorities any more than the population as a whole.
Florida: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker approved a six-day extension to the state’s voter registration deadline following Hurricane Matthew. "No right is more precious than having a voice in our democracy," Walker wrote in his three-page order. "Hopefully it is not lost on anyone that the right to have a voice is why this great country exists in the first place."
Georgia: Late Wednesday night, voter advocates filed suit in federal court to extend Georgia’s voter registration for residents in Chatham County through October 18 following the devastation brought by Hurricane Matthew.
Illinois: Late last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an attempt to expedite a case challenging the state’s same-day voter registration law paving the way for it to remain in place for the November 8 election.
Kansas: The Kansas requirement that voters provide proof of citizenship could be struck down by a federal court because Secretary of State Kris Kobach failed to file a response earlier this year. A federal judge did not grant Kobach’s motion to dismiss the case in July, and now the proof-of-citizenship requirement could be struck down because Kobach’s office failed to file an answer to the plaintiffs’ complaint. A federal district court clerk has found the state in default status after plaintiffs’ attorneys made a motion this week. Late Tuesday, an attorney for Kobach filed a formal answer, but it's not clear whether U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson will accept Kobach's filing.
Minnesota: Kirk Stensrud, a one-term Republican member of the statehouse from 2011 to 2013, and the Minnesota Voters Alliance brought a 113-page petition in Ramsey County District Court on Oct. 4 claiming that voting officials are notified of the ineligibility of every felon and noncitizen in the state, but routinely disregard the court-ordered restrictions and let them vote anyway.
Missouri: Missouri Circuit Court Judge Julian Bush has ordered a do-over election in a St. Louis committeeman election after questions were raised about absentee ballots in the August 2 election. The election will be held on November 8.
Nevada: U.S. District Judge Miranda Du has issued a temporary injunction requiring that satellite polling places be located on two northern Nevada Indian reservations in Washoe and Reno counties. The Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute tribes had argued that long drives to polling places violated their voting rights.
South Carolina: Judge Robin Stillwell has granted a temporary injunction allowing Furman students to register to vote at their campus address instead of their home address. Stillwell said not issuing the students relief from the county’s policy would cause irreparable harm to the students by denying them their right to vote.
Texas: The Texas Attorney General’s office has seized the ballots from Hill County’s March primary. The results of the election have been under review after a watchdog group claimed that more people voted than actually life in Hill Co.
Also in Texas, a federal judge has ruled that the state is violating the federal Voting Rights Act by requiring that ballot interpreters be registered to vote in the county where they are helping someone cast a ballot. Although the state is appealing the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the provision will not be in effect on November 8.
Wisconsin: Two of the Democratic members of the state’s Elections Commission are seeking a new attorney to represent them because they say the state’s Attorney General would not file a report with the court on their behalf.
VII. Tech Thursday
National Tech: Democracy Live has launched LiveBallot, an app and website that will provide voters with an online version of their ballot ahead of Election Day. The LiveBallot social-balloting technology can offer every registered U.S. voter a digital replica of the ballot they'll see at the polls, plus candidate bios, contact information and links to recent news articles about them.
VIII. Opinions This Week
Alaska: Contested election
District of Columbia: Automatic voter registration
Florida: Early voting
Illinois: Same day registration
Indiana: Voter fraud
Iowa: Voter ID
Maine: Ranked choice voting
Maryland: Absentee ballots
Minnesota: Ranked choice voting
Mississippi: Felon voting rights
Montana: Secretary of state
New Jersey: Voter ID
Ohio: Poll workers
Pennsylvania: Voting rights
Texas: Voting Rights Act
West Virginia: Secretary of state
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.
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.
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.