I. In Focus This Week
Voters vote on how to vote
2016 features numerous elections-related ballot initiatives
Natalie Adams has her several hundred page 2016 California Voter Guide on her bedside table and each night before bed she spends some time reviewing the 17 statewide ballot measures and two countywide measures before her.
“It is an overwhelmingly long list,” Adams said.
And California voters aren’t alone.
From guns to pot to sugar to the minimum wage to health care, when voters head to the polls on November 8 (or before if they are early voting), in addition to choosing a president and vice president as well as other federal, state and local representatives, in 35 states voters will be faced with 163 statewide ballot measures. There will also be a host of local initiatives as well.
In at least seven of those states, voters will choose what the future of their elections look like. Here is a brief overview of what voters will be considering.
Missouri residents will decide whether or not they want to show an ID when casting a ballot. Measure 6 would require voters to show some sort of government-issued ID. This is the second in a two-part process with the Legislature already approving how the law would be implemented — it was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon (D), but the Legislature was able to override that veto. Missouri’s secretary of state candidates have differing views on the Measure and major papers like the Kansas City Star have opposed the measure.
Ranked Choice Voting
Question Five in Maine will allow voters to decide whether they want to move to a system of ranked choice voting for federal and state elections. If approved, Maine would be the only state in the country to use ranked choice voting. The question has received support from a variety of places including several leading newspapers and the state GOP.
In Benton County, Oregon voters there will also be deciding whether or not they want to use a ranked choice voting system. The Benton County initiative for ranked choice was a citizen-led initiative. If approved, it would only apply to the election of county commissioners.
In an effort to save money, Colorado moved to presidential caucuses in 2004, but following a bumpy 2016 primary season where many voters questioned the system, voters will decide whether Proposition 107 that would establish presidential primaries in the state as well as allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in those primaries. If approved, it would begin in 2020.
Proposition 108 is a companion initiative and would open the states primaries allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections without having to declare an affiliation.
San Franciscans will vote on a charter amendment that if approved would extend voting rights to 16-and 17-year-olds in local and school board elections. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to put the measure on the ballot.
Knoxville residents will have a lot to mull over on their November ballot including whether or not to move the city’s primary election from the last Tuesday in September to the last Tuesday in August. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Amendment One would provide the Knox County Election Commission more time to prepare for the general election and time so send military and overseas ballots.
In these extremely partisan times, voters in South Dakota will decide whether or not they want to move to nonpartisan elections. Constitutional Amendment V was a citizen-lead initiative and would apply to federal, state and local races, but would not apply to presidential races. Secretary of State Chantel Krebs (R) has expressed concerns over the time line to implement the Amendment should it be approved.
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III. Election News This Week
This week, the North Carolina Board of Elections took what the News & Recorder labeled an “unprecedented move” and released a set of guidelines for how candidates, elections officials and voters should behave at the polls. “As the 2016 general election approaches, we encourage everyone to help us ensure that all North Carolinians are treated with courtesy and respect at the polls,” Kim Westbrook Stratch, the executive director of the State Board of Elections told the paper.
Officials in New Hampshire and Virginia both expressed concerns this week about the fact that laws in their states allow voters to carry handguns into polling places. Although Virginia law makes it a criminal offense to use a weapon to “intimidate, hinder or interfere” with a voter, local elections officials are concerned about possible Election Day violence. Prince William County even considered seeking a one-day ban on weapons at polling places on private property, but a state legislator told them they did not have that authority. New Hampshire’s Attorney General had to clarify that because the state is an open carry state, voters may in fact bring their properly permitted weapons with them to the polls. And for the first time ever, elections workers in Denver were trained how to deal with an active shooter situation.
The Norwalk, Connecticut registrar of voters had to contact local police after a verbal altercation in the registrar’s office turned to social media threats. When Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons refused to allow a mother to sign her daughter’s voter registration, the mother became disruptive and later threatened Lyons on Lyons’ Facebook page. At the urging of her family, Lyons contacted the police.
A Twitter user claimed to be a postal worker in Ohio and that he was ripping up absentee ballots marked for the Republican candidate. Needless to say some political blogs and the conspiracy theorists amongst us took this Tweet so much as its word that Secretary of State Jon Husted had respond. "When voters hear about someone cheating in the voting process, even if it turns out to be untrue, it undermines confidence in the system. We take allegations seriously because, when it turns out to be false, we can dispel the rumor. When it turns out to be true, we can hold people accountable," Ohio Secretary of State office spokesman Joshua Eck said.
This story should make any cold elections heart grow three sizes! When Medford, Massachusetts resident Kristin Cantu when to vote for the first time in Medford, she was dismayed to discover the town didn’t distribute “I Voted” stickers. So she did what any American would do. She started a GoFundMe fundraiser and raised $385—enough to buy 40,000 stickers for the town. “The stickers really resonated with me because I’ve always been one of those people who just really believes it’s important to vote,” she told Metro.US. “And stickers, for a lot of people, are a fun way to show civic pride, that I care about what’s going on in our community, whether locally or nationally, and I really believe wearing the stickers does help remind people to go out and vote if they haven’t already.” Thank you Kristin Cantu!
My great-grandmothers would be very proud. Members of the Mooresville, North Carolina Centerpiece Quilt Guild will include a historical display at their upcoming quilt show titled, “They Couldn’t Vote, They Got The Vote, You Should Vote.” Red, white and blue blocks named after famous women were made and added to the display along with pictures of great grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers who were affected by the right to vote.
Mike Richison, an artist and professor at New Jersey’s Monmouth University has created a drum machine out of the Votomatic voting machines — the same ones used in Florida in 2000. The Video Voto Matic has drum samples and snippets from politicians. Like the real Votomatic, the machine uses a stylus to punch holes through the voting card – but instead of the candidates’ names, the card is filled with drum samples
Personnel News: Rachel L. Converse has been named to the Assumption Parish, Louisiana Board of Election Supervisors. Wayne Harris has been appointed to the Grundy County, Tennessee election commission.
IV. Legislative Updates
New Hampshire: Rep. Wayne Burton wants to create a state law that would place restrictions on guns at school polling places.
V. Legal Updates
Florida: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ordered Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to allow a cure in the cases in which a voter’s signature on a mail-in ballot envelope does match the signature on file.
Georgia: A Chatham County judge ordered that the county extend its voter registration deadline until October 18 following the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew.
Also in Georgia, the ACLU has sued the state to reopen voter registration in Bryan, Camden, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties for six days claiming that disruptions from Hurricane Matthew prevented residents in those counties from meeting the deadline. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Moore denied the request.
Kansas: Secretary of State Kris Kobach has asked a federal court to set aside the default judgement against him for failing to file a timely response to a lawsuit. Kobach argued that he believed the court had suspended certain deadlines in the case.
Also in Kansas, on Wednesday the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal released an 85-page opinion from an earlier ruling that prohibited the state from asking for proof-of-citizenship when registering voters.
Maryland: U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to throw out Baltimore’s primary. Bredar said plaintiffs waited too long to file the suit. Plaintiffs had wanted to the primary redone because of alleged irregularities and a vote-buying scheme.
North Carolina: U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder denied a request to expand early in-person voting in five counties after some voters filed suit claiming that the counties’ early voting schedules did not comply with a summer court ruling. Schroeder agreed with state attorneys that changing early voting — it begins Oct. 20 — would create logistical difficulties. He also wrote he could find no evidence government officials violated his injunction blocking a 2013 state law that previously scaled back early voting. On Wednesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request.
Also in North Carolina, Wake Superior Court Judge Don Stephens extended voter registration in 36 counties affected by recent flooding from Hurricane Matthew to October 19.
Ohio: Judge George C. Smith of the U.S. District Court in Columbus restored the voting rights to several thousand Ohio voters who had been purged from the voter rolls. Smith ordered Husted’s office to add 15 percent more provisional ballots to each polling place, while noting that figure was not a projection of how many additional voters would show up Nov. 8. “There is no dispute that the remedy ordered by this court will not involve the reinstatement of all voters who have been removed from the voter registration rolls,” Smith wrote in a 22-page decision
Utah: U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish has denied a motion that would have required San Juan County to take additional steps to ensure that Navajo voters have equal access to polling sites. The Navajo Human Rights Commission had argued that the county’s move to vote-by-mail violated the Voting Rights Act because Navajo is a spoken language. Parrish acknowledged that “the Navajo people, as a whole, are subject to some of the most severe and debilitating impoverishment in the nation,” but that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate how vote-by-mail would have a greater impact on Navajo voters than white voters.
Virginia: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed suit against the state of Virginia seeking to have the voter registration deadline extended because the state’s online voter registration was slow and crashed on Monday, the deadline to register to vote. The group argues that the deadline should be extended because some may have not had the opportunity to register. And on Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), asked a federal judge to extend the registration. The hearing is set for late Thursday morning.
Wisconsin: U.S. Western District Judge James Peterson has ordered the state to make changes to and expand its public education efforts surrounding its voter ID law. "It's not really going to address all the problems we have implementing Wisconsin's voter ID law," Peterson said of his order. "What we're doing here is patching it up, getting us in good enough shape to get through the November election."
VI. Tech Thursday
National Tech: R/GA and the Ad Council have created a chat bot that interacts with users in real time on Facebook Messenger. GoVoteBot was designed to supply information to voters without partisanship. "Our desire is to get everyone in America out to vote," said Chloe Gottlieb, U.S. executive vice president and executive creative director of R/GA, in an email. "The voting experience is much too complex right now. As a design-focused agency, and since we work at the intersection of design, technology and storytelling, this was an obvious problem that we wanted to find a simpler solution for." R/GA and the Ad Council worked with US Vote Foundation and Google Civic to fill the bot with information.
National Tech: Late last week, Google unveiled another tool to help get out the vote for the upcoming November election. Users who search “who’s on my ballot,” and “where to vote” or similarly worded phrases will be prompted with information boxes breaking down candidate profiles. They will also see polling locations based on addresses they provide.
National Tech: Carpool2Vote is an app that allows users to sign up for a free “carpool” that provides a round-trip ride to their polling location on Election Day. “We really wanted to create an app that was 100% volunteer-based and free,” Thomas Cook, co-creator of the app told CBS Philly. The app, which works nationwide, links riders with nearby volunteer drivers and uses a bar-code authentication system for safety. Riders can take a photo of the drivers bar-code; the app matches the riders to the correct driver, and the carpool can commence.
Alabama: Twenty-five Alabama counties will test tablets for voter check-in during the upcoming November election. The program is being tested in counties were both the county commission and probate judge approved the usage. The tablets will be in a handful of polling places in each county.
Oregon: The secretary of state’s office and Douglas County are offering voters new technology to allow them to track the delivery and receipt of their ballot. BallotTrax allows voters to sign up for the service and receive alert messages via text, phone or email. Messages will be sent when ballots are mailed to the voter and when the return ballot is accepted for counting.
VII. Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voting process | Fair elections | Same day voter registration | Rigged election, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII | Voter ID | Paper ballots | Voter fraud, II | Hacked election | Secure elections | Election insecurity | Election observers | Election leaders | Make voting easy
Alaska: PFD voter registration
Arizona: Rigged election
California: Rigged election
Colorado: Rigged election
District of Columbia: Election fraud
Idaho: Ease in voting
Kansas: Kris Kobach
Kentucky: Ex-felon voting rights
Minnesota: Ranked choice voting
Mississippi: Disenfranchised voters
New Hampshire: Polling places
New Jersey: Election day registration
North Carolina: Voter registration deadline
Ohio: Poll workers
South Carolina: Absentee voting
Virginia: Voting system
VIII. 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.
IX. 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.