IV. Election News This Week
Although the U.S. Department of Justice will be sending out fewer elections observers this presidential election, that doesn’t mean they will be absent from the process and this week the Department detailed its plans for November 8. The civil rights division will have a toll-free number for people to report voting problems, as well as an email address and a link on the Department’s website. There will be some monitors at polling places and a group of attorneys will be at the read in the Department’s Washington headquarters. The department will also work with the FBI on election day to field complaints of voter fraud and 94 U.S. Attorney's Offices will be available to enforce election fraud laws.
A coalition of 17 groups in Iowa, including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and the ACLU announced a set of recommendations that would change state’s laws and the constitution to allow ex-felons to have their voting rights automatically restored upon completion of the terms of their sentence. “(The governor’s) interpretation is inconsistent with all sorts of legal precedent,” said Rita Bettis, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa. “It also, obviously, imposes what is in effect a poll tax. For most people who are coming out (of prison) with criminal convictions looking to rebuild their lives, their struggles are immense already in order to find jobs and housing and be able to participate as citizens in their community. We need to make that process easier, not harder.
Following last week’s court ruling requiring Nevada to provide early voting and Election Day polling locations on two rural reservations, nine more tribes have made similar requests to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the Reno Sparks Indian Colony in Washoe County, the Yerington Paiutes in Lyon County, three tribes in Elko County, one in Humboldt County, one in Churchill County, one in Nye County and one in Clark County sent a letter to Cegavske’s office through the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada. Citing logistical issues and proximity to Election Day, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office denied the request.
The Rockingham County, North Carolina Board of Elections and the county’s animal shelter are teaming up to turnout out the vote and encourage pet adoption. Anyone looking to adopt an animal from the shelter who shows their “I Voted” sticker will get $10 off adoption fees. "I was trying to think of an idea, a campaign that we could do to promote voting and to promote the adoption of rescue animals," said Tina Cardwell, elections director. “I Voted” stickers and pet adoption?! Electionline and Maisey the elections dog approve of this program!
Back in school, we could never properly fold our notes to pass in class so it’s probably a good thing that we aren’t a San Francisco voter. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco elections office has produced a video showing voters how to fold their vote-by-mail ballot in order to streamline the process once it arrives for counting. “The Department of Elections uses a mail sorter and a ballot opener to maximize efficiency of several ballot processing steps,” John Arntz, said in a statement. “If a voter folds all the ballot cards together before inserting them into the return envelope, the envelope becomes very thick and can jam the equipment, slowing the process.”
Let them cake! This story is a bit more political than we usually post, but it’s about CAKE. National Public Radio’s The Salt program has an interesting story about the history of election cake. Originally called Muster cake, election cake is a “dense, naturally leavened, boozy fruit and spice cake…” We think that’s a pretty good description of the 2016 election cycle in general.
Personnel News: Debbie Rauers of the Chatham County, Georgia Board of Elections has been censured by fellow members of the board for remarks she recently made about paying poll workers.